When it’s completed in 2020, The Estates at Acqualina will be one of the most remarkable private communities in South Florida — and that’s saying a mouthful. But when you consider how the two residential towers will have Karl Lagerfeld-designed lobbies, an ice-skating rink, a bowling alley and nearly 250 units priced between $4.2 and $9 million, you begin to understand such a declaration.
While the next-door Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Acqualina Resort & Spa is understandably excited about the future, the family-owned and -operated property has plenty to applaud in the present. With 98 rooms and suites bathed in subdued elegance, Rolls-Royce house cars and more high-end distractions than you’ll know what to do with over a long weekend, this Sunny Isles Beach escape comfortably sits at the corner of awe-inspiring and opulent.
Here are five things that will captivate you about Acqualina this summer.
Though some rooms offer more space than others, it’s safe to say that whichever unit you reserve at the resort (be it a 640-square-foot Intracoastal Room overlooking Collins Avenue or a stunning one-bedroom oceanfront suite) will be a wise decision.
Still, there’s no denying that there’s something special about a freshly finished silver-leaf ceiling and new furnishings. The just-debuted penthouse, in all its 7,725-square-foot glory, is a castle along the Atlantic sands. Bigger than most homes, this 46th-floor suite boasts five bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a colorful living room and an iPad-powered control system that lets you manage it all from your chair.
Yet even after your eyes have captured all of that, your jaw will still find the ground once you see the penthouse’s private saltwater swimming pool and cabana guesthouse. Between dips you’ll be able to take in unobstructed views of the ocean. And in the guesthouse, you’ll encounter a smartly decorated room and a private bath, granting your guests uninterrupted peace.
Acqualina Spa by ESPA, the first sanctuary in the U.S. to bear the esteemed brand’s name, is one of the most refined spas in the country. The Five-Star retreat upholds its grand distinction with facilities that feature elegant touches (ice fountains, mosaic tiles) and aestheticians blessed with golden hands. Secure the Royal Suite, and you and your loved one will experience the best of both worlds during simultaneous treatments.
While the majority of services here focus on aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy (the use of sea products to boost beauty) and phytotherapy (the extraction of plants for beauty benefits), the forward-thinking spa recently moved into audio therapy with the implementation of the Sound Care Ritual. The 80-minute service begins with a consultation, where a therapist asks about your music preferences and wellbeing. After that, you’ll apply a set of headphones and listen to music that will relax you while a thorough massage eases bodily ailments.
Acqualina’s culinary department keeps evolving. The spring-opened AQ Chophouse by Il Mulino provides a comfortably chic setting (gray hues, banquettes, towering windows) and a menu stuffed with dishes you’d find in an Italian-flavored steakhouse (32-ounce porterhouses and short rib ravioli).
Famed Miami sushi chef Yakko-San creates bite-sized samples of the East with precision here every night as well. His crunchy spicy tuna rolls and salmon sashimi can be enjoyed from your AQ Chophouse table or the quaint raw bar a few feet over.
Other onsite options range from the exclusive (Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Il Mulino New York) to the express (Kosher-To-Go). We’ll categorize the scene from your waterfront cabana as “exuberant,” as we’re not sure how else to describe the feeling you get when thorough beach butler service, the tasty nibbles courtesy of Costa Grill and the sound of soothing waves all come together for an afternoon meal.
Many Miami-area resorts have butlers and breathtaking views. What separates Acqualina from the pool of other lavish properties is service. Staffers here go the extra mile to ensure your needs are met — and we’re not just talking wake-up calls and turndown treats, either. Almost no request is off limits here. The team (or “Dream Makers,” as they’re sometimes called) is so passionate about those words that it literally built a campaign off the mantra.
In the promotional video for “Wow Stories,” employees talk about giving guests lasting memories, whether that’s sentimental gifts for ailing visitors or creating an unforgettable spa moment for newly expectant couple. But even if you aren’t commemorating a milestone, the principles of personalization still apply. For Acqualina, a simple check-in for a few nights is reason enough to celebrate.
No matter what you’re in the mood to do, there’s probably an activity around the campus for you. If you want to go the traditional route with the watersports, you have access to four pools and paddleboards. Landlubbers can challenge a friend in basketball or foosball. A host of yoga classes (including ashtanga and restorative) is also offered throughout the year.
Starting this summer, the resort is filling out its calendar with Acqualina Experiences, a curated list of fun aiming to make your time at the resort even more special. Highlights from the roster include an abstract painting lesson, a personal shopping session with a professional stylist, a foodie tour and even a weekly spin class with Acqualina CEO Deborah Yager Fleming — as if she weren’t already getting enough exercise, running around the resort, ensuring that every guest was being cared for.