Florida’s Top Gold Coast Resorts

The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour Miami’s Presidential Suite has a large living room with a grand piano.

Whether you’re looking for a last-minute winter getaway or planning ahead for your summer vacation, Florida’s Gold Coast has an array of resort options.

Formerly the One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami has plenty to do. Fashionistas will love its proximity to the Bal Harbour Shops, an upscale outdoor shopping center with luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and more. It’s only a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk from the hotel. What’s more, The Ritz-Carlton has a Couture Concierge who offers guests a personalized shopping experience with celebrity stylist Elysze Held, an in-house fashion expert. The hotel also provides Black Car transportation to and from the Bal Harbour Shops.

Be sure to reach out to concierges Felipe Toro ([email protected]) or Andre Fayad ([email protected]) to book a personal shopper or to ask for any other unique requests. 

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Culture vultures will enjoy a stroll around The Ritz-Carlton, which has a $2 million art collection. The hotel also offers an “Unscripted Bal Harbour” Museum Access Pass, which is a public art initiative put into place by the city, giving people free admission to top museums, including The Bass Museum of Art, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and more.

Of the 124 rooms, the top digs are the Presidential Suite, which has its own private entrance, panoramic views, a personal sauna and Roman tub on the balcony, a private movie theater and a soaking tub adjacent to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean. There is only one and it’s requested often, so reach out to Inessa Tsavaris ([email protected]), director of travel industry sales, for bookings. 

The Bathroom in the The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour’s Presidential Suite has a soaking tub adjacent to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean.

If you’re heading down to the restaurant, Artisan Beach House, there are two dishes in particular that you should order: the Grilled Octopus starter with vadouvan carrots, yogurt and cilantro sauce and the Dry-Aged New York Strip Steak served on a salt slab with duck fat fries and truffle butter (our mouths are watering just writing that down). Couples heading to the restaurant should ask for a table outside by the Guy Dill sculpture where the jetty and boats going through the channel are visible. Groups (of up to six) should request the six-top toward the back of the restaurant; it offers the best views in the house. Restaurant GM and Director of F&B Brian Skogan ([email protected]) is the man to book with; aim for one to two weeks out.

The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami also has a 10,000-square-foot, 10-room spa. We suggest one of the three signature treatments, all of which are based off the Florida orange: The Super C Facial, the Orange and Clove Body Scrub and the Flor Massage with Citrus Oil. Contact Spa Director Luara Iglesias (315-455-5411) at least one to two weeks prior for bookings.

Located 20 minutes away in Mid Beach is the Nobu Hotel Miami Beach. Like other Nobu Hotels, it’s a hotel-within-a-hotel, with this one found inside the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort. Both opened in fall 2016, but the Nobu has 206 guestrooms (including three penthouse suites), a guest-only pool and an art collection curated by Peter Brant of The Brant Foundation. The highlight of the hotel is obviously the Nobu restaurant. Guests can be seated in the main dining room, at the bar / lounge, or in the 10-seat teppanyaki room. Make sure to book at least a day in advance (although sometimes the morning of may suffice if it’s not busy season). There are plenty of appetizing dishes on the menu, but we would opt for the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Black Cod with Miso or the Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly. There is a second restaurant on property called Splash by Malibu Farm. It’s located outdoors, adjacent to the pool. Make sure to visit between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for happy hours.

Nobu Hotel Miami Beach’s Nobu Restaurant has interiors adorned with gold cherry blossom décor, washi paper art and traditional lanterns.

The penthouse suites range from 1,900 to 2,500 square feet and include 80-inch HDTVs, built-in surround sound, walk-in closets, a dining area with a private bar and pantry, and Intracoastal Waterway views; bathrooms include soaking tubs and double vanities. Additional services include private, in-room registration with tea service, a bath ritual by Red Flower, butler service and access to Nobu Hotel’s private pool. We recommend that couples book the Zen Suite with an ocean view. These rooms have a large wraparound balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows. Good to know: The corner suite additionally has a yoga mat, an oversized bath tub and Red Flower bath ritual amenities.

Guests looking for customized experiences, such as a sunset dinner on a private yacht or island with a sea plane transfer, a personal chef at Nobu’s teppanyaki room with a professional photographer or a party in one of Miami’s top nightclubs, may reach out to Head Concierge Sanya Blumberg ([email protected]).

