Vacation in Florida

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2007-10-22 05:58:59

South Beach Swagger (and Sway)

miami nightlife concierge
Ever had a craving to suit up as an A-class baller in Miami for a night? Well, now you have your pay-to-play options. The Four Seasons Miami at Biscayne Bay is offering a “nightlife concierge” service that gets you past your velvet rope of choice. Which means no lines, no schmoozing the doorman, and no hanging about like a lemon on a crowded dance floor. Instead, you can flutter amidst the silicone beautiful people at the invite–only club SET, or feast your senses on the glammed-up Brazilian crowd at the dusk-to-dawn steakhouse Grimpa. Needing the right glad rags? You can even schedule a pre-soirée fitting at one of SoBe’s high-end boutiques. Rival nightlife fixers JetsetMiami offer a “guaranteed” VIP service that goes straight for the South Beach kill. No need to be a Four Seasons’ guest -- the only requirements are deep pockets and an outsized appetite for club cruising. To customize your experience, you’re invited to pick and choose your own a la carte nightlife package via JetsetMiami’s website. Depending on your ego, you can wax almost famous along the beachfront nightclubs on Ocean Drive, or opt for the full-on VIP treatment at spots like Privé or B.E.D. (debuting a new look October 27.) If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to premium, super premium or “baller status” bottle service -- though the limo will still cost you extra.

2007-10-04 18:15:20

Drop in, Tune out, log on

Marco Island Marriot
Blackberries at the spa used to mean fruity aromatherapy and scented massage oil. Now it could mean head in the cradle, masseuse at work... and you as well. Just last week Marco Island Marriot Beach Resort debuted WiFi in its Balinese-style spa. Fresh from a $200 million makeover, the Floridian hotel is onboard with a new spa trend that lets you log on while luxuriating. A recent survey says 88 percent of Americans bring electronic devices on vacation and 40 percent check work email. Such travelers would do well to visit the new Spa of Colonial Williamsburg, where they can stay connected to the 21-century as they’re pampered by practices that are five centuries old. The Four Seasons Palm Beach also has their eye on the WiFi –- though while their current spa isn’t wired, their new one will be when completed next year. And, of course, hotels aren’t stopping at treatment rooms: when the Regent Bal Harbour opens near Miami Beach January 2, they’ll make sure their plush poolside cabanas are hooked up with WiFi and flat-screen TVs. They’ll be following the lead of similarly swanky hotels such as the W Los Angeles-Westwood -- whose Internet-friendly cabanas were just redesigned by Queer Eye's Thom Felicia. Now that’s how to multi-task in style.

2007-05-10 11:50:40

Love Shack

Inn of the Five Graces
So you’ve always dreamed of eloping, yet a drive-thru wedding chapel and an Elvis impersonator don’t quite fit your fantasy. How about a ceremony in a candle-lit courtyard that culminates with a flight of butterflies symbolizing joy and hope? It all comes with the “elopement package” tailored by the Inn of the Five Graces at Santa Fe –- the latest hotel touting on-the-spot wedding services rooted in luxury rather than kitsch. With burning incense, Persian rugs and sumptuous canopy beds, the 22-suite love lodge is a sensual setting for both weddings and honeymoons -- so much so, that couples who stay for three or more days get the wedding ceremony on the house. But if barefoot on the beach is more to your sense of romance, then Casa Morada welcomes you to wed at the water’s edge on Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The serene 16-suite boutique hotel offers elopement packages for up to 20 guests including a sunset ceremony, a champagne toast shared with your entourage, and a twilight dinner for the bride and groom. Afterwards you two can steal off to the limestone grotto or to the property’s private island for a spot of one-on-one in the waterside pool and secluded cabana

2007-04-10 09:26:39

WASP Wonderland

Looking to create your own version of The Palm Beach Story? Don your Lilly Pulitzer prints and step into Starwood’s latest addition to their Luxury Collection: the Resort at Singer Island. The all-suite beachfront resort, which opens today, is set on a sliver of land (named after the sewing machine magnate Paris Singer), jutting out from Florida’s Gold Coast, near to West Palm Beach. Expect such top-tier trimmings as private cabanas, on-site scuba and parasailing, a ridiculously spacious spa, and a temperature-controlled wine room to store your private wine collections. Guests can also drop in at the nearby Lion Country Safari, and the National Croquet Center (free introductory classes on Saturdays; ask for the deeply-tanned four-time National Champion Archie Peck). Introductory specials start at $215, but, in keeping with local custom, you can spend your savings on gin and tonics at the bar
Consume: Resort at Singer Island

2007-04-04 05:18:19

Golf in Half the Time

Bandon Dunes Hole16
Just as golfing duffers prepare to tune in to The Masters at Augusta, Georgia, on April 5, Zagat has just published its survey of the top courses in the U.S., Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Harvesting the opinions of 6,250 linksmen (who between them logged 560,000 rounds of golf in the past year), the guide’s top honors went to Bandon Dunes in Oregon, with Lake of Isles, North in Connecticut coming in as top newcomer. Growing legions of time-poor golfers, however, are getting with the game’s latest trend: “short courses” (formerly known as “executive courses”). And with big-name designers behind it, these briefer versions of the grand old game appear to be more than a passing fad. Witness Greg Norman’s Lansdowne Resort in Virginia, 30 miles from Washington, D.C., and Davis Love III’s Origins Course near Destin, Florida. Even a traditional 18-holer like La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California, now does a tidy Nine & Dine program, offering half a round followed by a gourmet meal. And then there’s the adult incarnation of miniature golf, which includes putting resorts, dogleg holes and sand traps. If you think that’s something to sniff at, try the 1,448-foot long Fairways Course at Fantasia Gardens at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, the longest mini-course in the world
Consume: Bandon Dunes, Lake of Isles, North, La Costa, Fairways, Disney World Credits: Zagat

2007-02-15 04:30:00

Five-Star Florida

update: delayed opening
When you think of South Florida, fine art probably does not spring to mind. But there’s about to be an excuse for an educational excursion. Amidst a sea of regional pop artists like Romero Britto, an Andy Warhol exhibit will open at the Miami Art Museum on March 2 -- one day after now, two months before the St. Regis, Fort Lauderdale welcomes its first guests. The five-star resort, wedged between the Atlantic and the Intercoastal Waterway, was created by design-stars Hirsh Bedner Associates (Mandarin Oriental Miami, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport and the Intercontinental Phoenicia Beirut). The St. Regis doesn’t just offer full-service trimmings like beachfront butler service, but also access to the links at The Diplomat Country Club and The Club at Emerald Hills. If that’s not the kind of driving you had in mind, there’s always the option of seeing the “Venice of America” in style

2006-12-20 00:00:00

Drive us crazy

surf 1

If you still think of Ft. Lauderdale as a place to get alcohol poisoning during Spring Break, you’re showing your age. One only needs to look at the spate of upscale hotels that have recently opened in what some call the “Venice of America” (think canals, not cuisine) to reconsider their opinion. Thanks to a new luxury car club, snowbirds may want to abandon their rental cars. For a $15,000 initiation fee and another $15,000 in annual dues, Collexium gives members 30 days' access to such models as an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a Ferrari F430 and a $350,000 Lamborghini Murcielago. At present, Collexium has only 12 charter members and 10 cars, with plans to go to 500 members and 100 cars. The timeshare concept, popular with renters of private jets, second homes and yachts, occurred to Collexium’s founder Blas Moros, when he retired from Microsoft at age 38. Similar clubs are already established in London and San Francisco, and so Moros wants to branch out to California, Texas, Arizona, Atlanta, Miami and Palm Beach. All we need now is a designated driver