Stay here: Epic hotel
A luxury hotel in downtown Miami? No, it's not an oxymoron.
By Leah Jayasanker
The concept: If you're spent with the same old SoBe stay, opt for luxury that's fresh off the waters of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay with a vacay at this 54-story hotel, which is comprised of interiors created by famed L.A. designer Cheryl Rowley. Nestled 16 floors atop sea level sits a massive wrap-around deck with two infinity pools situated aside the hotel's premier dining experience, Area 31. For the boating type, there's a reserved marina for hotel guests to charter direct to-and-from hotel excursions.
The Kimpton Group, which manages the hotel, is a pioneer in the EarthCare program, so eco-certified cleaning products and toiletries are used throughout the hotel. The in-room mini bar is stocked with organic bites and drinks, and guests are given in-room recycling bins and towel and linen reuse elections. To assist with reducing water consumption, there are low-flow toilets, showers and faucets. Effectual lights are installed to minimize energy consumption and dry cleaning is done in an eco-friendly process.
The room: Every guestroom (there are 411 of them) features a private balcony with stunning vistas of the city and bay with the added benefit of floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows. The aura is set with an eco-chic theme, infused with calming earth tones. Tubs are equipped with hydrotherapy air baths and guest accoutrements are provided by Acqua di Parma. For those who entertain relaxation, the hotel's Mind.Body.Spa. program offers several ways to keep well, such as the Yoga Channel on every TV, yoga accessories for use during your stay and in-room spa services. Did we mention the beds are fitted with Frette triple-sheeting? And for folks who run a tad tall, EPIC offers over a dozen guestrooms with super long beds (96 inches) and heightened showerheads.
The amenities (read: furry friends): Never mind the stress of leaving your four-legged pal at home -- EPIC is pet-friendly. Besides food and water bowls, special services such as pawdicures, spa shampoo and dog play are available.
The eats: Area 31 is EPIC's culinary attraction and delivers an extensive Mediterranean-fused menu. The dining area accommodates for 70, includes two private rooms and extends outside. Inside the ambiance is simple and elegant with a palette of patinaed-metal, wood, stone and glass. The players include: Chef John Critchley, Master Sommelier Emily Wines (yes, that's really her last name) and Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout, who makes a mean Epic Sunset (think Campari and orange vodka meets passion fruit). For the VIPs, Chef Critchley will whip up an exclusive meal (La Casita Dinner) for two.
The pampering: Exhale is scheduled to open in summer 2009 and will cater to guests with yoga, proprietary core classes, acupuncture and healing modalities, nutrition and detox programs.
The bottom line: How many Benjamin's did you say? Rooms range from $299 to $479 per night during summer (off-peak) and $399 to $649 in winter season (peak).
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