||Three years ago, the Mandarin Oriental set its sights on
Miami Beach. Today, the five-diamond property is the home away from home
to numerous celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Luciano Pavarotti.
Situated on Brickell Key, a 44-acre island in Biscayne Bay, which is
considered one of Miami's most prestigious commercial and residential
locations, is just minutes from the South Beach nightlife.
We stayed in a luxurious suite overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay. (We
were even able to see some dolphins playfully jumping out of the water).
Each guestroom offers 10 foot high ceilings with a separate marble shower
and bathroom complete with dual phone lines. After relaxing in a warm
bath, I slipped into a plush bathrobe and slippers and stepped out onto
our balcony for an encompassing view of Miami.
"We are extremely pleased by the positive response members of the local
community and visiting guess have shown the hotel, along with restaurants
Azul and Café Sambal, since our opening in November of 2000," said Jorge
Gonzalez, general manager. "Our commitment is to continually find new
ways to surprise and delight our guests through our tradition of warm,
personal service and through our dynamic guestroom, meeting and banquet,
fine dining, and spa facilities."
Just last year, the property introduced a 20,000 square foot private white
sand beach. While most travelers visiting the Mandarin were intrigued by
its first class service, the one item they missed was the lack of a
seaside beach. Located just steps from the swimming pool and the 1.3 mile
jogging trail, the beach offers guests authentic Oriental-style
furnishings, including exotic futon style beds with white cushions and
canopies for those guests preferring a respite from the Florida heat.
Beach butlers come by frequently offering Bulgari scented towelettes to
There is so much to do at the Mandarin Oriental Miami - from indulging in
spa treatments to dining at the property's five diamond restaurant - there
is something for everyone. Be sure to spend some time at the Spa at
Mandarin Oriental. Whether you are looking for a couples massage in one
of the private outside cabanas or in the quiet indoor refuge, the Spa
offers a spectacular array of menu items. I chose a French pedicure from
a pedicurist who recently worked with Jennifer Lopez when she was in
town. The relaxed atmosphere was a delightful indulgence.
The deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage are some of the most
popular treatments. The Shiatsu massage focuses on the energy meridians
of the body through the use of hands, feet, elbow and knee pressure.
The spa services don't exactly come cheap at this five diamond property.
They range from $160 to $300 per hour per couple. The three-level
treatment facility offers panoramic waterfront views. A glass elevator
transports guests from the lobby level of the pool deck and 15,000 square
foot spa, complete with 17 treatment rooms. The fitness facility here is
also first rate offering treadmills, free weights and Stairmasters.
Be sure to check out the hotel's M-Bar where we listened to jazz in the
lobby lounge. If you prefer to be outdoors, grab a seat at one of the
tables overlooking the infinity edge pool. We sampled the Mandarin
Martini, the bar's signature martini but be sure to keep a look out for
some of the bartender's latest concoctions, including the Martini of the
One of our favorite restaurants was Café Sambal, which has the most
wonderful sushi bar in town. The casual dining spot specialize in sake
cocktails, which offer a combination of Asian sake with tropical fruits.
For a more upscale experience, try the hotel's five diamond restaurant,
The 120-seat restaurant highlights Latin, Caribbean, French, Asian and
American cuisine. Dining here is an experience unto itself. The
waterfront restaurant offers a stunning view of Biscayne Bay and entices
guests with its appealing raw bar. One of the most impressive features of
this restaurant and the hotel is the floor to ceiling windows that
surround you, providing dramatic views of the Miami skyline. We sat on
the outdoor terrace overlooking the bay. Appetizers here range from $8 to
$21 while entrees are from $20 to $35.
If you request a seat on the outdoor terrace and realize you left your
pashmina in the room, don't fret, just ask the maitre'd, who is happy to
offer you one from their collection.
For more information or to make a reservation at either the Mandarin
Oriental Miami or Azul, call 305-913-8254.
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
# # #
Kellie K. Speed is
a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been
published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahners’
Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air
Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and
travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and
Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland,
England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is
planning a trip to Tahiti.
Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing
reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.
If you would like to email Kellie any suggestions or comments, please do
so at firstname.lastname@example.org.