Story by Rod Charles, Vacay.ca editor
MIAMI, FLORIDA— We arrive at trendy Cadet Hotel after a four-hour drive from Orlando and check into the Clark Gable Suite, named after the Gone With The Wind leading actor who made famous the line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Word is that Gable spent time in this very room (No. 224) during his years as a West Point cadet.
Located in the famous Art Deco District, the hotel’s location makes it a great starting point to explore the community. South Beach is just a quick six-minute walk east past bustling Collins Avenue. The beach is a magnet for Canadian tourists and it’s not hard to see why — the water is warm, with white sand to the north and south as far as the eye can see. Looking west behind the beach is the city itself, stunning in the sunlight. Another option that is only a short walk from the hotel is west along the Lincoln Road Mall, a street with a party atmosphere that is lined with restaurants, patios and stores.
The hotel features 31 rooms, two junior suites, one master suite and a lobby bar. The property has a spa that offers a variety of treatments (including hot stone, bamboo, Swedish or deep-tissue massage). You will love the pool, simply stunning at night, a wonderful spot to chill after dinner with a glass of wine — or during dinner via Pied à Terre Restaurant.
The Clark Gable Suite features a nice seating and work area with antique prints, custom-made furniture and a beautiful bathroom — the lovely four-claw bathtub steals the show in this room.
After a couple hours on the beach, head back to the hotel for dinner at Pied à Terre Restaurant, which has a reputation for creating excellent dishes. This isn’t a large restaurant and that’s just fine — with just 36 seats inside and seating for 25 in the garden, it’s very cozy. The restaurant also has an outside terrace, garden dining and a relaxing ambiance.
Menu prices range from $36-$49 for main plates. The Fresh Wild Mushroom Risotto with seasonal wild mushrooms ($17) was very good. Some delicious suggestions for your main course are the Seabass Peruvian Flavors, with baby vegetables, saffron and mussels ($39) or the Beef Filet “Ambassador of the World” ($40). If you love chocolate, try the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant ($12). Keep in mind these dishes will probably be different when you arrive.
One of the things that makes Pied à Terre a truly unique experience is its concept of not having a full-time chef. Three or four times a year the restaurant invites into its kitchen seasonal visiting chefs who work at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and the best restaurants in Miami. These chefs share the latest trends of French contemporary cuisine and food preparation philosophies, train their kitchen staff, and create recipes specifically for the restaurant. The restaurant doesn’t incorporate cream, uses minimal butter, and includes spices and fresh products from all over the world.
The restaurant’s collection of 241 wines from small private wineries won the 2013 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.