World-Class Golf Courses and Posh Spa Steps from the Beach
Turnberry began on a cocktail napkin. That is, it wasn't always a lush tropical landscape lined with luxury buildings—that was the vision that Donald Soffer had for the place it more than 40 years ago, when it was just a mess of Florida swampland. During the following decades, he helped to develop Turnberry into the town of Aventura, and his flagship resort, Turnberry Isle Miami, became a posh, alluring beach destination. Thanks to its balmy subtropical setting and style it was ranked among the top resorts in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure in 2010.
A carefully preserved 100-year-old banyan tree stands at the centerpiece of this resort, a subtle reminder that you're standing on former swampland. It's indicative of the attention to detail that was paid in the design of Turnberry, which now has 300 acres of gardens. The two world-class golf courses onsite are also fine examples of the overall well-manicured feel of the resort; they were originally designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr.
After a day out on the golf courses, you can rent a waverunner at the nearby beach or get your feet wet in one of the resort's outdoor pools. The laguna pool has a 35-foot water slide and a lazy river. Up in the Turnberry king rooms, you can kick back and relax on your own balcony.
In the tri-level day spa, 21 private treatment rooms are sprawled across a luxurious 25,000-square-foot space that features a spiral staircase beneath a domed skylight. Unwind with an exfoliating foot soak during the classic pedicure ($59), which incorporates orange oil, or enjoy a jasmine-infused Tropical Garden facial ($149).
For dinner, there are numerous dining options onsite. James Beard award–winner Michael Mina oversees the kitchen at BOURBON STEAK which offers wood-fired seafood and succulent cuts of steak. Or sit poolside at Laguna Grill and try a jerk mahi-mahi sandwich. All of the resort's restaurants use fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies grown onsite in the chef's garden, which features pomegranate, fennel, avocadoes, and guava.
Aventura, Florida: Upscale Shopping near Miami's Beach Scene
About a half hour north of Miami on the Intracoastal Waterway, Aventura is an upscale city dotted with outdoor malls and beautifully landscaped public parks. It's close enough to Miami's tourist attractions, but still maintains its own distinct allure. The 2.3 million-square-foot Aventura Mall is a shopping mecca, lined with high-end and designer shops such as Juicy Couture, Nordstrom, and Louis Vuitton.
Just outside Turnberry Isle is the Aventura Circle, which wraps around a network of waterways. You can find numerous people here taking in the scenic views while jogging, biking, or riding a flamingo.
For a change of pace, head south to Miami. With its neon-lit nightclubs and golden beaches, it often seems like the city is perpetually on spring break. But Miami also has an oft-overlooked arts scene. A must-see is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The stately seaside palace boasts 34 rooms decked out with European art and antiques that date as far back as the 15th century. Vizcaya also plays an important role in south Florida's rich Cuban culture; young girls in brightly colored ball gowns often gather there to celebrate their quinceañera.
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