Hotel Place St. Michel, Coral Gables

By: Steve Winston

ADD TO FAVORITES

Chocolates on the pillow ... a bottle of champagne for sharing ... a window seat to watch the world go by together.

As I've discovered, good things do come in small packages, at least where romantic retreats are concerned. From Pensacola to Key West, romance is in the air at Florida's lovely bed and breakfast inns, where welcoming hosts will do everything they can to help you create a memorable weekend away.

The smart bistros and boutiques we saw all over Coral Gables seemed a glowing testament to the new Miami. But, as we passed under the blue, ivy-covered awnings and then through the mahogany-and-etched-glass door of the Hotel Place St. Michel, it was the Old World that surrounded us.

Ornate, carved ceilings. Hand-woven rugs from Belgium. Gilded mirrors. Brass railings. And there was polished cherrywood and mahogany everywhere.

We were escorted to our room through hallways with marble tables and French and Italian paintings with street scenes that don't exist anymore.

Each room at the Hotel Place St. Michel is different. Ours had an antique armoire from France, Victorian lamps and polished wood floors. The room's wooden windows opened to the street, and a nice breeze freshened the room.

Miami Interlude

Stroll the streets of Coconut Grove, a cosmopolitan village packed with colorful sidewalk bistros and unusual shops selling everything from antique manuscripts to gourmet ice cream. You can take a breezy walk, or get a massage from a licensed massage therapist. The people-watching is legendary.

The next day, spend some time at Bayside Marketplace, a shopping and dining mecca in Miami's inner harbor. There's an eclectic mix of the elegant and the funky, complete with pushcart vendors, musicians, and mimes. And there are waterfront-dining options ranging from a Hard Rock Café to Cuban to seafood.

Don't leave Bayside without taking a harbor cruise on one of the Island Queen boats. You'll pass exclusive islands with the homes people such as Gloria Estefan.

Then spend the evening in South Beach, where the rhythms don't stop until it's morning.

If you go: Hotel Place St. Michel, 305-444-1666305-444-1666, www.hotelstmichel.com; Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-933-8448800-933-8448, www.miamiandbeaches.com.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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