Situated on tiny Belle Isle in Biscayne Bay, The Standard, Miami is an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy playground that fosters stress-free socializing in a tropical, contemporary setting. With a minimalist design, the holistic hydrotherapy spa hotel provides a stylish yet intimate ambience.
Stepping into agua Spa at Mondrian South Beach is like stepping into a canvas: white walls surround white furniture upon white floors. The heat and bustle of the outside world disperses into 4,000 square feet of wide-open spaces. Then a splash of color catches the eye and it becomes apparent that Dutch designer Marcel Wanders didn't leave his canvas bare at all. Speckled throughout are surprisingly fun accents—plants, leaf-green tiles, and entire rooms soaked in lipstick red.
But relaxation is the key at agua Spa. Inside six private rooms, guests enjoy a range of services, from revitalizing facials that use chardonnay grape peels to detoxifying body scrubs with a touch of lavender. And many of these treatments rely on SJAL products—a line used by only a handful of spas across the nation. Yet the certified aestheticians don't just stop at the surface. To ease away worries that the IRS won't believe your dog ate your tax forms, therapists work through nine massage modalities, including their signature Swe-Thai: a blend of Swedish soft strokes and Thai-style joint stretching. Afterwards, guests can head into the adjoining 4.5-star Mondrian South Beach hotel for a dip in the pool.
Rice House of Kabob's signature sumac sauce is known for its versatility—so much so that several customers want to buy it by the gallon. The coveted marinade was invented by Ali Shabani, one of the restaurant's four founding brothers, and seems to complement almost any item on the Persian menu. By seasoning char-grilled chicken, sirloin, shrimp, and vegetables, it serves as one of two constants in the kitchen. The other, of course, is rice—the family describes it on the website as "the world's ultimate comfort food" and lays it as a base for several platters, including housemade falafel and combination meals of ground-sirloin kubideh and charbroiled tenderloin.
From the vegetarian dishes to the pan-seared tilapia wrap, every item is prepped from all-natural ingredients. The culinary team arrives early in the morning to slice the preservative-free eats, which they always cook to order instead of reheating them beneath lamps or the smoldering gaze of Yosemite Sam.
About the Chef
Chef Jimmy Carey, the man responsible for all three Jimmy'z Kitchen locations, has worked in five-star hotels and celebrity-owned hot spots. But his own restaurants are the epitome of casual. Diners order from a counter before asking for a to-go bag or grabbing a table for dinner. Don't let the laidback atmosphere fool you, though. Chef Jimmy's food deserves to be taken seriously.
Here's how critics have praised his menu.
In addition to saying AltaMare has ?the freshest fish in town,? South Beach Magazine, praised owner Claudio Gordano for creating a ?menu that showcases the best catches from local fishing boats intermingled with classic Italian dishes.? Diners can feast on battered local yellow-eye snapper blanketed with cucumber cr?me fra?che or lightly seared wahoo plated with baby artichokes and arugula.
Not to be outdone by the entrees, many of the desserts are creative takes on classic dishes: a ?ceviche? swaps seafood for a m?lange of tropical fruits swimming in citrus dressing, and the deconstructed tiramisu combines mascarpone mousse, ladyfingers, and shots of espresso and Bailey?s.
A man seizes a bottle of liquor by its neck, lifts it off its grooved feet, and hurls it into the air. Eyes forward, he catches it behind his back with his left hand as his right pours the first ingredient in a mixed drink. Off The Hookah's flair bartenders juggle flaming concoctions and fix classic cocktails inside a 14,000-square-foot restaurant with Moroccan décor and cushy beds and couches. After high-fiving the two pharaoh statues stationed by the door, guests can dig into tapas, sushi, and artfully arranged Mediterranean cuisine. Outdoor seating wraps around the entire main hall, providing plush couches from which to exhale hookah fumes and watch mariners tying up their boats or saddling their sharks at the marina. On the weekends, DJs spin Mediterranean, Latin, and American records, while belly dancers undulate around indoor and outdoor areas.