Racking your brain for what to get your Valentine this year? Consider a luxury vacation as a gift, and head to Florida where a bounty of resorts offer unique trips to fit an array of interests — from locations perfect for baseball fans to properties sure to please art lovers, and everything in between. Read on for ideas that will make your loved one see hearts on your next getaway.
Hotel for art lovers
The striking Faena Hotel Miami Beach is the sort of place that must be seen to be believed. From colorful floor-to-ceiling murals painted by Juan Gatti that envelope the dramatic entrance space to the Damien Hirst gilded mastodon sculpture that sparkles against a backdrop of the sea, to two chandeliers designed by Alberto Garruti that flicker every time lightning strikes the Argentine pampas — it’s an art lover’s paradise. A blend of glamour and fantasy, the hotel boasts butler service, opulent rooms decorated in red and teal (many of which are ocean-facing), and high-caliber dining options, including Los Fuegos by Argentine grillmaster Francis Mallmann, and Pao by celebrity chef Paul Qui. The hotel even has its own Old Hollywood-style dinner theater, where its weekly dinner show, “C’est Rouge!” incorporates costumes, visuals and music while you enjoy a three-course dinner and libations. And don’t miss the spa, the Tierra Santa Healing House, an otherworldly experience altogether. It features one of the largest hammams, Turkish baths, on the East Coast, and shaman-developed body-healing rituals and treatments.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach is part of a new, larger neighborhood revitalization rooted in art and culture, dubbed the Faena District, which includes the Faena Forum, Bazaar and Park. Allowing for ongoing programming under the direction of the Faena Art organization, the art and entertainment Forum space accommodates everything from a temporary culinary pop-up to a concert, while the Bazaar is a retail experience featuring a mix of brands and experiences from emerging talent and coveted fashion labels.
3201 Collins Ave. 33140. 305-534-8800. www.faena.com/miami-beach/
Kick back and enjoy the barefoot luxury of Cheeca Lodge & Spa, in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, the sport fishing capital of the world. Fishing options here are endless, whether you’re after big game fish in the sea or snook in the backcountry. If you’re adventurous, try snorkeling and scuba excursions, kayaking or windsurfing, among other area activities like a nine-hole golf course, yoga on the beach, tennis or beach cruisers. If relaxation is in order, chill at the spa or lounge in one of the poolside cabanas. Up the romance factor by booking the Seaside Sweethearts Package, which includes champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival, daily breakfast for two, and two Ocean Cocoon signature body treatments for a minimum two-night stay. The package is available through the end of February.
81801 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada. 305-712-7166. www.cheeca.com/
Wellness & fitness
Visit the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, on the Atlantic Ocean, for a wellness-themed trip. Try the paddleboard yoga or go snorkeling and explore the Boiler Wreck, a British steamship that sank more than 100 years ago. Afterward, nourish yourself on the superfood-filled menus and then enjoy a de-stressing massage therapy at the White Orchid Spa, like the Flex-Appeal reflexology session designed to boost your immune system.
3500 Ocean Drive Vero Beach. 772-231-5666. www.verobeachhotelandspa.com/
Fitness junkies might enjoy staying at The Resort on Longboat Key in Sarasota, along the Gulf coast. With sports clubs, a spa and a Mind & Motion Studio, there are plenty of options to get in a workout while having some fun. We recommend starting your day off with the sunrise beach yoga. Golfers can take swings on two courses and tennis lovers can hit the 20 Har-Tru courts. Wrap up the day with outdoor Moonlight Meditations for a holistic wellness and fitness experience.
220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key. 855-314-2619.www.longboatkeyclub.com
Ultimate spa getaway
Debuting in 2014, the re-envisioned Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa boasts guest rooms and suites designed by Jonathan Adler for a sophisticated and playful, fresh new look. The property in the heart of Palm Beach Island offers easy access to the glamour of Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue boutiques and the small-town ambience of Delray Beach. Cultural venues, recreational activities and shopping abound, but that’s only if you can tear yourself away from the resort itself. Two swimming pools, oceanfront cabanas, tennis courts, a fitness center and four restaurants are among the many amenities offered at this luxurious escape.
The real gem is the five-star Eau Spa. The 42,000-square-foot facility is equal parts pampering, rejuvenation and indulgence. The one-of-a-kind personalized spa experience is a welcome departure from more traditional spa experiences. “Spa fairies” welcome you with gourmet cupcakes and chilled champagne. In 19 treatment rooms, partake in beauty and wellness treatments with customized light, aromatherapy and music. Get a mani-pedi in the salon or retreat to the relaxation areas that include private garden villas with alfresco soaking tubs and waterfall showers. Dipping pools, suspended swinging chairs and refreshing cocktails are on tap in the spa’s “Self-Centered Garden.” It’s the ultimate oasis for a spa getaway. eaupalmbeach.com.
