The hottest hotel in Miami isn’t in South Beach — it’s in Sunny Isles, just minutes from the posh Bal Harbour Shops. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Acqualina Resort & Spa is a family-friendly paradise complete with all the amenities adults love. Here are five things to admire when you check into South Florida’s buzziest address.
At Acqualina, there’s not a bad room in the house — almost all offer views of the Intracoastal Waterway or the sparkling Atlantic Ocean from a minimum of 600 square feet of space with large sitting areas and a terrace or balcony. Decorated in cool grays, whites and creams, the rooms are a soothing contrast to the bright pops of “Acqualina Red” that dot the resort or the blinding combination of white sand and cool blue ocean just outside your door.
For the best accommodations, book one of the suites, which come in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations that are perfect for families. Some even have full kitchens, making them ideal for extended stays.
The 20,000-square-foot, Five-Star Acqualina Spa by ESPA is one of our favorite East Coast destinations for a purely pampering experience. Start your treatment in the relaxing crystal steam room or Finnish sauna before retreating to the relaxation area, which boasts a detoxifying Himalayan salt wall and gratis snacks (the cookies are our favorite) while you wait for your therapist to escort you to one of the 12 treatment spaces. There’s even an over-the-top private suite perfect for couples and special occasions.
The treatment list is extensive, but we recommend booking ESPA Time, where a two- or three-hour experience is curated by you and your therapist to treat any needs on that specific day. Afterward, enjoy a healthy bento box lunch by the heated pool and Roman waterfall as you gaze out toward the ocean and begin planning your next treatment.
The family perks
Kids of all ages will feel pampered at Acqualina. In fact, many families return year after year for the friendly staff and well-curated group programming. AcquaMarine, designed for kids 5 to 12, is a camp that explores aspects of sea and marine life. One day might include marine biology, while the next could involve pool play or team building.
Teens over 16 can indulge in new fitness programming with a personal trainer that’s specifically targeted to their age group.
You may think the highlight of a beachfront resort is the pristine white sand just steps outside the doors, but Acqualina offers more than a beautiful view. Take advantage of four pools, all with beautiful vistas; dine at Italian hot spot Il Mulino New York for a decadent night out; try a beachfront yoga class; or run in the expansive fitness center. You can even get your shopping cardio in by popping over to the Bal Harbour Shops to browse at Graff, Louis Vuitton or Saks Fifth Avenue.
But our favorite part of an Acqualina stay? The attentive, authentic service. This luxury hotel is serious about taking care of its guests. Many staffers have been with the resort since it opened and are encouraged by management to find ways to make guests’ stays special, be it an in-room amenity for a special occasion or a surprise perk for a little visitor.
The over-the-top residences
For those looking to truly live the Acqualina lifestyle (or earn the right to ride around in those signature red Rolls-Royce house cars all day), commit to one of the over-the-top residences. Lucky guests can purchase units at The Mansions or the in-development tower at The Estates. These palatial residences, including some with their own plunge pools, provide panoramas of the Atlantic, private beachfront cabanas, their own spa and gym (with private a spin studio and hammam).
Other perks consist of a Formula One simulator, an indoor ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a cigar lounge and sunset reflecting pools. No amenity is too outrageous for these residences, which sell for a minimum of $3.9 million.