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Pretty Pretty Pugliese

Pretty Pretty Pugliese

Rocco Forte’s newest idyll gathers the ingredients for laid-back luxury.

In the hardscrabble earth of Puglia grows a lifestyle ruled by simplicity. For centuries, the sun and heat here have dictated the architecture and daily rhythms. Meanwhile, necessity nurtured the food and spirit of hospitality. Today, from these austere traditions, Rocco Forte Hotels’ Masseria Torre Maizza casts light on a modern kind of luxury—free from distracting adornment and confining ritual—that lets the goodness of essential ingredients shine through.

Down a chalky road hemmed by stacked stone walls and stands of 700-year-old olive trees sits Masseria Torre Maizza. Part plantation, part fortress, masserie have a particular local pragmatism that combines a lord’s luxury with a farmer’s frugality and a soldier’s sobriety. Masseria Torre Maizza, opened in April as Rocco Forte’s twelfth hotel, is no exception.

The 16th century villa forms a citadel over the forecourt, and grapevine-laced pergolas surround a large pool behind. Beyond, an arched gate leads to a garrison of rooms reaching toward the Adriatic across a landscape softened by ponds and putting greens. Crisp and relaxed, the forty rooms range from breezy ocean-view doubles to sprawling suites with private gardens and plunge pools. Stone floors and vaulted ceilings, tailored linen, handcrafted ceramics and pops of sun-bleached color tame the modernist take on traditional furnishings.

Sensuous essential

As farmers and fishermen the Pugliese were never rich, but always knew their ingredients. This created Puglia’s cucina povera, “poor food”, which says more about its simplicity than its paucity. At Carosello, the hotel’s destination restaurant, dine on reinvented local classics featuring exquisite quality and ingenuity: like the olive oil that is Puglia’s green gold, or its burrata enriched with oozing buffalo cream, or shells of orechiette made with grano arso—burnt grains, once a field scrap, now a delicacy—sautéed with rapini leaves or chickpeas echoing Arab influences from centuries ago.

When the sounds of wind and sea and songbirds beckon outdoors, Torre Maizza’s spa offers a wellness program, including yoga or body and facial treatments in the gardens using olive oil, and sea salt and apricot scrubs. Excursions go even further: just a few miles down the road to the hotel’s private beach club, or on an exclusive mini-cruise to nearby fishing towns and swimming spots. In Alberobello discover Puglia’s UNESCO-listed trove of beehive-shaped trulli homes, and learn about and how to make the region’s ceramics, jewelry, olive oil, wines, pasta and other foods.

Luxury, you see, is easy.

 

Seeking Wellness in Austin

Seeking Wellness in Austin

Miraval’s newest resort and spa takes relaxation and reconnection to a whole new level

The world feels frenetic, people are too connected to their phones, and friends barely have enough time to catch up over coffee, let alone to spend a few days together really reconnecting. You’ve heard it all before. Let us offer a new antidote: Miraval Austin, the newest resort and spa from the renowned wellness brand, which joins the Tucson flagship as a top destination for wellness warriors.

CELL PHONE FREE

About 30 minutes from downtown, Miraval Austin sits on 220 acres near the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, with a view of Lake Travis. “I was immediately impressed by all the beautiful lush green trees and thought it was the perfect setting for a wellness resort,” says Christina, who recently visited with friends Awilda and Debbie for a long weekend of relaxation. “When we pulled up to the arrival area, I loved the use of all the natural woods and the open, airy feeling of the arrival lounge, with the view out onto the hills.”

The three friends each checked into one of the resort’s Hill Country King Suites, which offer king-size beds (“I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud,” says Debbie), an indoor shower—that leads straight to an outdoor shower—and other special touches, like a sound bowl and meditation cushion.

And then they checked their devices at the door: While there are specific spots to power up (and you can use your phone on airplane mode to take pics), the resort is resoundingly cell phone-free. “I loved this! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be—maybe I was at a point in my life where I needed this more than I knew,” says Awilda.

