All Images Credit Acqualina Resort and Spa
Miami is known for the bling and bustle of South Beach or, in more recent years, its emerging art and fashion scene. South Florida is a place where cultures collide with a strong Latin culture as well as “up north” transplants snow birding south to escape the bitter cold of winter. In fact, Miami has been a winter playground for the well-to-do for almost one hundred years yet somehow continues to recreate itself offering ever better options throughout the year for the fun-in-the-sun seeking traveler. Many hotels have arisen to cater to these well-heeled travelers yet one oceanfront resort set out to raise the benchmark on hospitality while catering to affluent European and American travelers. That one beachfront resort that stands apart in South Florida’s countless fields of luxury hotels is the Acqualina Resort and Spa.
Acqualina is the Italian word for water’s edge and this most tony of resorts is located on a gorgeous stretch of pristine beach miles away from the fray of South Beach. The Acqualina Resort and Spa is in a location and class of its own located in the residential beach town of Sunrise, halfway between Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. The crowded beaches, velvet-roped nightclubs, and Miami Beach’s manic pace seem a world away replaced with uncrowded shorelines, swaying palm trees, and a one square mile coastal town that caters only to the few. Although Sunrise is not located next to Miami Beach it is close enough to all within a short Uber ride to South Beach, Ft. Lauderdale or Bal Harbour for shopping in the area’s most exclusive boutiques.
Upon entering the resort, guests will instantly notice what appears to be a show room for Rolls Royce where a gathering of Phantoms, Dropheads, and Ghosts, interrupted by the occasional Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s, line the Porte cochère after dropping off their precious cargo of beau monde guests. In fact, the resort and residence have more Rolls Royce’s than any other in the U.S. with 58 Rolls Royce’s owned by their residents. It is at that point that first-time guests realize that they are somewhere special and uber-exclusive.
Once inside, guests are greeted with a stunning three-story atrium resembling the entrance of a fine Venetian Palazzo with marble columns, baroque detailed ceilings with imposing chandeliers, and sitting areas replete with fine Italian furnishings. While collecting one’s thoughts about the lavishness of the scenery that abounds, the welcoming staff interrupt only to offer a round of Bellini’s to set the mood for the stay.
For most of the guests checking in, this is not their first experience. The majority of the guests are repeat and in fact, over 50% take more than one vacation per year at the Acqualina Resort and Spa. The level of service and amenities is unprecedented which is why the Acqualina has been rated as by Forbes as Five Star property and a AAA Five Diamond resort, one of only 97 in the world that hold both distinctions, as well as perennially toping Miami’s best resort honors with an incredible list of accolades and distinctions from the purveyors of luxury travel.
The Acqualina Resort and Spa is a decadent yet refined 51-story resort drenched with Mediterranean style and flair, a sprawling 20,000 square foot spa by ESPA, gourmet dining from Il Mulino of New York and 98 lavishly appointed rooms and suites. Out of doors, the resort sets on 4.5 acres where guests indulge the dolce vita of the Italian Rivera surrounded by terracotta roofs, sandstone surfaces, four decadent pools with red and white striped cabanas, a sublime oceanfront lounge area on immaculate emerald lawns, and its most prized possession, a 400-foot flawless and uncrowded white sand beach.
Romantic couples and solo travelers will enjoy the resort as do families as there are two and three-bedroom suites as well as plenty of activities and a kid’s club for the little ones. And the resort is also one of the few pet-friendly luxe resorts welcoming pooches under 25 pounds who receive a welcome package of treats.
The Acqualina Resort and Spa offers 54 rooms and 44 suites that feel more like a private residence than a typical resort. The rooms are generous in size and exude a Mediterranean chic style with plush furnishings, a custom sofa sleeper, king sized bed, and the most up to date high tech electronics. Bathrooms are awash with imported marble surfaces, jacuzzi whirlpool tubs, walk-in showers and ESPA bathroom amenities. The glass doors open outdoors onto a private terrace offering sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean or inland for Miami skyline views.
