MIAMI’s Hidden Gem – Coconut Grove

Main Highway | Coconut Grove / Miami

We interviewed Natalia Grozina from Coconut Grove Business Improvement District (BID) office to tell us more about Miami’s original city, Coconut Grove. Miami is one of the fastest growing big cities in the world and it is constantly expanding socially, culturally and economically. We intend to find out more about Coconut Grove, this beautiful authentic district where the fancy cosmopolitan cultural and financial center we know as Miami was borne.

Aerial Shot | Coconut Grove - MIAMI

We asked Natalia to tell us in what capacity is she involved with Coconut Grove.

“I am the Marketing & Public Relations Manager for the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District. I provide strategic leadership and manage the creative development and production of various marketing initiatives, sponsorships of special events and community engagement to optimize Coconut Grove’s marketability in the South Florida region. Additionally, I manage all print and digital collateral for promotions and advertisements and execute Coconut Grove’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony and the monthly Fashion + Art + Music night events.”

She turns out to be the key operator of the beating heart of Coconut Grove.

Sundown| Coconut Grove - MIAMI

Natalia, could you introduce Coconut Grove with a little historic background and mostly what kind of place is it socially, culturally and economically?

“Before there was Miami, there was Coconut Grove – Miami’s original city. Coconut Grove is South Florida’s most attractive, dynamic and independently-minded community founded in 1873 by an eclectic mix of pioneers, artists, intellectuals and adventurers. The tropical oasis of Coconut Grove thrives to this day as Miami’s escape from the stress of city life. It offers a warm, laid-back atmosphere and flourishes as the centre of Bohemian life with charming boutiques, sidewalk cafes and sailboats anchored at the bay. The neighbourhood’s distinct bohemian flair allows one to unwind and relax every day of the week and any time of the year. With world-class attractions, including famous landmarks and destinations such as the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and various sailing regattas along Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove encompasses everything that makes it a global destination: great architecture, culture and history, with a strong commercial heart.”

Have you started to fall in love with the Grove yet? Then, you will really appreciate the following.

Restaurants | Coconut Grove - MIAMI

Natalia, why would you recommend Coconut Grove to visit and stay?

“The neighbourhood likes to keep the authentic and unique brand with its charming boutiques. There are high-end restaurants and some luxury boutique hotels like The Mayfair Hotel & Spa, The Mutiny, Sonesta and The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove.”

“There is a great food-scene in Coconut Grove and many restaurants have recently opened or will be soon including: Harry’s Pizzeria, Farinelli 1937, Glasshouse, The Spillover and 33, to name a few. There are also a number of real estate developments underway, including the construction of Park Grove and Grove at Grand Bay.”

“Coconut Grove is a unique tropical oasis in the middle of Miami – but nothing like Miami at the same time. It is a boutique, walkable village with all the charms and authenticity of a small bohemian village in the middle of the city. “

Beach | Coconut Grove - MIAMI

And if you are still not convinced that Coconut Grove is probably the best place to visit, stay and live in, this might just change your mind.

“Coconut Grove has a very European feel and architecture to it, with a substantially large French community. There is a growing number of Europeans who are choosing to live in Coconut Grove both for the lifestyle, as well as the schools that are in the district. Coconut Grove ranks at the top, as the schools in the district are some of the top schools in the nation. Our zip code – 33133 – is one of the nation’s leading zip codes with some of the most expensive real estate listings in the country.”

We know, when something sound to good to be true it isn’t, except Coconut Grove. Experience it for yourself, book a  flight to Miami and discover Coconut Grove.

P.S: Please let us know if we were wrong.

Most Sincerely,

SourceCulture

Shops | Coconut Grove - MIAMI

Exhilarating, Exquisite, Exclusively Africa

OO-Cape Town

There are many ways to get to Africa, many paths to be explored and many enchanting places to stay, but the only way to experience true indulgence whilst on the brink of adventure – to feel the rumble of the stampeding wildebeest in a 5* lodge luxury – is with Exclusively Africa.

 

Headed by Nicki Wingate, who has more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry, Exclusively Africa specialise in entirely bespoke luxury travel itineraries throughout South and East Africa. Nicki moved to Johannesburg from Miami in 1997 with her husband, Jay; only a year after Exclusively Africa was first established.

“Living in Johannesburg affords me the personal knowledge that other travel companies don’t have”, says Nicki. “We spend a long weekend every month in the bush and we visit every safari lodge ourselves before making a recommendation. We always try to see new places, or if somewhere has been renovated or has new management we will make a point of visiting”.

