Do Not Disturb, Currently on Staycation

By Francesca Cruz

Playa Largo Resort & Spa Autograph Collection Hotels

97450 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037

PlayaLargoResort.com 

The Resort: If you want to feel like you’re truly getting away from the city and off on a mini romantic road trip, this is our #1 choice in Key Largo. As soon as you set foot on the property (that is situated on 14 acres of secluded beachfront) you are handed a pineapple mojito by the welcoming concierge. How’s that for customer service? The design is very mid-century with lots of nautical embellishments. Next you’ll come across their showpiece: the beautiful pool that sits center-stage and overlooks the man-made beach. With swaying palm trees, and an archway over the entire width of the pool, the area is lined with cabanas, loungers and matching white umbrellas. The exterior decor harmonizes perfectly with the interior tropical-luxurious-chic feel of the property. You’ll want to promptly get situated poolside and order your cocktail from the Sand Bar (we recommend the Largo Punch with Bacardi coconut, Bacardi 8, Bacardi Superior, Coco Lopez, citrus, bitters, or the Spanish Sunset with Don Julio Reposado, Illegal Mezcal, agave, pineapple juice, citrus juices, basil leaves, Tajin spice). The resort has been opened for only two years, and what sets it apart from any other in the keys is how the esthetic beauty matches the caliber of service. 

Activities: Visitors are encouraged to jump on one of the bicycles the property provides and go for a leisure ride. These are the keys, so of course there are plenty of water sports to enjoy: from snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, paddle boarding, sailing to fishing. Most of the activities leave from the private marina on site, check with your concierge for more details and schedules. The property also offers tennis and basketball. If you want to learn more about the Florida Keys you can even take an environmental tour. The resort’s June calendar is brimming with activities, from yoga by the beach, eco-golf, to scavenger hunts. 

The Spa: The resort and its expansive Ocean Spa provides guests with the perfect blend of relaxation and calming island vibes. To up the staycation experience for dad (or for couples), visitors can opt for the Bubbles and Bliss Spa Package to melt the stress away with a 50-minute treatment of their choice and a glass of champagne. For those really needing extra attention, the Treasure of the Seas Treatment consist of a full body exfoliation using fine white sand from the beaches of Bora Bora, followed by a 50-minute soothing massage with citrine gemstone oil. The experience is concluded with a light dust of shimmering gold over the body. The treatment last 75 minutes. The spa is a full-service spa and includes facials, as well as hair and nail care. 

Where to dine: There are four restaurants on property, Sol by the Sea is dockside dining with a rustic yet romantic charm about it. Las Olas Ceviche Bar is just that, a bar where guest mix and mingle and order up sushi or ceviche and accompany it with a tropical cocktail concoction. And of course the renowned La Marea, the quintessence of the Playa Largo Resort’s culinary experience. When cooking up the fab fare here, the restaurant uses only locally grown produce from farmers and fisherman. 

The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton

3555 S Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

DiplomatResort.com

The Resort: Just the fact that Frank Sinatra gave it the seal of approval so many moons ago, makes it not only a staple of South Florida, but also the coolest resort in Hollywood, Florida. This is just the beginning of its allure—some more of the notables that stayed here: Robert Kennedy, Sammy Davis, Jr., Elvis Presley, and even Judy Garland (who played the hotel’s Café Crystal) bestowed upon it the glamour and magnetism of old Hollywood. Although it opened in 1958, don’t expect a dated hotel. Goodness no! Just the contrary, in 2017 it underwent a $100 million renovation and reopened to the public under Curio Collection by Hilton. With the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway as its backdrop, (aside from stunning views) this oceanfront property consists of 1,000 guest rooms and suites with superior accommodations, and first-class amenities. There are eight different culinary destinations, two sun-drenched pools, 25 poolside cabanas, a deluxe spa and fitness center, and 209,000 sq. ft. of meetings and events space. I was sold the second I heard Sinatra and saw the magnificent lobby area. 

