Luxurious South Florida Staycations
You’re planning your summer vacation, want plenty of pampering but don’t have the time to jet set across the pond or cruise to another hemisphere? A luxury Florida ‘staycation’ is a great alternative. Following are three famously indulgent hospitality hot spots – rich in Florida history – for a memory-making staycation destination that’s just a brief road trip away.
Private Island Paradise –
On Brickell Key
Just east of Miami’s Brickell neighborhood sits Brickell Key – a prestigious, man-made island located east of the Miami River. The formation of Brickell Key has its own history; in 1896, American industrialist Henry Flagler dug a shallow channel from the mouth of the Miami River resulting in the creation of two separate islands. In 1943, real estate investor Edward N. Claughton, Sr., bought both islands and joined them together, bringing his vision of modern-day triangular Brickell Key to life. Nestled on this 44-acre island is Mandarin Oriental, Miami, a triple five-star resort with unique Asian flair featuring a white-sand beach, award-winning fine dining experiences and a tri-level spa. Frequented by dignitaries and Hollywood A-listers, it isn’t uncommon to spot a celebrity or two on resort grounds. Perfect for staycation season is the Fantastic Florida Escape offer valid through September 3, 2014, and exclusive to Florida residents. This package includes free valet parking for one vehicle, a 20% off total purchase coupon at Shanghai Tang boutique, American breakfast for two, and an additional 30 free minutes when reserving a Couples’ Suite at The Spa. There is no minimum number of nights stay required when booking with this offer.
The Hidden Gem
on Key Biscayne
Home to the Cape Florida Lighthouse, a once booming coconut plantation and former grounds of the Tequesta Native American tribe, Key Biscayne has a long and fascinating history. Pirates used to terrorize the coast of Florida using Key Biscayne as a headquarters. Black Caesar, a Lieutenant of Blackbeard, was the most notorious among them. In 1821, Florida became a U.S. territory and in 1825 the 65-foot-tall Cape Florida Lighthouse was built to guide mariners away from shipwrecking on the beautiful Florida Reef. The tower has survived attacks from Seminole natives and Confederate sympathizers during its lifetime. Today, the lighthouse remains functioning.
Experience this historic paradise with a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Complete with luxury accommodations, the Old Havana style RUMBAR with 84 rums to choose from, a nationally ranked tennis court and an on-site sculpture gallery featuring unique pieces from the Elaine Baker Gallery. To top off your visit, the Miami Seaquarium is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of Flipper with an exclusive Flipper Package available to hotel guests. It includes round-trip transportation to Miami Seaquarium, breakfast, a photograph with Flipper, and other family fun activities. To learn more, contact The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.
South Florida has lots to offer to its residents, but with everyday life demands most people don’t take the time to appreciate their own community. So, kick back at a resort near you and stay in South Florida to enjoy your time off from the daily grind. After all, you live where others vacation.
The Glamorous Gables
For a touch of Great-Gatsby glamour and style, The Biltmore in Coral Gables, a pillar of beauty and history styled in classic Mediterranean architecture. The Biltmore opened in 1926, following the incorporation of Coral Gables, with the purpose of serving not only as a hotel but also as a harbor for sports and fashion. It was the site of gala balls, golf tournaments and welcomed a variety of guests from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Al Capone. When the United States entered World War II, the Biltmore was modified into a hospital and functioned as such until 1968. After years of upsets and renovations, The Biltmore was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1996 and has since been fully restored to its former magnificence. “This history of the hotel is intrinsically tied to the history of Coral Gables. You’re not just staying in a historic landmark,” says Matthias Kammerer, General Manager of The Biltmore, “you’re surrounded by buildings, hundreds of them, that tie into the same history all part of the overall resort experience.” Guests can enjoy treatments at The Biltmore Spa, French cuisine at Palme d’Or or a game of golf on the world-renowned course. A glitzy step into history awaits you at The Biltmore.