Sometimes, the best weekend getaways are right in your own backyard—especially when you live in South Florida. Lifestyle has selected a variety of such getaways, resorts with so many inspired amenities that you might never want to go home.
The Diplomat Beach Resort
Why go: At one time, this was the place for glitter and celebrity glam of a bygone era. Judy Garland once sang in the hotel café; years later, her daughter, Liza Minnelli, teamed up with Sammy Davis Jr. to perform for a crowd of 3,000. Today, The Diplomat is a jaw-dropping ode to contemporary beach chic, thanks to a facelift (completed in 2017) that took almost three years and cost $100 million. Some 1,000 rooms were updated, including two presidential suites, 515 king rooms and 484 double rooms. The place can still name-drop: Fashion designer Trina Turk put her stamp on four of the Diplomat’s 26 cabanas, and, internationally known celebrity chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Shulson are responsible for the menus and atmospheres at two of the 10 restaurants. Shulson’s is Japanese-inspired Monkitail, while Zakarian’s Point Royal serves up coastal fare such as crab, shrimp and oysters. Local boaters can leave the car at home, and dock at the Diplomat Landing’s seven-slip marina.
Summer specials: “Take a Road Trip to the Beach” includes up to 10 percent savings for Florida residents. The Diplomat also recently introduced its “Burn and Brunch,” a monthly series of workouts with local fitness instructors—followed by a buffet brunch at Point Royal.
Contact: 3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954.602.6000, diplomatresort.com
Acqualina Resort & spa
Sunny Isles Beach
Why go: This luxury oceanfront resort gives visitors ample reason to kick back and enjoy a vibe that recalls a Mediterranean villa by the sea. The spacious 98 rooms range from 750 square feet to 2,300-square-foot, three-bedroom suites. In the go-big-or-go-home category, the 46th-floor penthouse (pictured below), a 7,725-square-foot masterpiece, can host 12 guests and comes with a personal butler. Acqualina is one of those hotels where you feel as if every activity has been tailored for you. The resort capitalizes on that idea with its new Acqua Experiences. The delectable Culinary Journey treats patrons like VIPs at some of Miami’s Michelin-starred restaurants; or permits exploration of the Cuban food scene in places like Little Havana, all accompanied by a culinary expert. Another experience involves creating your own original painting by the sea—with help from a Miami-based artist. Or, learn how to scuba dive; beginners start their underwater lesson in Acqualina’s pool, before heading off on a boat and diving into open waters. Other experiences include etiquette lessons for the kids, and, for the ladies, developing the “look,” aka Miami Beach style, with a fashion expert.
Summer specials: The “Ultimate Staycation” invites Florida residents to reserve a special weekday rate, which includes daily buffet breakfast for two, complimentary valet parking, complimentary access to the AcquaMarine Children’s Program for kids 5-12, and a welcome amenity upon arrival.
Contact: 17875 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305.918.8000, acqualinaresort.com
Trump National Doral Miami
Why go: Here’s where to go for a dream golf getaway weekend. After a welcoming arrival through the resort’s grand gates, visitors are whisked away to one of eight villas, each paying tribute to a great golf legend. The ultra-luxurious Jack Nicklaus villa is the largest on the property with 172 rooms and suites. The main attractions, though, are its four uniquely designed courses, none more intimidating than the legendary Blue Monster. Bragging rights go to whoever can beat the Blue’s 476-yard 18th hole, one of the most daunting finishing holes in golf and ranked by Golf magazine as one of the Top 100 holes in the world.
Summer specials: With the “Master the Art of Relaxation” package, Floridians receive 20-percent off the best unrestricted rate. Travel must be for three or more consecutive nights and contain a Sunday stay. Good through Sept. 3.
Contact: 4400 NW 87th Ave., Miami, 305.592.2000, trumphotels.com/miami
Why go: In February, the famed resort debuted a renovation project that totaled some $250 million. The property’s 415 rooms were updated—this, only two years after its hotel-within-a-hotel concept, Nobu Tower, drew raves. Legendary Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, in partnership with actor Robert DeNiro, has a Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas, and now one in Miami Beach. Nobu Tower has 206 rooms with modern, elegant touches, inspired by Japan and Eden Roc’s spectacular on-the-beach location. Matsuhisa’s signature Nobu restaurant inside the Roc is the first in Florida and among the largest in a chain of more than 30 establishments around the globe. California’s Malibu Farm, chef Helene Henderson’s farm-to-table concept, occupies a beautiful open-air space directly overlooking the ocean.
Summer specials: The “Only All-Inclusive Package in Miami Beach” includes room accommodations, resort fee, bottles of water, high-speed internet access, complimentary in-room coffee and tea set-up, one beach chair per person, a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner at select venues, wellness classes, bar and full menu service by the pool and beach, and alcoholic (select brands) and nonalcoholic beverages by the glass at participating outlets. The package runs through Sept. 30 at both Eden Roc and Nobu Tower.
Contact: 4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, 305.531.0000, edenrochotelmiami.com
1 Hotel South Beach
Why go: Everything at 1 Hotel South Beach is meant to be mindful of the environment—from hangers made from recycled paper and reclaimed driftwood for room door handles to hemp-filled mattresses and in-room triple filtered drinking water. The 425-room hotel takes advantage of its pristine location too. Occupying 600 feet of Miami Beach oceanfront, it has four swimming pools, including its 110-foot oceanview swimming pool on the roof, reserved for adults only. Three other pools are just as distinctive: The 30,000-square-foot center pool is the place to have fun with family and friends; the more-intimate pool on the third floor invites privacy with 12 cabanas; and the beachfront South Pool features a secluded beach club along the Atlantic, where the waitstaff delivers food and drinks. After a day of sunning, explore South Beach in the hotel’s chauffeur-driven house car, a Tesla electric. Bring your own electric car and take advantage of complimentary parking.
Summer specials: The “SOS: Save Our Shores” special provides 30-percent-off room rates, plus a $20 credit for customers to use as they wish. If you don’t use it all, the credit is donated to Natural Resources Defense Council.
Contact: 2341 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.604.1000, 1hotels.com/southbeach
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Why go: Actress Eva Longoria shot the pilot for her new ABC television show, “Grand Hotel,” at Fontainebleau. She said there was no other hotel in the world that suited the new series so perfectly. There is history in the walls at this historic showplace, which opened in 1954, and was the mecca of Miami Beach nightlife even then. In 2005, Fontainebleau closed its doors for a $1 billion renovation and expansion that took 2½ years. There’s still some of the original style that’s an intentional throwback to its days as the Las Vegas of the South, including its original iconic bow-tie patterned floor, a nod to Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and the other Rat Packers that used to drink martinis in the Bleau Bar in the lobby. With its 1,504 rooms and suites, Fontainebleau is equal parts experience and luxury retreat, which is definitely the reason to put this on your staycation “must” list.
Summer specials: “Bleau Summer,” good through Sept. 30, invites patrons to stay cool with cocktails and snacks while lounging poolside, compliments of the $50 daily food and beverage credit included during a stay in a deluxe room or better. Complimentary valet parking is included. With the “Days of Summer” package, save 50 percent on a third night when booking an oceanview room or better.
Contact: 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.535.3280, fontainebleau.com