Canyon Ranch Miami
An Indagare member recently visited the Canyon Ranch Miami and recounts her impressions.
Spas have come a long way from the clear-broth serving resorts of yesteryear, if Miami’s Canyon Ranch is anything to go by. This urban, sexy spa housed in huge high rise buildings in north Miami Beach welcomes the ladies who lunch but also the young, fit couples with tattoos and a penchant for working hard and playing hard.
Days are centered around the bevy of exercise, yoga, Pilates and TRX classes both indoor and on the beautiful beach, which sits directly in front of the spa. The spa area includes not just the standard whirlpool, sauna and steam rooms, but also herbal therapy enclaves and an igloo room, to cool off in aromatherapy surroundings.
Guest rooms are contemporary with large luxurious bathrooms and beautiful views of the ocean and beach. Some suites come with a full kitchen, though the spa’s food is healthy and delicious. Unlike Canyon Ranch’s sister properties, this one serves organic wines and cocktails. When guests tire of being in an enclosed highrise, one can go down to the beach, walk along the boardwalk, or hit the Miami scene.
With the exception of dining room service, which can be slow, service is excellent.
Personally, I derive calm and health from the natural world and prefer the spas where outside activities such as hiking are an integral part of the program. But, if you want to get away from winter, get some exercise and check out the Miami Beach scene, then this spa will deliver a fantastic long weekend in the sun.
Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
This is the place for travelers looking for a familiar level of service with a touch of local color. The 1953 landmark DiLido Hotel, designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus, features a multimillion-dollar Latin American art collection courtesy of Diana Lowenstein, one of the hotel’s principal owners. Families will appreciate the Ritz Kids program, which includes supervised activities from sand-castle-building to shell collecting. Not that the resort has lost track of what the parents like. Indulge in the wonderful Carita pedicure with reflexology specialist Marlene Carreras at the spa, and don’t miss caipiroskas (a Brazilian cocktail made with vodka, lime juice and sugar and live jazz at the richly decorated, dimly lit Lapidus Lounge.
St. Regis Bal Harbour
The St. Regis Bal Harbour might be just a twenty-minute drive north of South Beach, but it could be a world away. And the entrance might have a de rigueur Miami façade—portico, liveried valet parkers, Lamborghini ostentatiously parked front and center—but walk into the mirrored hallway and you could be in another city, or even another era.
An old Hollywood glam pervades through the public spaces, while the 243 large guest rooms feature mid-century design elements. Many rooms feature patios and all have views of the ocean, due to genius architectural planning that designed the building on a slant.
J&G Grill serves excellent fare throughout the day and a delicious Sunday brunch. The space is high ceilinged with giant windows looking directly onto the beach. Purple orchids throughout the property add a touch of color to the cool spaces. The lobby bar features nightly live music and their own Miami take on the iconic St. Regis Bloody Mary (spoiler alert, they add key lime).
The St. Regis’s outdoor space is nearly unrivalled in the region, with separate pools for families and a tranquil adults-only time, day beds and cabanas and a beautiful swath of beach, which remains much less of a scene than further down in South Beach.
Highlights: An excellent kids club; a 24-hour gym and a Remede spa
Located in the ten-acre Icon Brickell community, the Viceroy is one of Icon’s three soaring towers boasting views of the shore, outlying keys and city skyline. Built as a sort of urban resort, the area includes parks and two condo towers, both connected to the hotel by a two-acre landscaped terrace and 300-foot-long infinity pool on the fifteenth floor. Although the Viceroy complex isn’t the first luxury hotel/residential project in the area, it certainly qualifies as the most hip, thanks to the vision of design impresario Phillipe Starck. From the moment I drove into the complex, I knew I was a world away from the surrounding corporate office community. A forest of towering sculptures reminiscent of Easter Island (some with glowing eyes) line the drive, and the low-lit lobby looks more like a chi-chi South Beach nightclub than it does a hotel entrance. Although it was empty when I visited prior to opening, I could picture the space full of models and moguls canoodling over cocktails before heading out for the evening.
For travelers, the hotel offers access to all of Icon Brickell’s facilities plus stylish accommodations in beautiful Kelly Wearstler-designed rooms. An urban version of the South Beach Tides (also designed by Wearstler), the decor includes romantic four-poster beds, spacious baths open to the room and vintage-inspired accent tables and lacquered lamps that feel straight out of 1920s Shanghai. In contrast to the Tides cream and honey tones, though, the Viceroy has a more muted green and onyx theme that looks decidedly more city than beach. All rooms also include fully-stocked kitchenettes, organic mini bars, iPod docking stations and flatscreen TVs.
The problem with staying at the Viceroy is deciding how to spend your time. I’d have a hard time tearing myself from the Starck-designed 28,000-square-foot fitness and spa area, whose surreal two-story lobby has double-height windows overlooking the bay and Victorian settes partially submerged in bubbling hot tubs. Then again, Club 50, the 50th-floor lounge and rooftop pool, feels so exclusive that Fendi decided to hold their spring fashion show there. Evening cocktails here will certainly be a hot ticket, and access will be limited to hotel guests, Viceroy residents and their invited friends. South Beach beware…the super chic may decide to end their days here instead.
Who Should Go: The Viceroy’s location near many of the international banking headquarters makes it an obvious choice for business travelers. South Beach is just a short taxi ride away if the urge to hit the sand strikes.
Who Shouldn’t Go: Although children are allowed, the entire complex feels geared more towards single travelers and couples than towards families.
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