Activities: If staying in shape is part of dad’s morning routine, you’ll be wowed by the property’s 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center. The gym offers group fitness classes and private training. But if vacation time is more about indulging, take dad to the Candy & Cones ice cream shop/retro soda shop (and yes, the ice cream is housemade.) Of course lounging by the pool with drink in hand, or having your lounge chair set up on the beach (with the soothing sounds of the waves, and smells of saltwater and suntan lotion) is a must. If you’re feeling a bit sassy and ready to get your American Idol on, make sure to reserve your private room at Nokku, the Karaoke bar on property. If the kids are joining you: the Ocean Ambassador’s Kids’ Club facilitates seaside exploration and educational activities. 

The Spa: It’s time for pampering not only dad, but you as well. Make your way to the Diplomat Spa + Wellness retreat. Select the Holistic Healing Massage, one of their signature massages; decide on a facial, or opt for a couples massage. The Couples Getaway is a great option that also includes a bathing ritual and champagne. Please note the spa is also full service so hair and nail care are available as well.  

Where to dine: This is where it gets tricky. With so many fantastic options to choose from, it might take a minute. For a lunch and then a brunch on the weekend, I headed to Food Network personality and Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Point Royal. YES, the brunch there is as fantastic as you’ve heard. For dinner I opted for: cocktails one night at one spot, and dinner at another, and then the following night I did the ol’ switch-a-roo. It worked like a charm. The Diplomat Prime is a culinary steakhouse dream, with its opulent and masculine vibe it serves house-aged wagyu steak, and the freshest catches. Musts on the menu: the scallops, the octopus, the 45-day dry aged porterhouse, and the wagyu filet mignon. 

Another spot to hit up for dinner is Monkitail, inspired by a Japanese Izakaya (sharable plates), and created by Chef Michael Schulson, it is authentic Japanese cuisine. Dimly-lit, and intimate, with chinoiserie decor, it feels like the perfect spot for a rendezvous. Things to try: the Duck Shabu Shabu, the beef short rib, the crispy Brussels sprout, and I would venture to say every cocktail on their menu.

The Confidante Miami Beach

4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140

TheConfidanteMiamiBeach.Hyatt.com

The Resort: The 1940s was considered the Golden Era of Miami Beach—golden—as in enveloped in an amber hue of glamour and frill. This is certainly a way to describe The Confidante Miami Beach. Now, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the three-towered chic oceanfront property combines the art deco that distinguishes South Florida from anyplace in the world (the property is newly renovated), and the modern amenities and luxe comforts that give it its “seal of approval” as the perfect option for a staycation, or of course, vacation. The mid-century modern hotel is all about retro-glam, with 354 guest rooms, including 14 suites, a recently debuted Carmen Miranda Oceanfront Ballroom (named after the flamboyant singer and dancer who was the first Latin American to leave her hand & foot prints at the famed  Grauman’s Chinese Theatre). The hotel’s interior design was done by Martin Brudnizki and it highlights the heyday of late ‘40s-‘50s Miami Beach. 

MIAOB-Steve-Sanacore-102014

Hotspot: The center of activity and what can be seen as the pulse of the property is the “Backyard,” where the heated pools (including an adult only pool and a family pool) are located. In the Backyard you’ll find lounge chairs, secluded cabanas and private bungalows, all within a tropical backdrop—and on weekends a live DJ entertains. A new addition is the Confidante Cart, the mobile trolley offers hand-made paletas from Miami-based Cielito Artisan Pops and treats from Azucar Ice Cream Company. A secondary stationary cart retails an array of colorful floats (something the hotel is known for), and beach swag: from towels, totes, t-shirts, sunscreen, to magazines. 

Please note: The hotel is pet friendly

Activities: The hotel offers guests bicycle rentals, hop on with your hubby and venture to local spots like Lincoln Road, the Faena District or even head to South Beach and famed Española Way. If you’d like to work up a sweat, make your way to the 24-hour indoor/outdoor fitness center. The center offers weekend wellness classes, including boxing and rooftop yoga. 

