When I was younger, I wanted to go on vacations to places that were historically, culturally, or naturally interesting — you know, places like Paris, Berlin, Yellowstone, etc. Now that I’m over forty and have a family, though, I just want to relax. And especially now that I live in New England, in the winter I just want to go someplace warm.
To that end, we just spend an idyllic week in Miami Beach at the Loews Hotel. I was last at the Loews in September 2000 for one of Ariba’s major user conferences, when we were still the hottest thing on the Internet. I think we had something like 3,500 people at that conference (not all in the Loews, of course). I don’t recall anything about South Beach from that trip, and I suspect I spent all of my time inside or walking to and from the convention center.
This time, though, we sat by the pool in the sun, or lay on the beach in the sun, and ordered overpriced but passable hotel food from the roving waiters. My daughter floated in the pool, or looked for shells, or built sand castles, or pretended to be a mouse in the back of the cabana, or listened to us reading Magic Tree House and Bean and Ivy stories, or did all the other things four-year-old girls do. I had a caipirinha on the beach, like I did in Rio de Janeiro on the last day of a business trip three years ago. I went the whole week without caffeine and four days without email. (I needed email to reschedule an exam when my flight back was canceled due to a huge snowstorm in Connecticut.) I give it three stars.