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Pre-/Post-Cruise Doral (Miami) Day One
Sunday, November 13, 2016  

No matter who you are or where you live, you have heard the name Trump. And, when embarking or disembarking a cruise in Miami or Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), you have the opportunity to spend a few days at a five-star resort bearing the name of our new President-elect.

After disembarking Holland America's Koningsdam in Ft. Lauderdale, we took the ship's bus transfer to the Miami airport. Trump National Doral is only seven miles from Miami International, so we decided to use Uber to get from the airport to the resort. Our Uber driver showed up in less than two minutes and within 12 minutes, we were pulling up to the security guard station at Trump National.

Entrance to Trump National Doral

As we drive down the long driveway that leads to the main lobby, the expertly manicured grounds are the first hint that this is a special place. Trump National Doral has a long-standing reputation as a golf resort, so it's likely not the first place you think of for a pre-/post-cruise stay. We were pleased to learn that the resort does offer a pre-/post-cruise package which includes your room, complimentary transportation to/from the port/resort. They will even store luggage or golf clubs for you if you do not want to take them on your cruise. So, you could spend a few days at Trump to play golf on one or more of the four championship courses, leave your clubs with them during your cruise, and pick them up on the way home.

We arranged for an early check-in and arrived at about 10am. We were greeted in the driveway by a bellman who took our luggage and directed us to the reception desk for check-in. Check-in was quick and efficient. A look around the lobby will reveal many photos of "The Donald" hosting various celebrities and golfing greats at the resort. Next to to the reception desk is a large acrylic urn filled with Trump Virgin Mojito Water, a delicious and refreshing drink for guests to enjoy.

Trump Virgin Mojito Water

After we checked in, a bellman, Luis, offered to drive us to our suite in the Bobby Jones Villa (all rooms and suites are in villas named for famous golfers). Golf carts are used to shuttle guests around the property, even though the walk to our villa was not that long. 

Bobby Jones Villa

Luis brought our luggage to our suite (Premier Two-Bedroom Suite #1122)  and we had our first look at the massive accommodations consisting of a large living room, separate dining room, small kitchenette and a beautiful bedroom. There are two bathrooms, both with marble showers and one has a bathtub. There are two 55" flat screen, HD televisions, one of which was used to view our Dallas Cowboys narrowly defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers. Go Cowboys!

The living room in our suite and the 55" TV

After unpacking and watching the first three quarters of the game, we walked to Bulla Gastrobar for dinner. Bulla Doral is less than a mile from Trump National Doral and it is an easy walk. We dined at Bulla Gastrobar last year in Coral Gables, and loved it. So, we were looking forward to visiting the Doral location.

Bulla Gastrobar Doral

The Doral location has the same hip decor and vibe as the one in Coral Gables. It is Sunday evening, so there is no crowd like there was on our previous visit (a Friday evening). After we were seated, we were greeted by our waiter, Xavier, who took our order and delivered everything promptly. The tapas-style menu really suits us well. Rickee and I ordered a variety of "small plates" to share. We decided to each order a white wine Sangria to enjoy with our meal. The drink was filled with strawberries and blueberries and was delicious and refreshing!

White wine Sangria

Our first small plate to arrive was the Albóndigas, veal and pork meatballs in a spicy tomato frito. They were delicious!


Next to arrive at the table were the Pimientos De Padrón, blistered Shishito peppers in olive oil and sea salt. We first enjoyed these peppers in Barcelona last year and they instantly became our favorite. The peppers are typically mild, but every now and then you will come across a spicy one, which is considered good luck! Unfortunately, we did not find the spicy one this time. Rickee's Tortilla Española was a thick, traditional Spanish omelette filled with potato chunks and served with a delicious roasted garlic aioli.

Pimientos de Padrón and Tortilla Española

No visit to Bulla is complete without an order of Pan de Cristal Con Tomate, toasted crispy bread topped with delicious tomatoes. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture! I would love to tell about our incredible dessert, but I think I will save that for our final review!

After an incredible meal, we returned to our suite at Trump National Doral. Tomorrow, we will have breakfast at BLT Prime, and a tour of this magnificent property.

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