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Mandarin Oriental - A Five Diamond Home Away From Home in Miami Beach

By: Kellie K. Speed

Mandarin Oriental - A Five Diamond Home Away From Home in Miami Beach 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 cool guests. 

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 Night.

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, Azul.

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.

Mandarin Oriental
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-913-8288

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Kellie Speed - Click to enlarge

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 Approach.

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


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