Ready for a weekend getaway? To celebrate our anniversary, my husband whisked me away to Miami (arguably, my favorite city in the country). He chose Grove Isle Hotel & Spa in Coconut Grove, FL, and he couldn’t have picked a better spot. Here’s why:
1. The lobby: Simple, but elegant. Serving more as a pass-through that leads you to a grand view of Biscayne Bay. This thoroughfare also connects the hotel to the parking lot where your chariot awaits to take you off the property. Don’t hop back into your car too soon though. A stay at Grove Isle is like being on a cruise ship. You’ll want to check out all it has to offer, and it has a lot to offer.
2. The rooms: Lovely. And very “old Florida.” French doors open onto a deck that’s just feet away from the Bay. A large bed, sofa, and desk do the trick — because you aren’t going to spend too much time in the room! The closet is fine for a trip for two, but a dresser to store your clothes is placed too far inside the closet. One in the room would be nicer.
As for the basics: There’s a small coffeemaker tucked into the shelving in the bathroom (ask for extra coffee packets when you check in, or bring your own), and there is also a small TV above the toilet (with a remote you can control from the tub). The bidet is welcome (if you haven’t used one before, here’s how.)
Word to the wise: Ask for a room on the second floor or above, where the view is much more grand — unless you want first-floor access to the restaurant and pool area. Plus the first floor offers a small deck outside the room that includes a table and chairs, ideal for sipping coffee and/or cocktails.
3. The restaurants: One grand, albeit spendy, restaurant is on the property. Overlooking the Bay, the best seat in the house is a secluded candlelit table where you can enjoy the bounty with your true love. This could the be most romantic option for a night out in Coconut Grove. A popular bar, which also offers great views, and a fire pit outside, provides grand opportunities for meeting fellow travelers as you while away the evening hours.
There’s also a bar at the pool, and the adorable waiters are happy to cater to your every need. Want a sammie and salad while sitting along the Bay? No problem. Ask for a drink, too. But if you are being careful with your spending, be aware that a glass of wine (not filled to the top, I might add) is $16.44; fortunately the tip is included. Margaritas (my husband’s favorite), and other cocktails, are $12. But no worries. You are on vacation!
4. The extras: The glorious spa and exercise room both have a Bay view. Again, services are pricey, but typical of what you find at many spas (massages start at $120 for 50 minutes, and go to $185 for 80 minutes; add $50 for an in-room or waterside massage). Indonesian and Thai Rituals range from $195-$275; facials range from $75 (for a 25-minute Instant Radiance treatment) to $175 for a Collagen Replenisher. Mani/pedis are $40 and $55, respectively. Facial and body depilation is available as well. Use of the gym comes with the cost of the room.
Plus: Throughout the property are romantic sculptures by Toby Heller, who granted us an interview as our one of our Fine Artist of the Month. Click here to read our Q&A.
5. The service: It’s sweet. Not fantastic. Not overly professional. Not hopping to anticipate your next need. But everyone on the property is nice, accommodating, and honestly trying to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. This isn’t a staff hired to be the New York version of Miami — which, honestly, is a pleasure. The Latin influence makes you take a deep breath and relax. It’s “siesta time”! And their attitude makes all of us uptight Northerners chill out, too!
6. The price: Despite the $16 tab for a half-glass of wine, this place is a steal. Yes, $99 for a mani/pedi is extravagant, as is $16 for a glass of chardonnay. But the room with this crazy Bay view, the luscious pool and hot tub, and the isolated bliss you feel just 10 minutes from wild and wonderful downtown Miami are worth the price of admission.
7. Advice for other guests: This hotel is a hot spot for weddings, parties, and corporate shindigs. During our four-day stay, there were two corporate events, three weddings, and four bridal showers — including a masquerade shower that was more like a fashion show. And you know what? It didn’t impose on our visit at all. Sitting quietly by the pool, alongside the Bay, made the events happening a couple of hundred feet away seem as if they were there simply to entertain us.
8. The bottom line: More than worth the money. Rumors abound that this property may be closing in 2015—so stay here while you can!
Inkandescent rating: Five beach chairs out of five to Grove Isle Hotel and Spa!