Nicki loves living in Johannesburg, and the city is fast becoming a desirable destination for travellers too. The vibrant metropolis houses world heritage site, the Cradle of Humankind, as well as a range of cultural and historical museums, art galleries and craft markets. As the largest and wealthiest province in South Africa Johannesburg is rapidly becoming a more popular place to visit, though if your initial thoughts of an African adventure conjure imagesmore akin to that of nature reserves and safaris, Exclusively Africa offers all of these and more.

 

Whether your bucket list includes seeing the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, taking a hot air balloon ride in Namibia or shark diving off the coast, Exclusively Africa can create an itinerary for everyone. Taking into account the style of holiday, length of visit, choice of interests and price range, no package is ever the same. Exclusively Africa arranges your entire schedule whilst you’re in the continent, including airport meet and greets, transfers, charter flights, internal flights, accommodation, safaris, day trips and meals.

“I just need to know the needs and desires; then within 24 hours I can find out if there’s availability or not”, says Nicki. “I will start recommending things and give my clients the core itinerary for accommodation with prices, and then once the lodges and hotels are confirmed we fit in the transfers and trips”.

Nicki is keen to note that every itinerary has many alterations along the way, but the central part of each booking is to ensure that the accommodation is impeccable for that particular guest. Many of the lodges Exclusively Africa work with offer seasonal rates or discounts, and Nicki tries to ensure that each customer can pick up on at least one discount along the way.

“A group of properties may offer packages where you stay 3 nights and get a few nights free somewhere else, or others offer activities with a long stay, such as a trip on the luxurious Blue Train (which connects Johannesburg to Cape Town). The itineraries are tailor made, but our aim is to give our clients the best experience for the best rate”.

In Nicki’s own words, the ‘tailor made’ aspect of Exclusively Africa means that each trip is peppered with individual, unique touches. A visitor may have done their own research and have an idea of what they want to see, but it’s Exclusively Africa’s personal touches that really make the holiday into a luxury excursion.

“A first-time visitor will tell me where they want to go, and I will be honest and tell them if there are better options out there for them. If people are open to my recommendations then they can give me an outline and I will give them the cost per person per night, the reasons why I have chosen each safari lodge specifically for their needs, and some suggested trips. Most commonly, a two-week trip will include two safari destinations – about 4 nights each – and then a few days in Cape Town. That gives first-timers a nice overview of South Africa”.

 

Exclusively Africa receives the majority of their business through word-of-mouth from overwhelmingly satisfied clients, but they also get a lot of repeat visitors coming back time after time.

“When people come back for a second time they are more adventurous. They want to do Victoria Falls or see the red sand dunes, travel Namibia’s Skeleton Coast or go to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. If they have three weeks then we recommend a destination in East Africa, such as Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar or Mozambique”.

It’s important to note that, as exciting as South Africa is, there are areas that tourists perhaps do not feel safe travelling to. Due to the current conflict in Nairobi, Exclusively Africa avoids flying through Nairobi airport and finds alternative routes. This associated stigma is sure to pass as the years progress, though for the ease of travel and peace of mind this is a precaution that is actively taken.

This year marks Exclusively Africa’s 20th birthday – a labour of love, passion and hard work for Nicki and Jay. Each year they create a wildlife calendar to send out to their clients filled with Jay’s spectacular photography. For the anniversary, the Wingates have also create a wildlife photography book, which will feature the best of their 20 years in the bush.

            “Every day in the bush is a different experience”, says Nicki. “You get to see the wildlife on a safari drive, or if people want to book a walking safari then they can do that instead. We can do gorilla trekking in Rwanda or you can go up to Tanzania, go to the Serengeti National Park, climb Kilimanjaro, go whale watching or simply take the time to relax and enjoy the beautiful lodges”.

Exclusively Africa always have their clients needs at the forefront of everything that they do. Whether it is a romantic trip for two, a family vacation or a group of friends looking for an adventure, there’s an itinerary waiting to be created.

“If there is a small group travelling together, or three or four couples, I will find a lodge that only has three or four chalets so that they have the place for their exclusive use. They can do things to their own schedule, it’s more private”.

For honeymooners or romantics at heart, many lodges offer a ‘tree house experience’, where guests can sleep beneath the stars and enjoy the wonders of nature from a luxury grotto within the foliage.

Within each set of lodges, all food and beverages (excluding fine cognacs, French champagne, and the likes) is included in the price, though tree house sleep-out decks, hot air balloon rides, elephant trekking or other additional activities would incur a surcharge.

Indulge your adventurous side whilst winding back in the luxury of a bespoke holiday with Exclusively Africa. Contact us for a trip quote today and have your once-in-a-lifetime trip planned to your specifications. Exhilarating, exquisite and exciting… ensure your trip is Exclusively Africa.

Let us plan your next bespoke African luxury retreat. Contact us at info@sourceculture.co.uk.