Acqualina is the decadent resort we need

Tucked away a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of Mid-beach and South Beach, Acqualina is located in Sunny Isles, and while it’s a 15-20 minute drive from Miami’s nightlife, it might as well be a world a way. If you’re looking for an ultra-luxurious experience that pays attention to the smallest details, then a stay in one of Acqualina’s beachfront suites is the way to go.

Whether it’s locals looking to be pampered on a staycation or out-of-town visitors ready for a taste of Miami hospitality, this secluded resort is packed with dining options, on-board service of sea, a world-class spa and swimming pools galore. Here’s our rundown of the property’s outstanding amenities and features.

Interior of the Acqualina Suite


All luxury: One-bedroom suites offer ocean views, marble soaking tubs, and huge oceanfront terraces

Get ready for Old World glamor at this more traditional resort, where resort fees are a thing of the past. Acqualina includes residences as well as the resort, so the service is next-level and many of the property’s guests have been there before or loved it so much they bought a place. This informs the layout of the room, which is sprawling and plush, residential-style with lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, crown molding and marble throughout. Splurge for the ocean-view side of the building and drop by whenever you’re not poolside on the huge deck that looks down on the water from above. Those are truly million-dollar views, but if you want to feel even more pampered, the freestanding marble tub will get you there. Take it a step further with a pampering treatment at the property’s stunning spa, complete with private plunge pools, a relaxation lounge, and several steam and sauna offerings.

Aerial view of Acqualina

Aerial view of Acqualina


Three separate pools, private beach access, and wristbands to keep everything exclusive

Although many families vacation at Acqualina, the resort is very considerate of those who don’t wish to be surrounded by children, with a serene adult-only pool. All three pools are right on the water, and there’s also a private beach with manicured sand and lounge chairs. If you want the view but don’t want to deal with the sand, stick to the grassy pools or lounges which can be reserved with 24 hours notice. And if you get hungry during the day, Costa Grill offers food service at one of the pools, as well as seated table service right on the beach. All of these offerings are completely private, and guests check in at the pool entrance to get their wristband — only hotel guests and residents can dine or swim at Acqualina, providing a welcome layer of privacy that’s uncommon in Miami.

Spread of LPM

Spread of LPM


Check out classic Miami restaurants like Villa Azur or Le Petit Maison for destination dining while you’re in town

As well as an elegant on-site dinner at Il Mulino New York, a very traditional and very excellent Italian outpost, heading into town for dinner is a great way to break up the lazy hours of the day. Villa Azur is a great place for visitors who want the Miami “clubstaurant” experience. Their beer garden is great for an idyllic dinner at golden hour, but quickly turns into sparklers over champagne bottles when darkness falls. Booming DJ sets, boozy cocktails and an elegant plate of steak or fish are the ultimate complement to an evening of controlled nighttime mayhem.

For a different night out, head downtown Miami to Brickell for Petit Maison’s upscale French-Mediterranean menu, or LPM. Reserve a table in advance for a white tablecloth, fine dining experience, or simply take a seat at the bar and sample their classic French specialties like snails, beef carpaccio and prawns in olive oil. For main, the marinated baby chicken with potato gratin on the side can’t be beat, although one local sitting at the bar swears by the duck l’orange.

Cabanasa at La Confidente

Cabanasa at La Confidente

The confidante

Stopover in the middle of the beach for the retro-glam vibe of The confidante if you want a few days closer to the action

After a few days of relaxation in the north, a few nights closer to the party could be in order. La Confidante is the place to be for that; it’s located right on the main street in Collins, and their reasonable rates will leave plenty of room to go big on a poolside cabana. Indulge in the pool and private beach at this lively hotel, where the DJ plays from afternoon to night and drinks are served in custom coconuts opened directly at the bar. Be sure to visit the property’s on-site restaurant, Ambersweet, for a casual mix of local fare and Miami classics, like big-eye tuna tartare with pickled onions or incredibly fresh Chilean sea bass.

After a night of partying, skip the hotel’s breakfast buffet and sample classic Mexican cuisine at Bakan near the walls of Wynwood for an early lunch — and one last margarita before heading out.

About Brad S. Fulton

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