Bonding—35 Feet in the Air

Miraval Austin offers an extensive (and many included-with-your-stay) roster of classes, with a rotating daily schedule. While there, the friends tried a number of these—from yin reiki yoga to a tarot card workshop to floating meditation.

Of the floating meditation class—think meditation meets aerial yoga—Christina says, “You are ensconced in a beautiful lavender silk scarf hanging from the ceiling and you lay down and gently rock in the scarf while you are guided through a meditation that gives you a sense of safety and warmth.”

But the highlight for the trio? Swing and a Prayer, where you’re suspended 35 feet in the air, and then swing down.

“It wasn’t just an adrenaline rush, it was a way to free yourself—to set an intention and choose something to focus on that you need to let go of—and putting the choice and power to let go literally in your hands,” says Christina. “When you are up there, it’s you who makes the decision on when to let go and soar through the air. It gave me such a sense of empowerment and reminded me how strong of a person I am”

And it also offered a bonding moment. “I’m a person who does not hesitate to jump in and get things done,” says Awilda. “But when I was holstered up 35 feet in the sky, let’s just say, I was not releasing the rope to swing down! It took coaching from my support system below, assuring me it would all be ok.”

It was the most memorable part of the weekend for Debbie: “I was really scared and walked away feeling proud, happy, emotional, fulfilled and lighter all at the same time. I highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting the property.”

Treatments and Farm-to-Table Eats

Along with classes and activities, Miraval Austin is home to the 20,000-square-foot Life in Balance Spa, which, while large, still has an intimate, relaxing feel. The friends each tried  different treatments—from Christina’s Jade-Meridian massage, to Awilda’s 100-minute Pradhana Veda Ayurveda treatment (where she fell asleep, it was so relaxing!) to Debbie’s Naga massage, a Miraval exclusive. “I booked this treatment on our last evening at 9 p.m. and floated off to my room for a great night sleep right after,” she says.

But no girls weekend would be complete without some great eats and conversation. The property has three dining options, with all meals and drinks (except wine and alcohol) included. At the signature Hilltop Crossing Kitchen, the food is either local—or comes straight from the resort’s 10-acre Cypress Creek Farm & Ranch. Pro-tip: “I’m a popcorn gal and they had the tastiest herb popcorn that they served in the cafe area, which went perfectly with a glass of wine or cocktail,” says Debbie.

Recharge and reconnect

With so many classes, activities and offerings—there are also culinary classes, horseback riding, wellness counseling and so much more—the resort truly offers a chance to disconnect with the outside world, to recharge with friends, and, most importantly, to reconnect with yourself.

“I feel it’s so important to find time for yourself,” says Debbie. “Practice self-care, self-love and hit that reset button.”

Hong Kong Homecoming

Hong Kong
Homecoming

Rosewood’s new flagship redefines the art of hospitality

The Rosewood Hong Kong hotel opened this year as the brand’s flagship property—its twenty-sixth, including Paris’ famed Hôtel de Crillon, New York’s historic Carlyle, and the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Rosewood first received guests on a private Dallas estate forty years ago. Despite Rosewood’s world renown, Hong Kong still holds special significance for its owners.

FAMILY MATTERS

Sonia Cheng’s family has owned the land at Victoria Dockside for three generations. She remembers pedaling her bicycle along the water here as a little girl, the views across the harbor to Hong Kong Island’s jagged skyscrapers and towering peaks. Long before that, it had been a key shipping terminus and railhead on the mainland, until Cheng’s family turned the centrally located promontory into a park and cultural center. So there’s a particular tenderness to her voice as she describes their newest venture here.

“With Hong Kong evolving from a business and financial center to becoming a true global cultural capital,” says Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, “I wanted to create an iconic property that not only showcases the city’s rich history but also reflects its bright future.”

At the epicenter of Kowloon’s business and entertainment district, the Rosewood Hong Kong is a destination in its own right. A water front promenade designed by the architects behind New York’s High Line connects the hotel to K11 Musea, an innovative office space with high-end retail, dining and art venues designed to lure young creatives. A few steps further lie the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Cultural Center, and the shopping mecca of Canton Road. A few blocks inland, a more local-style business district will satisfy even the hungriest Instagrammer.

