Tuesday, Sep. 22, 2009

Mandarin Oriental

Besides the Mandarin's trademark luxury Asian touches, the reason to stay here is the view of the downtown Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay. Of course, those views come with a carefully modulated elegance, evident in the design of the curvy white building and the cream-colored marble baths that open onto generous balconies. The Mandarin is located on Brickell Key, a small residential island that has fairly pedestrian condos. Still, it's within walking distance of downtown for business travelers, and has all the advantages of a waterfront resort (making it ideal for singles too). In fact, only in Miami would a Mandarin have a private man-made beach and a weekly Friday night party that rivals the social fray of South Beach. The next day, celebrants can work it all out in the soothing Asian-inspired spa.

Insider Tip: Shop at the new Shanghai Tang outpost in the lobby. It's good for items on the order of silk scarves with jewel-tone flower prints and Chinese fortune sticks, which come inlaid with good-luck charms and packaged in a lacquer box.

Room to Book: A Spa Lifestyle room on the sixth floor, ideal for the stressed, with air-purification systems, yoga mats for in-room meditation and yoga classes, spa cuisine menus, and dumbbell racks.