A Peaceful Miami Resort That Just Happens to Not Be in Miami

A drone image of the beach at acqualina resort

A drone captures the shoreline at Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles, FL.


October 26, 2022

The small barrier island of Sunny Isles Beach is both beach and city, both island and metropolis. It boasts the 14th tallest skyline in the country but offers a two-mile-long sandy beach with 11 parks at 18 beach access points.

In the heart of the island is the luxury beach hotel Acqualina Resort and Spa. The resort is located less than 20 miles from downtown Miami but offers the #1 rated resort experience in the continental USA, a level of excellence the hotel’s team has “worked very hard to achieve and maintain,” says Deborah Yager Fleming, the group’s CEO.

The resort hosts 98 guest rooms and 188 residences on 4.5 beachfront acres. The property is meticulously cared for and feels both calm and spacious. In addition to the beach there are three swimming pools. The hotel has been cleverly created for those who might typically be reluctant to visit anything resort-like, especially one that is kid friendly. Privacy, a sense of calm, and an abundance of spaciousness are found in almost every aspect of the hotel’s design, beginning with the massive suites.

On my visit I found an enormous master bedroom and bathroom, an additional half bath, a gigantic balcony overlooking the ocean, an office, a dining room, and a full kitchen and foyer.

I had breakfast outdoors at Il Mulino followed by a long walk on the sprawling beach and a quick recovery nap in a poolside cabana. A trip to the European Day Spa included a massage followed by time in the Finnish sauna, Himalayan salt and crystal steam room, and finally a dip in the Arctic Ice Fountain.

The spa at Acqualina is massive. It’s so large an attendant shows you around so you don’t get lost. