NEW YORK (Reuters) - Born to a Cuban mother, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson spent summers in Miami, Florida, while growing up, speaking fluent Spanish and returning often as an adult.
Today, Wilson, who is the co-founder of online luxury e-tailer Gilt.com, visits Miami multiple times each quarter for her latest startup, Glamsquad.com. This on-demand hair and makeup service also has operations in New York, where Wilson lives, and Los Angeles, but Miami is special because it feels like her second home.
Here are her tips on getting the most of work and fun in South Beach:
Home base: Soho Beach House (4385 Collins Ave.) "It's really easy to have business meetings there - they still have that casual Miami vibe but you can actually get a lot done."
Cuban coffee, or three: "There's no way I can go to Miami without my Cuban coffee - 'cortadito.' That's not negotiable."
Power lunch: Michael's Genuine Food, on 130 Northeast 40th St. in the Design District.
Leave room for dinner: Versailles on 3555 SW 8th St. "You'll see all kinds of people from all socio-economic levels pretty much stuffing their faces with delicious Cuban food at all hours of the day. The fashion community is maybe not the most fun to take there because the portions are huge."
Get a cortadito and "vaca frita" - literally "fried cow."
Eat: For Japanese, try Zuma on 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way at the Epic Hotel. "I like the restaurant at the Edition - which is new, called Matador, on 2901 Collins Ave. I recently went for dinner at Milos on 730 1st St., which was pretty delicious and over the top - they have one in New York as well."
Don't miss: My Ceviche, which has various locations. A delicious food chain startup that should be destined for other cities.
Stop to shop? Wilson is a fan of a store called The Webster, on 1300 Collins Ave. in South Beach.
"They're unique and they have a great eye, so I try to stop in there to see what brands they're carrying - it's different. It's cool. You don't see that kind of store all the time."
To-do list: Lots of coffee meetings throughout the day at Soho Beach house, working on different types of partnerships with prospective Miami based partners.
"If I'm there for Glamsquad, we would probably host an event - we just did one a couple weeks ago at the Mondrian Hotel (1100 West Ave.)
Spare time: Key Biscayne. "It's a totally different version of Miami. For me, when I go over the Rickenbacker Causeway, I can really unwind and de-stress in a way that really doesn't happen for me anywhere else in the world. Most people speak Spanish there. It's almost like when you're going to Key Biscayne, you're going to another country, which I love."
Editing by Lauren Young and Bernadette Baum