|BEACH IT: Play on the white sand of Miami Beach, but stay at Acqualina (above), where delicious soft-shell crab, foot rubs, and tropical swimming pools await.
photography courtesy of Rosewood Hotel & Resorts
Miami is the place to go for year-round fun in the sun. White sand, temperate blue waters, hot nightlife, and multicultural dining are just a few of the city’s highlights. Thankfully Miami has outgrown its party-city reputation, and it now has a sophisticated, international vibe with a festive flair. Whether you’re a beach bum, foodie, fashionista, A-list jet-setter, or romantic, Miami has it all. HOT SPOT: Sunny Isles Beach, just north of Miami Beach, is booming with deluxe resorts. Sometimes referred to as Little Moscow due to the large Russian community, this stretch of Collins Avenue has become prime oceanfront property, far from the crowds of South Beach. It’s a great location if you want a little R&R but still want the option of nightlife just a half-hour cab ride away. HOTTEST HOTEL: Acqualina is the newest luxury kid on Collins. The 51-story Mediterranean-inspired tower features 97 European-style rooms (all have private terraces and posh amenities) and 188 private residences. You can expect world-class service because there are two staff members to each guest. Pick your place in the sun—a lounge chair on the beach or beside one of three swimming pools on the property. Don’t worry about the bucket of ice cooling the beverage of your choice; a staff member will shade it with an umbrella. SPA-RIFFIC: Acqualina is home to the first and only Espa Spa in the United States. The highly acclaimed UK-based program offers a variety of holistic treatments that incorporate aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy, and phytotherapy. The sea grass wall coverings, driftwood artwork, and mosaic tiles promote serenity, while the Finnish Sauna, Ice Fountain, Crystal steam room, and private pool allow you to relax in the lap of luxury. Ready for a marathon pampering session? Choose the Time Journey, which allows you to combine as many services as you like from the spa menu. Each session begins with a consultation and footbath to promote spiritual grounding. SHOPOHOLICS ALERT: The hotel will arrange transportation to the nearby Bal Harbour Shops, a fashionista’s shopping dream come true. The outdoor shopping venue has been ranked the top shopping center in America by Women’s Wear Daily. You can find all the big names, including Chanel, Chloe, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermes, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and YSL. ULTIMATE ROMANCE: Celebrating an anniversary or looking for a place to propose? Before you leave home, call the concierge at Acqualina and he will help you arrange a special dinner for two. We did. The staff set up a private candlelit table on the beach for my boyfriend and me. The ambience inspired him to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him—and he’s not even the romantic type.
You can’t experience the real Miami until you stroll the streets of Little Havana and sip a café con leche with the local Cubans who hang out at Café Versailles (3555 SW Eighth St. 305-444-0240). It’s little more than a glorified diner, but the food—classic Cuban specialties like a media noche with black beans and rice or ropa vieja (shredded beef)—is the real deal. Stop by the bakery next door for a purseful of pastelitos, pastries filled with guava, cream cheese, or both.
HOW TO GET THERE
Skip the mess at Miami International and fly into Fort Lauderdale International on American Airlines (www.aa.com) or Delta (www.delta.com). Hop a cab for the 20-minute ride to Acqualina, A Rosewood Resort.
WHERE TO STAY
Acqualina, A Rosewood Resort
17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach. 305-918-8000 www.acqualinaresort.com
Rates: $425–$1,800 per night
Espa at Acqualina is the first of its kind in the United States, offering Espa’s celebrated treatments that incorporate aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy, and phytotherapy. Call 305-918-6844 to book an appointment.
WHERE TO SHOP
Acqualina offers complimentary transportation to nearby Bal Harbour Shops (www.balharbourshops.com), an open-air, pedestrian-friendly mall with the most famous names in fashion, including D&G, Escada, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.
WHERE TO EAT
Cafe Vesailles, 3555 SW Eighth St., Little Havana. 305-444-0240