The Spa: The Spa at The Confidante is located on the hotel’s rooftop with views of azure waters and the Miami Beach coastline. It features private, air-conditioned treatment cabanas and a fitness terrace. Indulge yourself in relaxation and choose from deep tissue, or a hot stone massage. Try out the latest trend like a chocolate scrub, a magnet face mask or the Customized Crystal Massage Journey, where healing crystals are used to revitalize the body. The experience also includes a hydrating crystal elixir ceremony using Bulgarian Rose Water, which promotes detoxification, healthy digestion and increased energy levels. 

Where to dine: Savor Southern-inspired cuisine at Chef Richard Hales’ on-property restaurant, Bird & Bone. Hales is one of South Florida’s most beloved chefs and he brings a contemporary spin on traditional American fare and memorable comfort food. Enjoy lunch or dinner al fresco (inside seating also available) and dive right into fresh Key West Shrimp tacos, Chef Hales’ Hot Fried Chicken, grilled oysters, or the new Gussied Up Burger, stacked and smothered triple brisket & short rib beef patties, butter, poached lobster, friend green tomatoes, homemade bacon, cheese fondue and key lime mustard sauce along with orange marmalade. Dad needs to stay here just to try this burger!

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

455 Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne, Miami, FL 33149

RitzCarlton.com

The Resort: Located but a few minutes’ drive from the heart of city life, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is a premiere property and a gem of a staycation getaway. It’s close enough to the heartbeat of everything, yet nestled on Key Biscayne, a barrier island secluded enough to make you feel like you’ve left life’s cares behind and ventured off to paradise. The property is the crème de la crème in full-service resort, and although there are miles of beaches and lush foliage, it is the only luxury hotel on the island. The resort boasts an oceanfront family pool and an adults-only option. There’s a 25,000-square-foot spa, 11 tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gym with personal trainers. You’ll find three stellar restaurants on property and the Rumbar Lounge, where guests get to travel back to 1940s Havana as they enjoy live music and the bar’s coveted mojitos. 

Activities: When it comes to activities, this is a great destination for couples, families and of course, dad. Enjoy a tennis match with pops at one of the largest tennis facilities of any Ritz-Carlton worldwide—the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center, which features one hard court and ten soft clay Hydrocourts, and several clinics and lessons for tennis enthusiasts ages three to 103. Tennis legend and current ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale designed this bustling facility. The hotel also offers Ritz Kids, an engaging and immersive experience that builds upon the adventures of travel. Leveraging an exclusive partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society and his unique environmental expertise, Ritz Kids has crafted experiences that appeal to children’s innate love of discovery and sense of curiosity. Children, between the ages of five and 12, are exposed to an array of environmentally focused activities that foster interaction with the world in which they live. 

The Spa: A co-ed spa inspired by the lush history of the native Tequesta Indians, it can be referred to as a relaxation sanctuary. Overlooking the ocean, the spa features eucalyptus scented steam rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and vitamin C infused showers. You’ll find a spa boutique, as well as a full-service salon. A must on the spa menu is the Coconut Nourishment treatment: a skin soothing ritual, it includes a sugar cane coconut scrub, body massage, nourishing wrap and scalp treatment. A great option for dad is the Path of the Rising Moon treatment,(a name that is a tribute to the origins of the “Biscayne” moniker—the Tequesta word, “Bischiyano,” meaning “favorite path of the rising moon”). This includes a warm orange salt and oil exfoliation followed by an Atlantic stone body massage and a scalp massage. 

Where to dine: With three fantastic options and a full slate of worldly culinary influences, choosing one might not be an easy task. First option is Lightkeepers, inspired by the Cape Florida Lighthouse it offers fresh seafood, wonderful cuts of beef, and locally grown and caught ingredients. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday. Cantina Beach is located right on the beach and adjacent to the pool, housed in a thatched palapa built by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, the restaurant serves up authentic Mexican fare from the region of Chiapas. It also offers 110 premium tequila selections, the largest selection in Miami. Dune Burgers On The Beach, nestled close to the adult tranquility pool, is a stylish lounge that sits on the sand, steps from the beach. There’s plush seating and a very bohemian yet swank casual vibe. Guests can enjoy gourmet burgers and salads, while sipping on champagne or enjoying a cold brew. Sunday parties include a live DJ. 


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