I checked in to the Mandarin around noon, was welcomed with smiles and offered iced tea to beat the Miami heat. I made my way to room 816 and was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room. The king size bed faced the sitting area, which was decorated with a white love seat and single-person chair. The sliding glass doors opened to views of the sea and the bathroom was decorated in bamboo with both a tub and standing shower. The LCD TV was situated on a pivoting table so you can watch TV from any angle, and a desk was placed perfectly against the wall of windows so you could work while enjoying the scenery. On the downside, like many luxury hotels these days, Internet costs $15 a day. If you want it, you’ll have to pay for it.
When evening falls in Miami your options are endless. As a hotel fanatic, I choose to dine at nearby The Viceroy so I could check out the hotel scene and taste the delicacies at the Mediterranean-inspired Eos Restaurant. Eos is organized tapas-style, which makes it perfect for one or a group of people. Since the plates are small and meant for bite-sized tasting, choose something from each of the sections (starters, salads, pastas and entrees) and taste a little bit of everything.
Travel tip: If you’re free from food allergies, ask your waiter to choose the dishes for you. They know what’s best that night and you’ll get a good sampling of the best dishes.
Devote the second day to all things you. Start with a workout or a walk around the island to take in the beauty of Miami. Plan a late-afternoon spa treatment so you’ll have time to ease into your day and enjoy breakfast in bed. The Mandarin Oriental’s spa treatments are world-renowned for its Asian and Thai influence.
Opt for a Thai massage or take advantage of the 110-minute Mandarin Orientals Signature Spa Therapies. The therapist will take you to a private suite overlooking the sea and start your treatment with a traditional foot soak. After a yin-yang analysis, your therapist will determine the best course of treatment – massages, exfoliants , facials and salt scrubs are just part of the plan. The treatment is meant to coincide with your current state of mind, so you’ll choose the aromatherapy scents that appeal to you that day. The entire MOSST experience is meant to appeal to one of the ancient Chinese elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Metal or Wood. Not surprising, my element was fire. According to my therapist, ‘fire’ relates to the heart and is filled with love and intuition, but ‘fire’ people can also take on a lot of stress that results in insomnia and insecurities. It’s as if she could see right through me…
The Mandarin Miami has a pool and private man-made beach, which is a great way to spend an afternoon post-spa. End your day on a relaxing high note. Grab a candle from the spa in and head back to your room for a soak in the tub. Leave the packing for tomorrow morning…
Side-trip to South Beach
If your plans to Miami involve some girlfriends take a stroll through South Beach. If the beach is what you crave, you can’t go wrong with a room at The Tides. All the rooms are suites and have ocean-views, perfect for peering at the South Beach party-goers on Ocean Drive. The hotel is located next door to an alternative club – think “The Birdcage-meets-Priscilla-Queen-of-the-Desert” – which means endless entertainment from the patio of The Tides. The show starts at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and runs through the night with performers dressed in drag and commandeering the street, and fans. Enjoy a lychee martini and some Kobe-beef sliders from the hotel’s restaurant La Marea. The menu features everything from crabcake appetizers to fresh fish entrees and boasts an impressive wine list. Suggestion: Opt for a bottle of Chardonnay and dine on oysters and mussels while you watch the revelers go by. If the mood strikes you, there’s plenty of dancing to be had in the street.