An increase in COVID-19 cases and mounting concerns about the Delta—and now Lamda—variant of the virus are cause for more hypervigilance than many of us were hoping for when it came to making travel plans this summer. But if you’re adamant about soaking up some sun and sitting poolside, choosing your location wisely is a key aspect of staying safe. That’s why if you’re headed to Miami—as many travelers have been since Memorial Day—we say ditch the crowds (and expense) of South Beach and set your sites on a stay at Novotel in downtown Miami.

Situated in the Brickell area of the city, Novotel is the perfect spot for a leisurely weekend with the girls or a baecation with your boo. The monochromatic pink color palette throughout the property automatically puts your mind at ease while the modern decor, palm tree planters and bamboo lanterns are just enough of a reminder that you’ve finally managed to get away from home.

If you can’t decide whether you should grab a cocktail first or lay out, do both at the rooftop bar and pool. With couches, wicker seats and lounge chairs galore, you can opt to stretch out poolside in between swims, take in the skyline and dance music coming from the DJ booth or chat up the bartender while you wait for your next drink.

Oh, and for the record, the rooftop views gets even better once the sun goes down and the city lights dance off the water and the skyscrapers in the area.

If you’re the responsible type and want to stay on top of your fitness routine while away, you’ll be quite pleased with Novotel’s gym which is enclosed at the top of the property, opposite of the pool area. The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows are a welcome distraction while you’re burning calories on the treadmill and elliptical. With hand weights, medicine balls, and a few weight machines, there’s more than enough equipment to get in a respectable workout before racking up a few calories.

This feels like a good time to put a couple of restaurants on your radar, the first of which is Juvia, because why not skip from one beautiful rooftop to the next?

You’ll want to make a reservation if you plan on dining at this hot spot that sits at the top of the Herzog & de Meuron 1111 Lincoln Road building. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting some time to grab a seat and take in the crisp Miami night air and stunning views here.

The menu is a fusion of French, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine and, quite honestly, some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. I’ve never been as sad about finishing a Caesar salad as I was when my plate of parmesan-encrusted romaine lettuce with bacon bits and sesame ranch dressing came to an end. The panko-breaded organic chicken that followed, however, quickly dried those tears, as did the chocolate candy bar that topped off my third course of the night. You’ll be doing your taste buds a grave disservice if you don’t make plans to grab brunch or dinner here, but if a drink is all you can squeeze in, you can’t go wrong with the cocktail list which boasts concoctions made of top-shelf spirits and fresh ingredients like lime juice, mint and raspberries.

Miami Photographer

Keep the elevated dining experiences coming during your trip with a visit to KYU where you can opt for indoor or outdoor seating depending on preference and availability.

Satisfyingly inventive is how I would describe the dishes at this “wood-fired Asian-inspired restaurant.” No meal is as simple as it may seem at first glance of the menu, from the Thai Fried Rice Stone Pot your server will mix to perfection with a pestle right at your table to the roasted cauliflower which oozes goat cheese and a shishito-herb vinaigrette upon first cutting into it. The assortment of flavors and textures is exactly the type of dining experience you want to have when you’re far away from home and have the opportunity to try foods you’d never make yourself, much less think to pair together.

When you make your way back to the Novotel on a full stomach, there’ll be no lobby full of patrons standing in the way of you and the elevator back to your room and, most importantly, your comfy bed awaits.

Simple and serene is how you’ll find your accommodations which speak to the reality that no one comes to Miami just to sit in a hotel all day. Still, Novotel understands that when you do retire at night (or for a midday nap after day drinking), guests want enough space to move around without the clutter of suitcases and shopping bags, and modern amenities to suit their personal needs. And that’s exactly what you’ll get.

And should you decide to camp out at the property, there’s an outdoor terrace, a mini-mart in the lobby for purchasing snacks and bottles of water and a number of stylish nooks and crannies to get lost in (or stage a photoshoot for the ‘gram).

However you choose to do Miami, Novotel will ensure your stay is a stress-free one.