When it comes to luxurious beachfront hotels, it’s pretty hard to top the stylish high-rises on Miami’s South Beach. Some feature opulent design, impressive art, and significant cultural relevance. Others are centered around a rocking pool scene. And South Beach’s famously restored Art Deco hotels pay homage to the period’s style and sophistication (and draw plenty of tourists too).
But as I learned during a recent visit, none of these hot spots combine the excitement of Miami and the special beauty of the beach with a refreshing environmental and health consciousness quite like the 1 Hotel South Beach. In fact, no other hotel on the beach seems to be as committed to its guests’ overall wellness quite like The 1 either.
However, it was the warm welcome I received at the front desk (after a long day of travel), the lobby’s cool and comfortable vibe, and the sea breeze on the balcony of my ocean-view suite that made the biggest first impressions on me. But that was only because I’d arrived after 11 p.m. and hadn’t had a chance to check out some the hotel’s other wellness-inducing attractions including: its 600 feet of prime Miami beachfront, 110-foot-long pool and hip lounge on the roof, massive fitness center, luxurious spa, and unique dining choices that have been winning raves since this sophisticated hotel opened in 2015.
In fact, the 1 Hotel South Beach is part of a growing family of 1 Hotels (two are already open in New York City and others are soon opening in California, Cabo, and Sanya, China) that were founded to not only help guests enjoy the beauty and restorative power of nature but also safeguard the environment and bring people together in healthy ways too. Yes, these lofty goals are more easily said than done—but they’re really doing it. Public spaces are filled with thousands of soothing and artfully placed plants and flowers and reclaimed wood. Even the clothes hangers are made from 100 percent post-consumer waste. Everything from the large-scale recycling and energy conservation programs to the filtered water dispensers in each room that make a serious dent in the hotel’s plastic bottle consumption are designed to be good for guests as well as the environment.
I can honestly say that spending time in a hotel that’s working to address environmental challenges (in a very cool, non-preachy way) made sleeping in my 1,000-square-foot ocean view suite (with an organic cotton king-size mattress and organic sheets) even better. Everything else—from the private balcony and spacious living area to the full-service mini-kitchen with healthy snacks, filtered water dispenser, and real glass glasses and metal silverware—was both luxurious and homey. And while I loved the feeling of escape I enjoyed in my suite, the 1’s beach, pools, healthy food, fitness center, and Bamford Haybarn Spa (in addition to Miami’s rocking night life) beckoned!
The beach pretty much speaks for itself. Hotel guests get treated to comfortable chairs and umbrellas as well as waiter service and a healthy menu of locally sourced delights. If getting sand between your toes is not your jam, The 1’s pools and private cabanas offer just the right combination of sun, shade, and sand-free swimming. Private Beach Club memberships providing local residents with access to beach and pools are also available.
Meanwhile, the 1’s creative restaurants and bars are the perfect antidote to exclusive hotels that serve nothing but rich dishes that taste and look great but are not as healthy as you’d eat at home. Plnthouse, a restaurant by celebrated plant-based chef Matthew Kenney, specializes in juices, smoothies, and vegetarian dishes. In addition to killer ocean views and a very hip scene on the roof, Watr at the 1 Rooftop serves up Peruvian-influenced Japanese cuisine. Drift in the lobby offers an innovative list of drinks and occasional live music while The Sand Box is the place for a healthy poolside lunch. And Habitat, The 1’s signature restaurant by Chef Jose Mendin, is known for its locally sourced fish, vegetables, and grass-fed meats.
After touring the first-ever Spartan Gym at 1 Hotel South Beach (built in partnership with Spartan Race), I’m pretty sure the founder of this hotel is a badass athlete! And because nothing contributes to overall wellness better that exercise, The 1’s massive fitness center includes not just the innovative, obstacle-laden Spartan Gym but also virtually every type of exercise equipment available today. It also features a 54-bike SoulCycle studio and numerous yoga and meditation classes too.
But let’s face it. What’s the first thing every luxury traveler thinks of when we say “wellness”? That’s right…massage. And as I found out for myself, the 4,500-square-foot Bramford Haybarn Spa will help you recover from the challenges of life with exclusive treatments formulated to restore natural nourishment to the body.
I loved my stay at the 1 South Beach for all the reasons I’ve already described, but maybe the best endorsement I can give this hot place on a very cool stretch of beach is what I didn’t want to do.
I’d come to Miami for its legendary nightlife, but once I’d spent time in the ocean, and in the gym, and in the pool, and at the spa, and at The 1 South Beach’s delicious restaurants, I didn’t really care about Miami’s nightlife anymore.
In fact, I didn’t want to leave the warm embrace of this very special spot hotel.Is there any better praise than that?
Image Credits: The 1 Hotel South Beach.