Inside, meanwhile, the hotel is a model of Rosewood’s residential approach to luxury and creating “A Sense of Place”. Materials varying between mineral tones and metallics dispel any notion of institutionality. The service is obliging but never obsequious. The experience is more that of a lavish penthouse than a large hotel. And indeed, the Rosewood Residences are designed for extended stays. Guestroom floors greet you at the elevators with spacious salons, where you can relax with a book before retiring to your harbor-view room or gather with friends before going down to dinner. The eight bars and restaurants offer contemporary takes on Cantonese and international flavors, and private rooms for family-style service.

“Rosewood Hong Kong sets bold new benchmarks for design, guest experience, cuisine, and culture,” says Cheng. “Our ambition is to create a new world standard for ultra-luxury hospitality and a focal point of the vibrant Hong Kong lifestyle, reflecting its incredible dynamism, style and diversity.”

 

F1S-Approved Summer Getaways from NYC

There’s nothing better than getting out there and exploring the world. But the world, at least for the moment, has changed—and your travel plans might have changed along with it. But just because your summer trip to Europe or your plans to climb Machu Picchu have been postponed, doesn’t mean you still can’t get out there and explore—now just a bit closer to home.

Domestic travel is at an all-time high. There is a huge demand for villas and private property rentals—both of which F1S advisors are happy to arrange for you—and, as hotels and resorts begin to reopen, a desire to visit local properties for a much-needed change of scenery.

And we couldn’t be more excited for that. Our newest Weekend Away series inspires safe summer travel plans. It will will focus on great properties within driving distance of major U.S. cities, like New York, L.A., and Miami. We launch the series with road trip escapes from the Big Apple Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspiration getaways from the City of Angels and the Beach – Miami Beach that is.

Each place on our list is following extensive safety guidelines, including measures like increased cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing—particularly during activities and with dining—and offering additional hand sanitizers in common areas. Plus, every property has their own specific measures, from new check-in and check-out procedures to protocols like temperature checks and mask requirements. Check the property’s website for a full breakdown, or speak with your advisor.

Mayflower Inn & Spa

Washington, CT

2 hours from NYC

Combine relaxation with outdoor adventure at the iconic Mayflower Inn & Spa in Litchfield County, CT. By day, you’ll be able to explore the hotel’s 58 acres and try your hand at a range of activities—from those that immerse you in nature, like forest bathing or a guided hike, to those that will get you moving, like tennis or kayaking, to those that will help center you, like a private yoga class or meditation. And by night, you can relax in one of the property’s 30 rooms, which include guest rooms with soaking tubs and suites with their own balconies and gas fireplaces. And of course, there’s the spa: At 20,000 square feet, there’s plenty of space to indulge in a massage—like The Mayflower Blend, that features both Swedish and deep tissue techniques—or you can make an appointment to hang by the spa’s pool. Plus, the Inn now has even more options for private dining.

What our advisors say: “I would stay here just to have a treatment at their spa—hands down one of the best in the New England area.” — XX

Gurney’s Montauk

Montauk, NY

2 hours from NYC

With spectacular ocean views, a private beach, and outdoor lobster bakes twice a week throughout the summer, this Montauk hotel makes for an ideal vacation spot. There are lots of different room options, from rooms and suites up through beachfront cottages and a two-bedroom residence with a kitchen and terrace. But they all have one thing in common: A view of the Atlantic. Along with spending time on the beach—check out the made-for-relaxing daybeds at The Beach House (and, of course, the restaurant’s cocktails)—there are activities like tennis and multiple on-site dining options with outdoor seating, including at the resort’s signature Scarpetta Beach restaurant. Also great? The resort has upped its in-room options to feature more food choices, games and activities for kids, and even streaming workouts that you can do before heading out for some time in the sun.

