We try not to schedule any event that involves traveling close to the end of the year. That's because the travel gremlins come out in late fall and stick around until winter is over. Scheduling events during these periods is like playing roulette. As you can imagine, flight delays/cancelations are more likely in late fall and winter.
So, our last two events for 2023 were done in early October. Exploring the beautiful Sunshine State in a Maserati MC20 and interviewing Scott Cunningham, owner and CEO of The Hangar Group. I arrived in Miami from Seattle on a red-eye flight on Friday morning, and my ride dropped me at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel at about 8 a.m. Resigning to the fact that I'll have to store my bags and wander around until check-in time later in the day, I slowly approached the reception with no hope of getting an early check-in.
However, I encountered a miracle. The hotel room was ready right away! It was a corner suite, and I didn't realize how tired I was from the flight until I lay on the bed. It wasn't the typical high hotel bed, so I slept like a baby.
Exploring South Florida in a Maserati MC20
The MC20 arrived at about 2 p.m. As you would expect, the car got a lot of stares as it came to a stop in front of the hotel entrance. Butterfly doors always command attention, but the beautiful combination of the blue hue of the body and the red calipers make it hard to look away. After getting some information about operating the essentials, I was handed the key. Believe it or not, I had no plans for the car on this day. I had a meeting with the film crew, so I gave the key to the valet with a request for them to be careful with the car.
The Kimpton EPIC hotel is at a gorgeous location in downtown Miami. It's right by the river, and they always have nice-looking yachts docked by the hotel. On the other side of the river is Miami Circle Park, next to the W towers. Opposite the Kimpton Hotel, you'll find the imposing new Aston Martin building. Miami has some pretty amazing locations for filming, but few can match the allure of this part of town. There's a reason why this place features in many TV shows and films shot in the magic city.
After checking out the yachts at the waterfront, I went back to my suite to kill some time. The plan was to meet with the crew at Sugar, the rooftop lounge at the East Hotel, but it was at capacity when we arrived, so we had to settle for the bar. That turned out to be a bad idea; we could barely hear each other over the loud music.
After finalizing plans for filming on Sunday, it was time to retire for the day. The next two days were going to be exhausting. Saturday was for trying out the car, and Sunday was for filming.
On Saturday, my day started with a walk at Miami Circle Park and the Brickell Key Bridge. The bridge is my favorite spot in Miami, so whenever I'm in the magic city, I always ensure my morning walk route includes it. Walking past the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Brickell Key Park is always refreshing.
At about noon, it was time to put the car to the test. After hearing all about the V6 Nettuno engine and its hyped pre-chamber, I couldn't wait to try it out. Afterall, I had contained my excitement for one whole day!
As the valet stepped out of the car, I jumped in and took the wheel for the first time. One thing struck me right away. The seat was very comfortable. It felt more like a grand tourer than a supercar. This is a supercar you can drive every day, and I was happy to discover this. I planned to drive to Palm Beach with a quick stop at Fort Lauderdale. It's not exactly what you would call a road trip, but it's not a drive across two blocks either, so the comfort was appreciated.
Maybe it's my imagination, but supercars seem to be more common in Maimi than other cities I've visited, so it was a little surprising to see the stares and sometimes bizarre reactions the car got as I drove it around town. Perhaps that's a testament to how good it looks. It certainly doesn't look anything like a Ferrari or Lamborghini. It has its own unique identity. The Maserati trident looks great on it, too.
I've driven more than my fair share of supercars and can attest that you don't want to sit in most of them for too long if you value having a healthy back. But the MC20 didn't feel that way. It had me believing I could have driven to Orlando and still have good things to say about the ride comfort. But Orlando certainly wasn't the destination. The plan was to drive to The Breakers in Palm Beach, the storied 5-star hotel you may have heard about. If you're an MC20 fan, you probably know it doesn't have a rear-view mirror. You get a live video feed from a rear mounted camera instead, and I'm happy to say this substitute works just fine.
As I arrived at The Breakers, I immediately appreciated how stunning the building is. It didn't look nearly as good in photographs. The ocean view from the back was to die for, and it's no wonder many of the guests congregated there. Feeling there was a need to stick around, I visited the Seafood Bar. The rebel in me chose a Filet Minon instead of any seafood. However, I was convinced to try oysters for the first time. Fairly certain I would hate them, I scooped one into my mouth, fearing the worst, but oddly enough, it actually tasted great. That was a pleasant surprise. Oysters aren't exactly the prettiest things in the world.
After tearing myself away from The Breakers and making another stop at Fort Lauderdale, it was time to retire for the day. Sure enough, by the time I got to downtown Miami, there was a hair-raising traffic jam that didn't end when I arrived at the hotel. It took about 20 minutes to get from the hotel entrance to the valet! The whole distance wasn't even up to 40 meters! Good thing I was in a comfortable car.
The next day was filming day, and we planned to start at 5 a.m. to avoid traffic. Raquel will have more to say about how that went. For me, I walked away feeling very impressed. Other than the navigation system that I felt wasn't chatty enough, I don't have much to complain about.
I've always been fascinated by what I would call the mystic of the Maserati trident. Although, with the absence of the GranTurismo for so long, there wasn't much of an option for me in the lineup (I'm not into sedans or SUVs). When I spoke to Bill Peffer, the CEO of Maserati Americas, he indicated that they could convert me from the Porsche brand. I have to admit that Maserati now has my attention. The MC20 made a remarkable first impression, but I'm not sure I want to drop 200+ large on a car. Once my current lease is close to its end date, the GranTurismo will get its chance to win me over.