Free Vacation


There’s nothing like a free vacation! That was my motto for the month leading up to x-mas break.  I had four reward point plane tickets and a few nights at the ever-so-posh Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami.  I felt like I had won the lottery. During Thanksgiving, the Fontainebleau offered cyber Monday deals.  Half price rooms during December and “much to my wondering eyes did appear” that applied to the nights of my stay.

The hotel was like walking into Paradise, from the room upgrade by the friendly check-in clerk to my kids walking past Miley Cyrus’s family in the lobby! Oh yeah, can’t forget the whole Louisville basketball team at the surrounding tables during lunch at the poolside restaurant.

The weather happened to have been perfect and I think most of my Florida friends were happy to hang, chat, lay on the beach and have their kids play in the bathtub temperature pool, all the while looking at us wondering why we were heading off to the not-as-happenin’ and conservative, Ft. Lauderdale.  Did we need our heads examined they wondered?  Possibly! But, this was called a “FREE” vacation and I had to move forward and stay on the “free” track.


Our next destination was the Ft. Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott. Five free nights thanks to Marriott points! Not as posh, but the comp’d oversized cabana, equipped with TV, from my most favorite Marriott employee, Davidson, was not too shabby. The beach there is also stunning.  We had Christmas Eve dinner at Anthony’s Runway 84, which was packed with people who know where to find excellent, authentic southern Italian food in South Florida. I thought I was in the movie, “The Godfather,” at any moment Al Pacino could have walked through the door.  I was interested to learn they also own Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.  A few other places we hit that are worth mentioning, Steak 954 in the W and Rocco’s Tacos on Las Olas.

I knew South Beach was great, but the rest of South Florida is just as good! I have to admit, by the end of the trip, I was questioning the “FREE” part of this vacation.  The money I had spent on tips, drinks, dining and hangin’ at Liv (okay, so I never made it in) made this just as expensive a trip as any.  I guess there really isn’t anything called a ‘FREE” vacation after all.

Happy travels and Happy New Year!

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