What our advisors say: “Gurney’s is an icon in the Hamptons for a reason. Make sure to grab a drink or a bite to eat at The Beach Club—legendary beachfront dining you can’t find anywhere else in the area.” — XX

Primland

Meadows of Dan, VA

8 hours from NYC

Though it’s a bit further afield, consider making this resort—which is situated on 12,000 acres in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains—your ultimate destination. The outdoor activities alone make the drive worthwhile: Try everything from hiking, biking, and horseback riding to fly fishing, archery, and tomahawk tossing (!), as well as golf and wingshooting. (There’s a max of 9 people per activity.) You can even sleep surrounded by nature in one of the resort’s three secluded treehouses. There are other room options, too, including the Mountain Houses, which can sleep anywhere from 2 to 22 people and come complete with their own kitchens. Be sure to try the Blue Ridge BBQ on weekend evenings, along with multiple other dining choices. Families will appreciate the “Family Fun” program for kids under 12—a chance for parents to visit the on-site spa!—as well as the stargazing observatory.

What our advisors say: “I had a client there for a dad-daughter trip and they raved about the service and said the grounds were amazing. Plus, they were able to spend lots of time in the outdoors.” —Mayla Melo

Shou Sugi Ban House

Water Mill, NY

2.5 hours from NYC

Want to focus on your wellness? This soothing Long Island hotel—which is “inspired by the Japanese principals of wabi-sabi”—offers guest retreats, including the Vitality Immersion and the Signature Reset, both of which are running this summer. In the two-night Vitality Immersion retreat, for instance, specific activities—such as a micronutrients and immunity workshop, tea tasting, and yoga nidra class—are included and, thanks to current protocols, are completely private. You can also choose a Custom Stay and tailor the experience to exactly what you’re looking for. Whichever you choose, you’ll stay in one of the Guest Studios, all of which have patios, gas fireplaces, soaking tubs and the ability to get to the outdoor saltwater pool—plus a table outside each studio for private dining. Not to miss: the outdoor dining options around the property (like in the gardens) and the chef Mads Refslund-made private beach bonfire dinner.

What our advisors say: “This wellness retreat is what we all need in our lives right now. Also an ideal place to do a property buyout just for you and your closest friends.” —XX

Twin Farms

Barnard, VT

5 hours from NYC

*Please note that Vermont requires visitors from certain NY areas to quarantine upon arrival. Click here for the most updated information.

Nestled on 300 acres close to Killington, VT, this hotel was originally the home of author Sinclair Lewis and journalist Dorothy Thompson in the late 1920s—and today features a whole range of unique rooms and activities. Along with the rooms in the Main House, you can book the 2,215-square-foot Studio cottage, which has a hot tub, the 3,350-square-foot, 2-bedroom lodge, which boasts a private patio, or one (or all!) of the four Farmhouse suites, among others. Outdoor activities range from kayaking, paddle boarding, and tennis to biking and hiking 9 miles of trails. Plus, guests can try their hand at bocce and croquet on the lawn—and there are other activities, like picnics, bonfires and garden tours that can be arranged. Don’t miss the daily Cottage Champagne & Canapé service, as well as the additional private dining options. Plus, dogs can stay in select rooms and amenities like treats and blankets are offered.

What our advisors say: “This is the place people retreat to when they just want to escape from it all. I would highly recommend renting the farmhouse—it’s like having the whole place to yourself.” — XX

Duvine Hudson Valley Bike Tour

Amenia, NY

2 hours from NYC

Here’s a totally different idea: Go on a bike tour. Duvine offers bike tours all around the world—including in New York’s Hudson Valley. The four-day and three-night tour starts out at the Troutbeck hotel in Amenia, which will be your home base for the duration of the trip. From there, each day features cycling throughout the area, including Connecticut, with rides ranging from 19 to 48 miles. Stops include local farms, farm stands, and a whiskey and bourbon distillery, among others. All meals are included, as well as specific gear and activities.

What our advisors say: “What a perfect way to explore the Hudson Valley’s beautiful scenery, along with fantastic guides and amazing food. It’s also a perfect way to burn the dreaded quarantine 15!” —XX

Want more ideas?

We love these properties, too:

· Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA; 3 hours from NYC (Opening on July 23, 2020)

· Castile Hill Inn in Newport, RI; 3 hours from NYC

· Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, MD; 3.5 hours from NYC

· Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA; 5 hours from NYC

The Art of Living in Toronto

The Art of Living in Toronto

With its diverse communities, culture and cuisines, a weekend in Toronto is like a quick trip around the world.

