New York Times Writer Discovers Fisher Island Is Almost As Horrible As She Is

Give Hialeah a break. Fisher Island is actually Miami-Dade's most insufferable neighborhood. Sure, Forbes crowned it America's #1 Millionaire Capital, but that doesn't mean it's not an insular and dysfunctional hellhole that turns its nose up even at guests who pay to stay there. New Yorks Times scribe Alessandra Stanley recently visited the exclusive island's single hotel and discovered that the ritzy isle is almost as horrible as she is.

Stanley regularly serves as the Times' chief television critic and is best-known for being one of the paper's most comically inaccurate scribes. She once referred to Everybody Loves Raymond as All About Raymond, and her frequent errors have even been written about in her own paper. Apparently she has now decided to try her hand at travel writing.

She begins this piece with the painfully awkward sentence, "One of the good things about divorce is that you get to see less of your children." Yes, the travel piece is almost as much about her shitty relationship with her daughter (her travel companion) as it is about her shitty stay at the Fisher Island Hotel and Resort. We'll just ignore that family drama and stick to the local angle.

Stanley's reason for choosing Fisher Island doesn't make us warm up to her either,

We wanted Miami without spring break debauchery and South Beach without fashionista chic. And I knew better than to suggest Canyon Ranch. Once, when I told Emma that the apartment seemed empty without her, she replied, "Are you saying I'm fat?" (She's not.) [ed: We really do not care about her daughter drama] In short, we needed a resort with real food, no beer-guzzling college hooligans or European runway models.
So, basically she wanted Miami without too much Miami.


Honey, there's an entire city that is Miami-esque without all the wonderful things that actually make it Miami. It's specially tailored to fussy white people like you. It's called West Palm Beach. Next time, just book a room at the Breakers and save yourself some trouble.

If you visit a city and try to ignore all the things that make it unique, well, you're setting yourself up for failure. (We'll ignore the fact that in our experience, people who want to visit Miami without having too much of a Miami experience tend to have reasons that aren't very PC. You know exactly what we mean. We'll go ahead and give Stanley the benefit of the doubt.)

Stanley, however, eventually gets around to actually writing something relatable: She wants to get drunk on vacation. But after checking into the Fisher Island Hotel, she discovers there isn't a conveniently located bar open on the entire island. On this point we totally sympathize with her and conclude that visiting Fisher Island is a terrible mistake.

Though, she goes on to quibble with the hotel's use of plastic cutlery and its lackluster service. And in her best zinger, she says that La Trattoria, one of the island's few restaurants, "looked as though it belonged in a Scottsdale, Ariz., mall." She also mentions a bit about the legal battle brewing over the ownership of land on the island, something Miami New Times has chronicled in-depth.

Stanley did venture off Fisher Island twice. She had a meal at Versailles. Apparently it is written somewhere in the travel journalism bylaws that all writers visiting Miami must visit Versailles and mention it. She also heads to South Beach and remains unimpressed.

But all it took was a few minutes in South Beach -- and a peek inside Dash, the Kardashian boutique, where sunburned tourists took pictures of one another -- to make us realize that we didn't have it quite so bad on Fisher Island. At least there we weren't surrounded by drunken, half-naked college students racing Segways along Ocean Drive. "I know I sound like I'm 90," Emma whispered, "but I just want them to put some clothes on and go to vocational school."
Well, at least those half-naked college students racing Segways are having fun on their vacation. Stanley concedes that she and her daughter "felt as if [they] were at a dress rehearsal for someone else's vacation" during their stay on Fisher Island. That's not a surprise given the isle's awkward, insular nature.

We can't feel too bad for her, though. After all, she wanted Miami without too much Miami and went with the most un-Miami yet prestigious option located in the 305. It was her mistake, really. There are resorts in Miami that play down Miami's party reputation without coming off as puritanical and snooty to the point they alienate their own guests.

Next time try resorts such as the Biltmore in Coral Gables or Soho Beach House in Mid-Beach. Or just try the rest of Florida. Naples and Palm Beach have mastered the art of being boring enough for people like Stanley who balk at vacationers driving Segways in bikinis. Plus they're probably not as expensive as the Fisher Island Hotel's $800-a-night rate.

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Kyle Munzenrieder