When the Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach hotel opens later this year (2445 Collins Ave.) it will bring a little slice of Bali to our sandy shores. The hotel chain is owned by Singaporean entrepreneur Christina Ong but its roots are in the Indonesian resort town that inspires the property’s spa and food culture. And no where is this more evident than at Parrot Cay by COMO, the “sibling” hotel to the soon-to-open, 74-room Miami branch and its closest neighbor in the Caribbean.
The whitewashed getaway in Turks and Caicos is a 90-minute flight from Miami and then a short ferry ride to the private island. Stars like Bruce Willis and Donna Karan own homes there and even rent them out to Parrot Cay guests (to the tune of $30k a night for Karan’s “Sanctuary"). The main resort is a colonial-style building with verandahs and red-tiled roofs. Beachside villas and two-bedroom homes are also available and come with private pools and butlers.
And while the hotel has all the trappings of a five-star retreat–the mile-long beach with sand as fine as flour, an infinity-edged pool with a gently sloping bottom that is fun for kids and an award-winning spa with a yoga pavilion–what sets this brand is their COMO Shambhala cuisine. Put simply, it’s like having a parallel menu of raw, vegan or healthy alternatives available all the time. This special menu, developed for all nine COMO properties, will be able available at the Miami hotel both at the upscale seafood restaurant and pool bar. And, in some ways, it’s the perfect compromise for those who are dining with companions who have specific dietary needs or who are looking to eat cleanly while on vacation.
“This unique style of cuisine is designed to maximize energy and wellbeing with the use of raw foods rich in living enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals,” explains Parrot Cay COMO Executive Chef, Martin Davies.
The menu features little salt (when necessary, Celtic sea salt is used), no dairy (as an alternative, tofu is blended with aioli to create a yogurt), and unprocessed honey in place of sweeteners. It avoids fats, using organic olive oil instead of butter. Fish is nearly always steamed, and the only meat that appears on the COMO Shambhala menu is organic chicken.
So a dinner at Lotus, which serves Thai and Japanese-focused contemporary Asian, might include a lamb curry for the meat lover and a raw vegan lasagna made with zucchini strips, cashew cheese and pesto off the COMO Shambhala menu for the one looking to cut back. And somehow it all works, even at breakfast where traditional morning staples like French toast with caramelized bananas are offered alongside fresh-pressed juices calibrated to aid digestion or detoxification, like the Electrolite Lemonade made with lemon, pear, ginger, Flaxseed oil and Celtic sea salt.
There is no calorie counting, although dishes are conspicuously light, from the soy bean, pumpkin and Swiss chard patties with tofu aioli and tabouleh salad, to the vegetable hot pot with silken tofu and udon noodles. Desserts include an organic cashew cheesecake with fresh berries. It’s a relaxed and unpretentious approach to healthy living that makes the place so seductive. And potentially indulgent, in the most nourishing of ways.
Some of the offerings at Parrot Cay that we can look forward to at the Miami destination:
•Spacious rooms with adjoining quarters for grandparents or nannies, making this a family-friendly property.
•Complimentary yoga and Pilates classes, plus private instruction and frequent retreats led by world-renowned teachers.
•Asian-inspired spa therapies ranging from body treatments to facials and massages.
•COMO Shambhala menu of raw, vegan and health-conscious dishes.
•A menu of fresh-pressed juices like the Cool Down (watermelon, mint and cucumber) which helps relieve headaches, hydrates and reduces internal heat.
Tip: The resort is celebrating this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month by offering Floridians an exclusive 30 percent off on all bookings during October 2013.