Toronto is a city of neighborhoods. And what ties all these communities together is the love of culture. There are amazing galleries, theaters and concert halls celebrating art all over the city. Surrounded by buildings by internationally renowned architects and restaurants run by top chefs, Torontonians have elevated everyday life to an art form. Even jogging past the city’s exceptional outdoor murals and sculptures is an art experience.

Here’s an insider’s guide to nearby neighborhoods that you need to explore in The Six.

THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE

The Shangri-La Hotel is the place to begin any explorations of Toronto because it bridges three dynamic neighborhoods: the Financial District with its towering skyscrapers and five star dining experiences; the Entertainment District, and Queen Street West, a unique shopping and dining strip.

In fact, your first engagement with Toronto’s globally celebrated cultural community begins just outside of the Shangri-La. The exterior of the hotel is home to the iconic sculpture, “Rising”, by Chinese artist, Zang Huan. Bringing the best the world has to offer together is, in fact, the city’s true talent.

After checking into the hotel, you’ll want to check out of your work week with a relaxing afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge. The lobby is a hub where visitors and locals come together to take in daily live music performances played on the custom-made Fazioli Piano. It’s always buzzing, but after a busy work week, it also provides a zen-like sense of home, thanks to paintings by famed Shanghainese artist Wang Xu Yuan.

The Lounge is also home to a rotating exhibition of vintage couture fashions featuring designers such as, Alexander McQueen, YSL, Chanel, Versace and many others.

Performance Art

At night, you want to make the Entertainment district your destination. Take in an early dinner at Kojin from David Chang and Chef Paula Navarrete. Located above Momofuku, this vibrant restaurant serves a Columbian influenced lunch and dinner menu.

Then cross the road to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It is home to the National Ballet Company and the Canadian Opera Company. The opera in particular is known for classic performances done in collaboration with visual and other artists such as performance artist Robert Lepage, director Atom Egoyan, and musician Rufus Wainwright. Just a short walk west down King Street, you can hear the symphony at Roy Thompson Hall. Or stroll over to see some live theatre in the nearby Entertainment District (Elgin and Wintergarden on Yonge Street, or the Royal AlexandraPrincess of Wales, on King).

In warm weather, you can talk about performances while taking in a nightcap on the rooftop bar at Lavelle for a masterpiece of a gin and tonic. Or return to the lobby for a delicious cocktail or two.

Good Morning

Toronto’s many outdoor art installations let you enjoy some inclusive culture while you wake up with a walk, bike, or run. Set your course to take you past the Bentway, the Stackt shipping container market or jog over to the Distillery District for many interactive and experiential installations. The concierge service at the Shangri-La is ultra-connected and can help you make a map of outdoor art (or coffee shops for a post jog pick-me-up.)

After your morning workout, relax with a pre-lunch treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa on the fifth floor of the Shangri-La.

 

Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia

Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia

A Feast for the Eyes and Lips

If you’re traveling to Colombia on business or looking for a unique side trip adventure from Miami, you might opt for Bogota,  a place of dichotomy, where  passionate culture  meets passionate food.  In the central city streets, you’ll find women dressed like supermodels on a runway and men in tailored jackets but also easy trekkers in the greener areas and locals attending church services on Sunday.  Because Bogota is filled with colonial style buildings and  hidden spots, and the geography  is vast (with areas varying in safety)  start your planning through your hotel.

Our top choice for accommodation is the Four Seasons.  Choose the Four Seasons Bogota for impeccable service or the Four Seasons Casa Medina with its romantic gardens, patios, and hanging flora. Perhaps take a night in each location, to experience difference sides of the city.

CHARTING THE COURSE

Once you’ve landed, you can chart your course. You can have the concierge book a taxi straight away to the old center to the Botero Museum — located on a full art block that includes the  Centro Cultural Gabriel Garcia Marquez — and will feed you  a feast for the eyes that will pepper your senses.