100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. 561-533-6000. www.eaupalmbeach.com
Boutique food experience
With just 12 rooms, the Royal Blues Hotel in charming Deerfield Beach is a true boutique experience. The luxury oceanfront property, which happens to be Florida’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel, offers an intimate stay that’s great for foodies (their inventive restaurant, Chanson, is worth a try). Take advantage of the Blues by the Beach package, which includes five-star balcony room service: complete with a “wine + blues five course tasting menu,” where each dish is themed after a famous blues love song, with the added perk of a personal server. You’ll also score room-service breakfast, and pastry chef Stephanie Feldman will send you home with sweet treats and recipes to re-create the culinary magic at home. Rates start at $499 during February. royalblueshotel.com.
45 N.E. 21st Ave., Deerfield Beach. 954-857-2929. www.royalblueshotel.com
Want the feel of the Caribbean without actually leaving the country? Head to Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, off the Florida Keys and only accessible by boat or seaplane. With no phones and no TVs, you can truly unplug (yes, you CAN live without your iPhone—we dare you to try it!) This secluded resort of air-conditioned, thatched-roof bungalows encourages romance and relaxation. And there are no kids allowed under 16, just fyi. Add a spa, pool and full meal plan options, and this private island resort leaves little to want. It offers a host of over-the-top special packages, complete with yacht transfers, spa credits, champagne, snorkeling excursions and more. The best part? You don’t even need a passport.
On Florida’s Gulf Coast, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples is a go-to location for beach-loving golfers. The resort has an 18-hole, par 72 Robert Cupp-designed course with a natural look and challenging yet approachable holes. The private, lush fairways feature rolling hills and greens that wind around 14 lakes and water features. (Not into golf? The spa or beach butler service are enticing alternatives.) Book the Noble Adventures Package, an inclusive three-night package that includes two rounds of golf, a beach dinner, couples massage, private cabana with champagne and oysters, plus a helicopter ride. Not too shabby, right?
9891 Gulf Shore Dr., Naples. 239-597-3123. www.laplayaresort.com
Warm wood tones, plush furnishings and a piano welcome you to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The beachfront resort knows how to “put on the Ritz” (pun intended) and exudes old-school charm from the moment you enter its doors. The Ritz’s reputation of excellent service is in full swing here, with friendly and genuine employees that go out of their way to make sure you’re enjoying your stay to the fullest. Take in the coastal views from the casual luxury of your balcony, indulge in a heavenly spa treatment or play 18 holes on the private golf course lined with moss-covered oaks. The location in Amelia Island is prime for eco-tours and taking in nature. Little touches like live music in the lobby bar at night add to the old-school charm. The recently opened new Lobby Bar will be home to a Bourbon and Bon Bons tasting event on Valentine’s Day, featuring a chocolate expert and distiller who will match the choices. The hotel is also offering a Romance Package that includes champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petal turndown on the night of arrival, daily breakfast for two, daily valet parking and a 2 p.m. late checkout.
4750 Amelia Island Pkwy., Amelia Island. 904-277-1100. www.ritzcarlton.com
Baseball fans/laid-back romance
Baseball fans can catch some spring training in action while enjoying some laid-back romance at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. The area has two stadiums where top teams (such as the Cardinals and Marlins) practice before the season kicks off, making it a great escape for your sports-loving hubby (or wife). When you’re not watching a game, rekindle the romance with a scenic stroll through the hotel’s natural dunes, snuggle by the beachside fire pit with a cocktail in hand or take it easy lounging in the new adults-only “hammock garden.”
5 North A1A, Jupiter. 561-746-2511. www.jupiterbeachresort.com
Top-notch service and classic luxury are the hallmarks of The Breakers, a sprawling, glamorous resort in Palm Beach with a storied history dating back to 1896. The grand hotel offers a little something for everyone, from golf, tennis and water sports to a luxe spa, four shimmering pools and a plethora of restaurants. The wide array of activities and amenities makes The Breakers as easily suited for a couples’ getaway as a family trip. If you want to take the romance up a notch, reserve one of the poolside private bungalows, each of which comes with comfy furniture, a flat screen TV, bathroom, and food and drink service, among other perks. Then cap off the day with a sunset catamaran cruise.
One South County Rd., Palm Beach. 877-724-3188. www.thebreakers.com
Trip for the whole family
Located just a quick six-hour drive from Atlanta in the Florida panhandle in Destin, The Henderson is a great locale to bring the whole family for a getaway since there’s no need for plane tickets. Add to that the white sand beach, turquoise waters and a “Kids Eat Free” package and you have the recipe for a chill family vacation that’s luxe without getting too crazy. The package includes a double queen room with balcony, valet parking, bicycles, beach sets, breakfast and Kids Camp (called Poppy’s Kids Club) — so you can still have some adult time while the kids have fun. And like the package name suggests, kids eat free when ordering off the kids’ menu. Rates for the package start at $330.
200 Henderson Resort Way, Destin. 855-741-2777. www.hendersonbeachresort.com