The Mandarin Oriental does it all and does it the best. And in the bold light of Miami style, the best is a true wonder to behold.
How does one do it the best in a place like Miami? The first step: get your own island. The next step is go almost over the top but, instead of flying into outer space, claim your spot and mark it with a five star spa and a restaurant on a caliber unmatched in service and cuisine.
Luxuriously nestled on the southern tip of a tiny key just off the coast of Downtown Miami, The Mandarin Oriental plays host to Miami’s only 5 star spa. Close enough for a mogul to slip away for a golden therapeutic treatment and still be back to the office to sign the acquisition papers or, better yet, let the concierge messenger the necessary documents to you while you enshroud yourself in the healing powers of the Mandarin’s world class therapists.
The options are plentiful and seem to zero in on exactly what the mind, body and spirit require. Check into the spa and you are welcomed into tranquility. As is true throughout the Mandarin Oriental Hotel line, the staff is ever present yet inconspicuous and always willing to assist with whatever matter requires attention. As if by magic, moments after completing the check in form, you are gently ushered into the men or women’s lounge and provided a beautiful, complimentary, silken toiletry bag with all the essentials.
The true success of The Mandarin Oriental Spa is its untethered allowance for complete relaxation. The lounges are outfitted with anything you would need and then, just through another set of doors, resides meditative quarters for awaiting your therapist.
Before beginning the treatment, your therapist will talk through your physical needs and the particularities to accord a wellness balance. This is true of any high-end spa, but there is something truly unique about the professional expertise and warm sincerity of the therapists that puts you entirely at ease. We recommend you add a body wrap onto your treatment or try one of the signature packages that include one. The wraps draw upon holistic healing arts and a refined understanding of the mineral treatments that will effectively, detoxify and enrich your skin, endowing you with a glow and suppleness that is pure rejuvenation.
What better way to capitalize on the bliss than continue on its path towards an exceptionally sumptuous dinner? Azul, The Mandarin Oriental Miami’s on site restaurant is one of the most indulgent and relaxed dining experiences you will ever be treated to. The gifted skill of Chef Jacob Anaya is clearly apparent in dishes that play on the simple beauty of the freshest ingredients, emphasizing their dramatic depth of flavor with creative flourishes and contrasting pairings that keep your taste buds at rapt attention.
Case in point is the plate of Kusshi Oysters. The simple perfection of the raw crustacean is brought to vivid glory when paired with fresh wasabi, hibiscus granita mignonette, and Asian pear. Follow with the must-have local classic, Florida stone crab, which will spoil you for all others you might try elsewhere. Enormous claws, glistening with fresh steam and cooked to a juicy succulence—you won’t find this type of quality elsewhere, so don’t even bother looking. Just close your eyes and enjoy. You could almost stop there, but why stop when you’re on a winning streak?
Your options are all insanely excellent, and thus, it’s not so much about the right choice as it is about what you fancy in the moment. One must, however, pay dutiful respects to the white truffle risotto. The king on the menu if ever there was one, the Carnaroli rice is creamy but still richly textured in a perfect, savory custard, and the generously strewn white truffles resound in every bite. You will know it’s the king on the menu when you order this dish: it is presented in a ceremonious procession, the likes of which we have rarely seen. The huge, white truffle is brought out by the chef under a gleaming bell jar (you’ll swear there is a spotlight coming from somewhere) and then shaved thickly onto your risotto mere seconds before you will eat it.
There are memorable meals, and then there are the ones you want to live in for a while. This one you might want to settle down into for good.
If only such a thing were possible, you would know it, because the Mandarin Oriental would offer it as an add-on amenity.
Words and photography by Jeffery Owens & Ava Fedorov
*Please note: The menu changes seasonally that the dishes described in this article may no longer be available. It can be guaranteed, however, that the experience (the cuisine and the top-notch service) will be unparalleled, no matter what exquisite dish you find on your menu.