An absolute ‘Must See,’ the Museo Botero  features over a hundred works of the artist — considered perhaps the most important Latin American artist of all time and “the most Colombian” — as well as some paintings from Dali, Chagall and French impressionists (208 pieces in all.)  Botero — known for  figurative “oversized” personas in paintings and sculpture, he has often been considered a political artist, showing the state of the common man in his surroundings. However, in press interviews he has countered this,  stating he works intuitively, without preconceived symbolism.  To see such quantity of Botero’s paintings in one space connects the viewer to him on a personal level, for a larger than life experience, seeing Colombia through the eyes of Botero’s personages. Presented with narrators of the place you’re standing in, the art comes to life from the walls.

The magic will stay with you  as you descend back onto the streets at dusk, where you can opt for some local ceviche at Central Cevicheria (camarones y calamares) if you’ve got energy to burn or head back for  more classic fare  — a steak or pasta — at  the Four Seasons Restaurant.

Immersing in the richness of the city

Wake up early the next morning, to take the funicular tram  (10,341 feet)  up Mount Monserrate, the hill — or rather mini mountain — by 9 am or so. It’s a ten minute mount.  You might catch the mass at a church there or walk with the locals through the gardens.  The view of the city below is breathtaking.   (Pro Tip: Stay hydrated, since water evaporates at such high altitudes.)

You’ll be hungry when you get back down the hill to La Candelaria again,  to join  the line at a deceptive but delicious famed hole in the wall called La Puerta Falsa, where you  can indulge in hot rolls, chicken tamales, and hot chocolate before shopping treasures in the numerous side shops.

Local vendors here sell beautiful jewelry and other crafts.  There are “ruanas” — thick often striped ponchos — often created by communities of families over generations and “sombreros veultaios” official Colombian style hats with geometric patterns. They are created by the Zenu tribes in the North but are worn throughout the country.  You might also snag yourself a colorful  “mochila wayuu” or sack like handbag made of wild cotton, maguey, alpis and other natural fibers twisted into “S” and “Z” patterns, in bright tangerine, lemon, cherry and turquoise. Each one takes roughly three weeks to create. There are leak proof “werregue” bowls made from palm trees (and exclusively by women) as well as “guacumayas” baskets, assembled from colorful woven rolls.  Purchases aid residents who rely on such traditional crafts to survive. So you can dress yourself into a rainbow and help people at the same time.

Eating like a Bogotano

Now that you look like a native,  it’s time  to eat like one, starting  with  appetizers —a wonderful creamy burrata at Delucca Restaurante — and crisp white wine.  Or perhaps drinks inside what looks like the inside of a slot machine at Andres Carne de Rez (Chia)  with some tacos at  Cantina y  Punto,  a  laid back Mexican joint.  Or  follow  up with a meal at Club Columbia, where you can taste an array of delectable ceviches, rice  dishes,  chorizo, steaks, and salads. You might want to try  the organic fare of childhood friends Tomas Rueda and Juan Pablo Tomás Rueda (from lamb chops, sausages, asparagus, to artichokes and cheese sauces)  at  Donostia, with its chic black and white decor.  Bistro El Bandido features French fare (grilled prawns, croque monsieur, and coq au vin) as well as live music.  At Salvaje, you’ll feel  as though you’ve gotten lost in a jungle — with wall hanging flora — as you feast on plates of salmon and mushroom fried rice, avocado and cheese  enhanced dishes, and roasted meats.  At the end of your trip, you’ll end up boarding the plane stuffed but happy, just like one of Botero’s muses.

 

Sensory Deco Daydream Miami

Sensory Deco Daydream Miami

Tap into your Inner Design Junkie with All your Senses

When you hear about a weekend in Miami, perhaps neon lights and the pulsating bass of nightclubs come to mind. But there’s another side to Miami — Art Deco history; a science museum; an innovative shopping bazaar; and tasty cuisine — that makes it a sophisticate’s destination — especially for visually oriented travelers. Aside from the beach and bling,  you can curate your own “high/low”  sensory immersion, from lush accommodation to local street tours.  Here’s our prescription for the perfect adventure.