Blumberg also heads up the concierge at Eden Roc Miami Beach. This main property has 415 guestrooms and suites. The most sought-after accommodation is the One Bedroom Suite Ocean Front in the Ocean Tower. This corner suite has a 200-square-foot balcony and a separate living room. Both Julie Vieyto ([email protected]), director of leisure sales, and Jeorge Zepeda ([email protected]), leisure sales manager, are available to handle bookings.

As they do with both restaurants, guests of each hotel have access to Spa Eden Roc. The 22,000-square-foot space has 18 treatment rooms. One of the newest treatments is the Nobu Zen Treatment, which is part of the Nobu Signature Rituals. It offers a tailored approach, where therapists use a combination of massage techniques along with the guest’s preference of aroma oil blend to create a custom treatment addressing each person’s specific needs. Book at least two days in advance.

Seen here is the Zen Suite, which has a large wraparound balcony.

Just up the shore in Boca Raton, are the Boca Raton Resort & Club and Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, separated by five minutes by car. Both are worthy stays but the Boca Beach Club is the more high-end property of the two.

Couples looking to tie the knot will be thrilled with the resort’s extensive wedding arrangements. Deanna DeCraepeo ([email protected]), senior wedding catering sales manager / wedding specialist, can help couples arrange meetings with the resort’s executive chef to create the menu, as well as assist with wedding cake design, floral arrangements and work with the in-house event planning company, Boca by Design, to create a unique event. There are also multiple wedding venues to choose from, including several indoor event spaces, a private beach, the Cloisters garden, the Yacht Club terrace and the pool deck and garden.

Guests heading to the beach should request the Sea Level Experience, which includes king- and queen-sized day beds designed by the Boucher Brothers as well as a personal beach attendant, three daily refreshments, and complimentary hand and foot massages. 

At the Boca Beach Club, there are 212 custom designed guestrooms and suites. The top option is the Oceanfront Suite category, which totals 850 square feet with combined living and dining areas in a beach-style décor. Ask for a room on Floors 3 through 7 — these offer the best views of the ocean. Here, guests will also have access to SeaGrille, a fresh seafood restaurant; Ocean Bar; an ocean view fitness center; a 60,000-square-foot amenity deck with three swimming pools; a half-mile of private beach and poolside cabanas.

The Pool Oasis at Boca Beach Club has three redesigned swimming pools, one of which is seen here.

Note: There are 1,047 rooms between the two properties, meaning there are plenty of options for each type of traveler. At Boca Raton Resort & Club, we suggest the Yacht Club, Cloister or Tower rooms. The Cloister rooms are located in the original 1926 core of the resort with a Spanish-influenced design. Rooms were renovated in 2014 with over $100,000 spent per room. The Tower is a contemporary, 27-story high-rise with views of the water and the golf course. The Yacht Club is located on the Intracoastal Waterway — all rooms are waterfront and have private balconies; guests who book one of these rooms also receive access to the Yacht Club Experience, which includes a private arrival area and champagne welcome, priority dining, VIP shuttles to the boutiques (such as Versace, Gucci, Bvlgari, Cartier, Carolina Herrera, Henri Bendel and Tiffany), and access to the adults-only spa pool. 

Families should consider the Boca Bungalows, located at Boca Raton Resort & Club, which have a full kitchen, residential-style accommodations and self-parking. The crème de la crème is the three-bedroom Presidential Penthouse. It has 25-foot ceiling, two levels, a media pit with a projection screen, a full kitchen and bar, formal dining area and grand piano. If you have specific questions about a room or room category, reach out to Marci Ferman ([email protected]), concierge.

Shown here is a Beach Club Standard Room with floor-to-ceiling window.

Boca Beach Club also has its own par-71 golf course totaling 6,253 yards. There is also the Country Club Course, which is host to the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, as well as other exclusive facilities.

Another top feature is the 50,000-square-foot spa with 44 treatment rooms, a ritual bath and palatial gardens. The most requested treatment is the Signature Ritual Bath, which includes anti-aging skincare products that will hydrate and repair you from face to foot. Guests walk away with a take-home gift as well. We’re told that couples should request the “freestyle” massage, which is tailored for each couple. Book any treatments with Spa Director Vanessa Carter ([email protected]). 

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