Whether you call it Saint Valentine’s Day, Feast of Saint Valentine or just plain Valentine’s Day, the annual love fest is right around the corner. Celebrated by millions on February 14, the most popular day for a wedding or a romantic tryst is big business worldwide.
Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards with chocolates and red roses a close second, however, savvy couples know a weekend away from the fray is the best way to rekindle the spark.
No doubt the hippest neighborhood in Miami, South Beach or SoBe as the locals call it, sits pretty between Biscayne Bay and the gin-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. An easy cab ride from the airport, it’s chockablock with restaurants, bars, shopping galore and comfy resorts that are rolling out the welcome mat for couples on Valentine’s Day.
The day starts with a delectable stack of Torrejas or Latin-inspired French toast crowned in guava butter and sweet blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Add a cup of oh-so-fabulous espresso and breakfast at the Angler’s Boutique Resort is in South Beach is vacation paradise.
Family-owned and hip without pretension, The Angler’s is a 45-suite resort with a host of romance must-haves like a heated pool with cozy cabanas, beds as soft as talc and the uber-luxe Spa Therapy line of Gilchist & Soames soaps and lotions liberally stocked in every room. For the ultimate chill-out, a ‘Four Hands Massage’ is made for twosomes. “We’ve seen love blossom right here at the resort,” smiles Berit Naatz, sales manager, “I have fond memories of assisting one of our guests to propose to his girlfriend by hiring a plane to fly over our rooftop with a sign that spelled ‘Will you marry me?’ ”
Close to the Miami International Airport, the resort is the top rated TripAdvisor hotel in Miami Beach applauded for its unrivalled service. A concierge checks guests into the room rather than waiting at the front desk, a divine ninety-minute hot stone massage can be enjoyed en suite and Carlos the bartender shakes and stirs magnificent Jalapeno Margaritas with Tanteo Jalapeno tequila, cucumbers, cane sugar and a splash of citrus sour.
The Pool House Villa is swanky on three floors with a rooftop sundeck, living room; gigantic bedroom and bamboo wooden floors that are heaven for tired tootsies. The two-story Manor Villa has a spiral staircase that connects both floors and an outdoor Jacuzzi that is sublime for late-night dips. “We’re an escape from the South Beach party experience,” says James Ayres, general manager and industry veteran who honed his skills at the fabled Ritz-Carlton in nearby Naples, Florida, “I monitor our Trip Advisor comments and reply to all them personally if concerns need to be addressed, although that rarely happens.”
Value for Valentine’s Day
The Valentine’s Day getaway package includes two comfy nights in a Tower Duplex suite with a bubbly outdoor Jacuzzi. Romantic extras include a bottle of vino and chocolate covered strawberries. Created just for Valentine’s Day, the Chef’s menu promises to be a showstopper with dishes like grilled octopus ceviche and Key Lime Pie with white chocolate mousse and cinnamon cookie crumbs.
Romance year round at The Angler’s tempts with packages “Like A Honeymooner” that includes an en-suite massage and a bottle of bubbly and the “Secret Lovers Celebration” with an ‘intimacy kit’ for couples who plan on spending most of their time indoors. Check out The Angler’s Boutique Resort
A Storied Past
Built in the 1930′s, The Angler’s has been restored to its original splendor with two Mediterranean Revival buildings and two new buildings. Iconic on Washington Avenue, the interior is the creative work of Wallace Tutt, the force behind the Gianni Versace mansion that today is an exclusive ten-room hotel. “The hotel is our love and passion coming to life,” said Marc Lawrence who with his brother Eric owns the hotel, “we look forward to building more hotels and developing exciting new projects.”
From Bogota, Colombia to New York City’s acclaimed Lucy Latin Kitchen, Chef Carlos Torres brings his culinary wizardry to Restaurant 660, the Angler’s funky fusion restaurant. Inspiring with Moroccan décor, dining is suburb outside by candlelight or in the intimate lounge.
A guaranteed couple pleaser, specialties reflect the Chef’s Latin roots like short rib empanadas and El Viejo Burger, a Latin version of the American favorite with caramelized onions and manchego cheese. And on the weekend, brunch with bottomless pitchers of Bacardi Smoothies and Mimosas kick start the day while a guitarist serenades post-Valentine’s Day couples digging into Morning Burritos stuffed with chorizo and salsa.
Out and About
A long-time fence-sitter between the place to party and the place to retire, Miami has emerged as the design capital of the US with its distinctive art deco neighborhoods and retro hotels that are now luxury Inns. For history buffs, the Art Deco Visitor Center offers tours of the neighborhood, Miami Culinary Tours introduces foodies to a delectable array of restaurants, and for fans of the avant-garde, a tour of the graffiti art in the Wynwood neighborhood is an uber-fun way to while away a Miami afternoon.
And for couples already looking for a reason to return to Miami, the Rum Renaissance Festival is liquid pleasure from April 15 to April 21.
Red is for Lovers
A leisurely stroll from the resort, dining at RED, the Steakhouse is gastronomic perfection. From their signature lobster mac and cheese and truffle risotto to steaks prepared to perfection, SoBe’s most exclusive steakhouse will be whipping up a deluxe Valentine’s Day menu guaranteed to tantalize the taste buds. Fresh oysters set the scene while butter-poached Maine lobster or the heart of a rib eye steak says romance like nobody’s business.
For social media savvy couples, the upscale eatery is offering a Facebook contest with the winners going home with a romance package.