ROMANCING AT THE FAENA

Stay at the stunning Faena Hotel to create  the perfect fantasy fairy tale where, depending on the room — whether sleeping quarters; public areas; verandas overlooking the sea; or poolside — you can mentally imagine yourself in a romantic European daydream to a lavish Turkish caravan. Created by Argentinian real estate developer Alan Faena — with interiors collaborators— costume/set designers Catherine Martin and Baz Luhrmann), cherry red accents everything from  opulent chairs to beach umbrellas.   Once you check in and are greeted by the bronze  Damien Hirst  grab a poolside table  for lunch at Los Fuegos, where you can chose from a selection of tasty selection of fish, meat, salads.

Stimulating the senses in Miami

In the afternoon,  head over to  Wynwood to see art collections starting with the Wynwood Walls   — an incredible outdoor collection of street and graffiti artists including Kenny Scarf, Swoon, Shepard Fairy and others — that was started by developer Tony Goldman a decade ago. Each year, new international art stars are highlighted.  The  displays are free of charge. Seeing them feels like visual skateboarding.

Afterwards, take it indoors to the Rubell Family Collection  Contemporary Arts Foundation — housed in the 45,000 square foot former Drug Enforcement Agency — and you’ll see  the work of  Cindy Sherman, Jean Michel Basquiat,  Kara Walker, Jeff Koons and more up close in the permanent collection, as well as other  temporary exhibits.

In the district itself,  you’ll find folks selling sea shell jewelry and taco trucks on the street. So grab a conch and a snack before heading back to the hotel to indulge in one of the spa treatments at the Tierra Santa Healing House before dinner.    Formulated around South American concepts, in addition to massages and facials, you can opt for  a shamanic healing body ritual.  Think muds, scrubs, stones, sacred oils, and healing butters.

For a luscious first night taste sensation,  eat at Wynwood Kitchen for  latin spiced cuisine — and  for dining within futuristic paintings by Shepard Fairey, Christian Awe, and sculptures by David Benjamin Sherry. Or try  Alter,  for multi coursed, responsibility sourced local dishes.

By the next morning, you’ll be ready to strap on your trainers  for the the  Art Deco Walking Tour. Started by the Miami Design Preservation League, it delves into the history of the hotels dotting  the shoreline that  started as stucco cement apartment houses during the Prohibition Era for working class families.  You can stroll with both locals and tourists and imagine yourself in another era,  perhaps as a player in in one of the gambling houses run by mobsters in the 1940’s.  Al Capone was right at home in Miami Beach, as were working class families who moved into these originally cheap and cheerful apartment houses facing the shoreline.  Later, singer Gloria Estefan bought one of the properties. Fashion designer Gianni Versace had to knock one of the original buildings down to make space for his pool.  While the construction seems deceptively simple, with small windows and often four to six floors, they were modeled on rich movements, including  expressionism of the 1920’s; Cubism; and Bauhaus.

Two post tour options to round out the afternoon are the Perez Art Museum  and  the  Frost Science Museum,  where you can tap your inner child surrounded by  tropical fish and sea horses.  Frost  offers immersion into local sea life  with an aquarium;  a planetarium; and exhibits on evolution from dinosaurs to birds. There are interactive schemes so you can explore the mind/body connection or play engineer for an hour in the design lab.

The Perez Art Museum —  right next to the Frost —  features  local and global artists of the last two centuries  and a sculpture garden.   You can tap  off the zen vibes after a walk in the art and flora, by tasting some of the “poke bowls” — marinated fish and vegetables over rice— at the museum’s cafe that overlooks both the outdoor installations and the water.

If you stay the evening in  the design hood,  try  Joey’s Wynwood — located in the Wynwood Art District — for pastas and speciality pizzas.   Or head back to the Faena Hotel for a late afternoon yoga class at the spa. Indulge in  the cooking of  Paul Qui at PAO restaurant, which features  a fusion of Filipino, French,  Spanish, and Japanese flavors. Then try  the spicy margaritas at the Saxony Bar and catch  live music at the Living Room.