Agents' Choice 2019
Travel Courier
Issue Date: Dec 13, 2018
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A suite escape

Live the ultra-luxe life in Miami

ANN RUPPENSTEIN

Miami is constantly evolving and reinventing itself.

For travellers, the coastal Florida destination offers the best of a beautiful beach escape and a city getaway across diverse cultures and a buzzing nightlife.

Miami, which recently ranked fourth on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 guide for the Top Cities to visit next year, is also becoming increasingly renowned for its flavourful food scene and a multitude of art, museums, events and shops.

For discerning clients looking for a memorable place to spend the night with endless experiential moments, some of the city’s most extravagant accommodations can be equally unique and diverse – attracting celebrities like Gerard Butler, Chrissy Teigen, and John Legend, to name but a few recent a-listers.

From over-the-top services like beachside foot baths to a tradition dating back to Napoleon Bonaparte, here are a few options for an ultra-luxurious stay in Miami.

Acqualina Resort & Spa
Claim to fame: located in Sunny Isles, the five-star luxury oceanfront resort has such a nice stretch of beach, even rivals from other properties in the city raved about the quality of the sand.

Don’t leave without: trying one of the resort’s signature coconuts from Thailand.

Relax: for a twist on a relaxing massage, the Sound Care Ritual at the 20,000-square-foot Acqualina Spa by ESPA is a therapeutic treatment, which at the core combines massage techniques with musical healing. Afterwards, there’s relaxation lounges, crystal steam rooms, Finnish saunas, Himalayan salt walls, and experience showers.

It’s all about the experience: along with taking advantage of the resort’s three oceanfront pools or chilling on beachfront signature red lounges, Acqualina offers a variety of programming called Acqua Experiences. Options range from outdoor painting lessons to private three-hour yacht cruises with The Charter Agency.

Stay a little longer: those in the market for a more permanent property in Miami can even purchase an apartment in the adjacent The Estates at Acqualina buildings, now under construction. The $38 million penthouse comes complete with a Rolls-Royce Cullinan and a Lamborghini Aventador.

Accolades: Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award and the AAA Five Diamond Award.

Faena Miami Beach
Instagrammable moments: there are many photo-worthy spots throughout the property, but perhaps the most unique is the giant woolly mammoth coated in real gold on the boardwalk. Another unique piece is Float, the colourful chandelier in the spa, which is made out of fishing bobbers.

Drink up: the popular watering hole, The Living Room, is a place for guests and visitors alike to enjoy cocktails. For a delectable meal, try Pao, which serves up a creative range of international styles including Filipino, Spanish, Japanese and French.

Over-the-top: hate getting sand from the beach on your lounge chair? Fear not. Service at Faena Miami Beach includes a freshwater foot wash – attendants will literally wash the sand off someone’s feet by trickling water from a watering tin on them. It’s so over-the-top, they were recognized as one of the top 10 Hotels With Over-the-Top Poolside Experiences by Condé Nast Traveler.

Be sure to: take in the Samara Cabaret, a new racy original Faena LIVE production show featuring stunning dancers, voices, pyrotechnics and musicians.

Accolades: Top Hotels in Miami: in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018.

Voted No. 1 Property in America and one of the top hotels in the world by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 Readers Choice Awards.

Keep your eyes peeled: for a man dressed in all-white wearing a fedora – it’s the go-to look for the hotel’s namesake Alan Faena, who designed the property, which is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, and conceived the notion behind the six-block Faena District.

It’s not a lobby: the main entryway of the former Art Deco- style Saxony Hotel is the commanding “Cathedral.”


The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
Honouring tradition: dating back to Napoleon Bonaparte, who famously opened Champagne bottles with his saber in both victory and defeat, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort keeps the art form alive through a signature ceremony, which is part of its Evening Rituals Series. Guests can also book a private session to try it for themselves.

Don’t leave without: renting one of the luxury Oceanfront Day Villas. The air conditioned luxurious 600 square-ft units are a perfect spot to cool off in between visits to the pool and beach.

For those who love to shop: the property is located across the street from Bal Harbor Shops, a family-owned business since 1965 with high-end shops like Versace and Prada.

Accolades: Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond.

Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Claim to fame: The Mandarin Oriental, Miami is the only hotel on Brickell Key and features great views of the skyline and surrounding water. The Five-Star luxury hotel has had many notable guests, including Hilary Clinton.

Instagrammable moment: the contrast of the serene private infinity-edge pool with the city in the background makes for a striking image.

White Caviar: it’s not to eat, the Five-Star spa offers a facial treatment using white caviar oil, believed to repair and renew the skin.

The Setai, Miami Beach
A little bit of history: The Art Deco building first opened in 1937 as the Dempsey-Vanderbilt Hotel. Next year, the The Setai, Miami Beach will celebrate 15 years. It employs Indonesian hospitality concepts. It’s owned by Nakash Holdings, the private investment office of the family behind Jordache jeans.

Don’t leave without: trying the brunch buffet, which features an expansive selection ranging from American-style breakfast to pad thai and shrimp green curry. Be sure to also visit the popular Friday night bazaar.

Location, location, location: although the oceanside hotel is located in the heart of South Beach, the courtyard is designed to be a serene oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Treat yourself: to a massage at The Spa at The Setai by THÉMAÉ. The Singapore Massage draws on three cultures for a relaxing and calming experience.

Instagrammable moment: since Gerard Butler hanging out by the pool can’t always be guaranteed, a more likely bet is the tranquil courtyard with an Asian aesthetic.

Accolades: Ranked No. 1 on Travel+Leisure’s World’s Best awards for Top 10 Greater Miami Beach Resort Hotels. It also ranked in the Top 15 Continental US Resort Hotels and Top 100 Hotels Worldwide.

 

 

 

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