This post is brought to you by our Travel Partners, Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach.
I have always had the itch the travel. Add a global pandemic that has kept me home with two small children for approximately 1,247 days nonstop… You better believe my travel itch has been insatiable lately!
Pre-pandemic, my husband and I had planned to celebrate his birthday and Father’s Day with a kid-free weekend away. After COVID-19 threw a wrench in everyone’s travel plans we wanted to still make it happen. We knew we needed to make a smart, informed choice when selecting the location for our first getaway post-quarantine.
Our trip was conveniently set to begin just days after Miami resorts began to reopen. We were eager, somewhat anxious, and albeit very excited to see what vacation could look like during a global pandemic. Masked and ready, we ventured over to Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach.
I cannot even begin to explain how amazing our experience was, but here’s my attempt…
Acqualina has been called a seaside haven. A haven it is. From the moment we checked-in until the second we left, we felt like it was a refuge from the outside world. Enter the lobby you feel as though you have stepped into old-world Italian luxury. Frescos and fountains greet you in the main lobby. When you turn the corner you feel the transition to a modern, luxury vibe with Andy Warhol originals paired with chic furniture designs.
With only 98 guest rooms Acqualina has a boutique hotel feel with all the amenities you expect from a Five Star, AAA Five Diamond Resort. (An accolade less than 0.5% of hotels can boast!) The resort was even named #1 Luxury Beachfront Resort in the Continental US by TripAdvisor and we wholeheartedly agree!
One of our favorite things about our stay was how intentional the staff were to remember our names and truly engage with us in an intentional way. No wonder many choose to live at Acqualina! The property is also home to 188 residences with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Estates at Acqualina are currently in pre-construction if you’re looking for luxury living in Sunny Isles.
Acqualina is unlike any other beachfront resort. It’s known for its beautiful green landscape that leads directly to the beach. There’s not a long walk needed in order to get your feet in the sand.
When you exit the lobby you’re literally steps from the beach, three swimming pools, fully equipped cabanas, and Miami’s only restaurant directly adjacent to the beach!
Accommodations: First Class in Every Way
The only reason you would ever need to leave your room at Acqualina is if you wanted to feel the sand between your toes. The rooms are fully equipped with nearly every amenity and luxury you could imagine. Each of the 54 guest rooms and 44 suites offer a spacious floor plan and a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal waterway. (Pro tip: enjoy sleeping in on the amazing luxury bedding but take at least one morning to view the incredible sunrise from your balcony or the couches on the green.)
Our suite had a full gourmet kitchen, half bath, living room, office space with a daybed in addition to the master bedroom and an oversized full bathroom. It is the perfect space to entertain, gather with your family, or just truly unplug and relax.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with a plate of Acqualina cookies and a chocolate cake with a personalized card recognizing my husband’s birthday. It’s the little touches like these that really set Acqualina apart in my opinion. The service was exceptional down to every last detail.
When I say the accommodations are near perfect and you will never want to leave, I mean it. Some people actually never have to leave! Did we mention you can live at Acqualina?
The Acqualina ESPA Spa
In addition to an oceanfront Fitness Center, Acqualina also offers a 20,000 square foot spa. The ESPA spa offers a full range of treatments. They use the highest quality organically grown plant-based products and aromatherapy.
We enjoyed an amazing 1 hour couples massage in the Royal Suite overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Royal Suite also includes a private lounge outfitted by Fendi, steam shower and private balcony.
As part of the COVID-19 precautionary measures, the spa staff wore gloves during our treatment. Certain spaces in the spa were temporarily unavailable including the steam room and sauna. However, the spa treatments and services were still exceptional!
Family Friendly Amenities
We opted to leave the kids at home this trip but we definitely plan to bring them back for our next visit. There are a number of family friendly amenities at Acqualina including: a basketball court, a field for pick-up soccer games, boogie boards for the beach, and access to Balance Strider Bikes for toddlers. This resort is intentionally accommodating to even the tiniest of guests!
Acqualina also offers the AquaMarine Program, an on-site camp for children ages 5-12. Children will learn about marine life in a fun, hands-on, oceanfront environment. The best part, this program is complimentary for families who make an appointment!
Dining at Acqualina
We tested out both restaurants on property at Acqualina as well as the in-room dining and we were pleased with our experiences! Costa Grill is the beachside restaurant perfect for a casual lunch, afternoon drink or early dinner. (We recommend the fish tacos or zucchini pasta with a Mai Tai!)
We chose Costa Grill as the backdrop for our gender reveal with a handful of friends. This restaurant will now always hold a special place in our hearts!
Il Mulino, New York’s most acclaimed Italian restaurant, is available on-site for guests to enjoy a fine dining experience (and a Miami Spice menu!). We can personally vouch for the filet, amatriciana, and the cheesecake — which was so good we ordered two! It was a special evening celebrating my husband’s birthday, Father’s Day, and the upcoming arrival of our baby boy!
Acqualina also offers private dinners on the beach as well as family picnic options.
Unparalled Preparedness & Safety Measures During COVID-19
Travel during these challenging times can feel daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. Do your research and select a resort with safety standards and precautions that will help put your mind at ease. Acqualina exceeded our expectations in every way. I was overly impressed with the actions they are taking to ensure their guests can enjoy a safe and relaxing stay.
Upon arrival they perform non-contact temperature checks on every guest. Any guest who arrives with a fever is not allowed on the property. Masks are required in all common areas and while walking around the property. Masks may be removed when you are seated at a restaurant, poolside, or in your seated in your beach chairs. The staff not only modeled this perfectly (no exposed noses from the Acqualina staff!) but they also graciously enforced this measure when guests did not abide. Additionally, the restaurants and spa staff provide mask trays for guests to place their masks in when they are removed. (No more stuffing your mask in the bottom of your purse!)
Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the resort. Each guest room is equipped with a welcome bag that includes a mask, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer. The TV remote controls in every room are sanitized and wrapped in plastic each day. You can even arrange the exact time of your housekeeping service so as to minimize contact with individuals.
There is also an iPad in every room with access to the Acqualina app. The app allows you to control face-to-face interactions by customizing amenities, booking meal reservations, and even reading the daily newspaper. Their staff are highly trained and have increased their cleanliness protocols to ensure guests are offered the very best in service and quality.
Arrive as Guests, Leave as Family
Acqualina truly raises the bar in every aspect of the guest experience. From chatting with Aliana at the front desk about her family in Puerto Rico to being greeted by Veronica’s kind hellos each time we got off the elevator – the staff began to feel like friends. I told several of the front desk and concierge staff that we felt like we had been with family all weekend. If it weren’t for the social distancing measures (which the staff strictly respects) I would have given at least a half dozen of them a hug when we departed. I remember the names of most of the individuals we made contact with because each interaction was that meaningful and memorable.
In my opinion, exceptional service is the very best amenity any resort can offer. Acqualina scores a 10 out of 10 for hospitality, service, and excellence. We cannot wait to return to this paradise on the beach. In the meantime, we will forever cherish the memories of our mid-pandemic getaway!
If you need me, I’ll be over here asking my husband every day to take me back to Acqualina…
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