The one, two and three-bedroom suites offer the opulence of a sophisticated apartment with an exquisite décor of rich textiles, sumptuous linens, silver satin touches, and a muted color palate of pastel grays, taupe and ivory. Expect another level of vacation decadence with a spacious well-appointed living room with custom furnishings as well as a study room with day bed and computer desk.
The marble bathroom offers a jacuzzi jet tub as well with a walk-in shower for two. The suites have full gourmet kitchens with granite countertops, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, and a dining area for four. Guest will love the furnished outdoor living space with lounge chairs and a dining set. that begs for breakfast on the terrace or hours of relaxing while taking in the panoramic sights and the sounds of waves from the aquamarine ocean beyond.
A resort of this caliber must offer high-level dining experiences and the Acqualina Resort and Spa does not disappoint. The resort’s signature dining experiences is offered by Il Mulino New York which is the Miami outpost of the famed New York eatery. The AQ Chop House by Il Mulino, has become a Miami favorites for succulent cuts of beef and in particular their filet mignon is a worthy of a visit for in house guests or for those not staying in the resort.
Outdoors, guests will enjoy the casual dining experience at the Costa Grill. The setting is as delicious as the meal as guests dine on classic seafood, gourmet burgers, wraps and salad under those iconic crimson umbrellas and chairs while overlooking the pool and gardens and the beach scene in the distance.
The Acqualina Resort and Spa created a sanctuary for weary traveler with their indulgent and full service 20,000-square-foot ESPA spa. Forbes Travel Guide awarded Acqualina Spa by ESPA with a Five Star Spa rating for its service and facilities that include state-of-the-art treatment rooms, a Royal Suite, a Finnish sauna, steam rooms with colored light to stimulate chakras, colorful experience showers, and a whirlpool with a decadent outdoor Roman waterfall jacuzzi.
Visitors will love their pampering spa services such as their signature Healing Massage with Himalayan Salt Stones that includes a foot bath, full body exfoliation, ESPA facial, followed by a hot salt stone massage leaving the body in a complete utter sense of relaxation. After treatments, guests will enjoy time in their relaxation room or just lasing about in their spa pool.
Beyond the indulgent spa experience, there’s plenty to do around the resort. The grounds offer an outdoor park of manicured lawns with the iconic crimson red couches and chairs set up to enjoy the outdoors, especially the sunsets at dusk. For beach lovers, the resort offers a glorious uncrowded 400 feet white sand beach. The resort is designed as a fine Italian villa and the Acqualina has four Mediterranean villa-style pools with rustic stone finishes, fountains, and statues. Couples will opt for the adults only Tranquility Pool for a peaceful day in the swanky red and white colored cabanas. Others opt for the sun loungers to soak up the Miami sun only to pause with a dip in the pool’s refreshing clear waters to cool off.
For a more active experiences there are water aerobics classes as well as plenty of water sport activities from stand-up paddle boarding to jet skis that can be arranged. Guest also have shoreside access to a robust work out with available yoga instructors and personal trainers in the resort’s state of the art fitness center.
The Acqualina Resort and Spa is a resort that truly has it all for the refined traveler as evidenced by the steady flow of repeat guests. And the critics have agreed by showering the resort with a plethora of awards and accolades including the USA Today: Best Waterfront Hotel in the United States, 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, third consecutive year; US News & World Report: #1 Best Resort the Continental US, Best Hotel Awards; TripAdvisor: #1 Luxury Beachfront Resort in the Continental US, fifth consecutive year; and Conde Nast: #2 resort in Florida.
For those looking to own a piece of this lifestyle, the Acqualina Residences are available next to the resort with a lobby designed by Karl Lagerfeld and over the top units starting at $4.2 million up to the $35 million penthouse. For the discerning traveler seeking the next level of South Florida beach front luxury, look no further than the Acqualina Resort and Spa.