The Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne sits right on the waterfront. Though it's only 30 minutes from South Florida beach it manages to feel very removed from the Miami bustle, the sea view and tropical accents in the decor lending it an air of the Islands.
Our party were offered glasses of champagne during check in and that pretty much set the tone for the hotel. It's quietly elegant, exclusive yet comfortable.
I had an Oceanfront Room with a King Bed. It ticked every box you’d expect in a luxury hotel; hardwood furniture, mother-of-pearl wall coverings, iPod dock, widescreen TV, marble bathroom and incredible ocean view. The Family Package starts at $299 a night and includes accommodation, $75 daily resort credit and complimentary kids meal items. The Summer Beach Package starts at $269 a night and includes accommodation, internet access and daily use of beach chairs and umbrellas.
The Ritz-Carlton has a range of great eateries. Cioppino is the resort’s signature restaurant and serves up incredibly fresh seafood prepared Tuscan-style in stunning surroundings.
I happened to be staying at the hotel during the Mexican celebration, Cinco de Mayo, and eating at the oceanfront restaurant Cantina was an experience. Along with authentic Mexican fare we had live DJs, stilt-walkers and personalised recommendations from the resident tequilier on which of the 108 tequilas on offer would compliment our meal.
Then there are the oceanview pools. You know you’re in the lap of luxury when you have poolside staff on hand to provide Evian water mists, chilled sunscreen and cold scented hand towels. You can also summon the pool concierge to sort out your dinner reservations or just track down that bestselling novel you vowed to read over the holiday.
The hotel spa overlooks the Atlantic, has 21 treatment rooms and offers 60 treatments many of which use natural blends found in South Florida and the Caribbean. If you fancy a workout, the Wellness centre holds classes on an outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean. You can also sign up for the Atlantic Walk. A breathtaking trek along the beach to the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, approximately three miles there and back. At the lighthouse you’re free to climb the 109 steps to the top where you’ll be rewarded by sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Coconut Grove and South Beach.
The Tennis Centre has 11 courts, all lit at night for evening games. You can sign children as young as three up for tennis camp. If you don’t think tennis will suit the kids, there’s a Ritz Kids program for children aged 5-12 with a ton of activities that can be tailored to suit your brood’s skills and interests including fishing, basketball, pool and beach games and arts and crafts. Full and half day sessions are available.
For some off-resort fun Lincoln road is only a short drive away. It’s a pedestrian mall brimming with unique shops and exciting dining choices. Walking distance from Lincoln road is the famous Ocean Drive.
You can also book a day trip to the Redland Tropical Trail, a cluster of attractions between Miami and the Florida Keys. Off the trail you can visit the Everglades Alligator Farm for a thrilling airboat ride and live shows with alligators and snakes, ($23 adults, $15.50 children). Stop for the best smoothie you’ve ever tasted at the Robert is Here Fruit Stand (trust me, it has to be tried to be believed). Then play with the monkeys at Monkey Jungle, ($29.95 adults, $23.95 children).
Overall Key Biscayne is a wonderfully relaxing place to enjoy a family break. Staying at the Ritz-Carlton just ramps ‘relaxing’ a few notches up to lavish and luxurious.
Miami website www.miamiandbeaches.com
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne
Ritz-Carlton Family Package - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne/Reservations/Packages/Detail/Family_Package_Kids_Dine_Free.htm
Ritz-Carlton Summer Beach Package - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne/Reservations/Packages/Detail/Summer_Beach_Package.htm
Everglades Alligator Farm - http://www.everglades.com/
Robert Is Here - http://www.robertishere.com/xcart/home.php
Monkey Jungle - http://www.monkeyjungle.com/