WHY GO: From the moment your feet hit the pavement and the ultra-attentive staff whisk your bags upstairs, a certain tranquility descends. The property on which the Biltmore Hotel has presided for more than 75 years is as lush and tropical as an island paradise, without the lengthy travel time.
|Sip a cocktail or schedule massage in your personal poolside cabana. photo courtesy of the Biltmore Hotel|
VINTAGE VACATION: An iconic hotel from the 1920s, the Mediterranean-style resort has welcomed such well-known guests as Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey. Leafy palm trees stand out against the brilliant blue of the resort pool, while sprawling bougainvillea cascade from wooden rafters and shade swimmers from the afternoon sun. The suites are luxe with plush, pillow-top beds tucked under graceful canopies. They’re comfortable—but don’t get too attached, because you won’t be spending much time in your room.
POOLSIDE PARADISE: Reserve a private cabana on the edge of the Biltmore’s oversized pool. Curl up in an overstuffed chaise lounge, wrapped in Egyptian cotton, and enjoy the wireless Internet access and private outdoor showers. You can schedule spa services in the seclusion of your suite, and butlers are available to bring you drinks from the Boules Bar, an organic juice and cocktail bar that the locals flock to for live entertainment when the sun goes down.
DETOX, SPA-STYLE: The seventh-floor spa is a sanctuary with panoramic treetop views of the championship golf course and the city of Coral Gables. Treatment rooms branch off from a bamboo bridge, suspended over a bubbling brook with river stones and waterfalls. Set aside some time and book the Ayurvedic Experience. Your entire body is in for a treat. The experience includes an Abhayanga body massage, Indian head massage, Ayurvedic body scrub, Gotu Kola Ayurveda firming botanical masque, body wrap, and application of Ayurvedic hydrating lotion. The relaxing ritual is designed to clear out impurities and restore you with a healthy, invigorating approach to life. After slinking into the locker room for a eucalyptus steam and fruit-infused seltzer, you’ll understand why this treatment is called an “experience.”
DELECTABLE DINING: Once you soothe your soul at the spa, you’ll be ready to eat, and the hotel has three delicious options. Palme d’Or, the Biltmore’s signature restaurant, offers a contemporary take on classic French cuisine. Guests can create their own menu of more than 20 “tasting” plates paired with the chef’s selection of wines. At 1200 Courtyard Grill, savor Italian-Mediterranean cuisine, an extensive wine list, and grilled steaks and seafood. For a more casual meal, sit out by the pool at Cascade, where you can enjoy chilled Costa Rican prawns with spicy curry, chargrilled churrasco steaks, or organic spa cuisine such as salad niçoise or seasonal vegetable tartare with herb mousse.
Don’t check out until you’ve had Sunday’s signature champagne brunch. You’ll be seated in a lush garden courtyard among live musicians and tropical plants. Table after table is lined with lavish fare, from caviar and crepes to a raw bar and a tapas station. (We love the blue crab and avocado martini.) Of course, you’ll want to save room for dessert. But if you don’t have time to enjoy it there, the chef will happily box up a tart for your trip home. After all, parting is such sweet sorrow.
Where To Stay: Biltmore Coral Gables, Miami