By Kathryn Wexler
The lowdown: After sweeping through the grand lobby of The Mandarin Oriental — one of those places that reminds you we live in a big city, not just the subtropics — down the outdoor stairs and into the spa, most visitors will end up in one of the 11 treatment rooms. But if you book a pricier massage, like Thai or shiatsu, they’ll escort you upstairs to one of six newly spiffed-up suites with gorgeous views, private showers and lounging chaises. I’d make the case that these are the VIP suites, but Swedish spa manager Osa Mallo corrects me: "All of our guests are VIPs."
Perks: The hotel has instituted a much more liberal policy for spa-goers than it had last year. Now, booking a service entitles you to use the fitness center and pool, Monday through Thursday, based on availability.
The ‘hood: The Mandarin Oriental is easy to get to, positioned as it is at the entrance of Brickell Key. An efficient valet system whisks away your car. Parking, with spa validation, is normally $8, but is complimentary during the summer.
The vibe: Intimate and serene, decorated with bamboo floors, yellow Spanish marble and rice paper.
The highlights: The Totally Scrumptious Teen Mani or Pedi for 14-year-olds and younger use Raspberry Chocolate Scrub and polish with sparkly gems, $37, or $74 for the combo.
The Ayurvedic Holistic Body Treatment (150 minutes for $290) begins with a ritual foot cleansing, then moves on to a full-body exfoliation, shower and Ayurvedic Marma massage with oils and herbs before concluding with an Oriental head massage.
Mandarin Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Brickell; 305-913-8332