When people think of a trip to Miami, they usually envision rows of Porches parked outside of clubs overflowing with girls straight out of a boy band music video. But that’s just one side of Miami, as I discovered on a recent visit. The other side of Miami — the side I ventured to the city to explore — is one that doesn’t have a 4-inch platform heel dress code.

For travellers after a unique city experience, start by booking a stay at the city’s most stylishly eclectic boutique hotel, The Pelican Hotel & Cafe in Miami beach.

Situated amongst a cluster of hotels along Ocean Dr., The Pelican like its neighbours is characterized by sleek decor, gorgeous seaside views and easy access to the boutiques on 8th Street and Collins Ave. Even still, amongst the luxury strip’s grandiose, The Pelican Hotel’s Art Deco facade, dressed up with Vegas-style neon lights, appears as a singular beacon of fashion.

It’s no wonder with the likes of Italian mega style influencer Renzo Rosso’s Diesel label behind the hotel venture.

Embracing the Diesel branding strategy, the property’s 25 rooms — each one unique in decor theme — seek to bring a healthy portion of humour through quirky decor inspired by a sharp-witted look at time in its ultimate spectrum — time travel has never been so luxurious. One need see only the hotel’s “Up, Up in the Sky” room to be convinced of this fact. This futuristic room channels the ironic retro appeal of our favourite family from the future, The Jetsons, with its motif of chrome shapes and seafoam furnishings.

Another favourite of ours if you can reserve it (it’s the hotel’s most popular accommodation) is the aptly named “Best Whorehouse,” and by “aptly” we mean the design doesn’t shy away from any salacious associated meanings. Done up with decadent details that ooze luxury, the hooker red and metallic accents do the room’s name justice in good taste.

Aside from these two stand outs, should you be a prince or a celebrity (or one of equal means), the penthouse suite temps with a private rooftop deck and modern opulence found in the room’s hand-selected décor pieces and furnishings.

Despite the differences in theme from room to room, accommodations at The Pelican do feature standardized items that remind guests they are still in a hotel, but even these are far from average, like the organic mattresses made form wool, coconut, bamboo and cotton or plasma TVs programmed with a playlist themed to the room’s decor.

While there was hardly reason to leave the comforts of my temporary home away from home, I was in Miami for a reason. For me, it wasn’t the beach or the nightlife that inspired my trip to the costal city, I had one motive to visit Miami: to get my pig on. Admittedly, The Pelican’s in-house restaurant’s guest-only happy hour and appetizers feature was beyond tempting. I mean, who doesn’t want to hangout on an outdoor patio sipping drinks across from the scene at Lummus Park Beach? But my taste for pork prevailed.

Though perhaps the enemy to that string bikini you worked so hard to look good in for the sun seekers of South Beach, a restaurant serving exclusively dishes centred around bacon is worth an extra trip to the gym to indulge in.

Created by Andreas Schreiner, Jose Mendin and Sergio Navarro, the trio designed Pubbelly Gastro Pub as the answer to Miami’s neighbourhood taverns with chef-driven food, often seen in cities like New York and Chicago. Partnering with former Scarpetta Chef Michael Priolo, the cuisine served is carefully curated, and sees delicious pairings with an ingredient that on its own is already an all-time crowd pleaser. To get to this bacon-haven, you’ll need to head off the beaten path, to the neighbourhood of Nautilus, a quieter zone of the city frequented by locals…and trust me, you’ll want to make the trek.

The tawny ambiance of the quiet street is accentuated by the presences of the yacht club cornering the block that is home to Pubbelly, as well as the more recently opened Pubbelly Sushi.

When entering the casual atmosphere of the gastro pub, you are instantly greeted by the familiar scent of a salty richness that sends your taste buds into a whirlwind of anticipation.

As mentioned, pork is the name of the game at Pubbelly, and as promised I discover it in a plethora of varied forms on the menu here. The most interesting concoction to catch my attention is a dish of squid and bacon wrapped dates. Another diner favourite off Pubbelly’s snack style menu is brussels sprouts with bacon, sweet miso and sea salt. It’s savouriness is so those memories of pushing vegetables around your plate as a child (hoping they would fall off into oblivion) vanish away. Nothing like those mushy green globes your mom use to serve, this dish has crunch and a salty finale that will have you contemplating another order the minute your plate is clean.

Dessert here too serves up bacon goodness. For me, it’s all about the ice cream with bacon dressing on the menu, which despite how that idea sounds in mere theory, is a surprisingly sophisticated delight to end off your Pubbelly pork feast .

While definitely a local hangout, word is getting out and Pubbelly is drawing tourists away from the neon lit South Beach. Get yourself to Miami and make the pilgrimage…just maybe pack a one piece bathing suit instead of just a bikini for the day after your pig out.

Published March 29, 2013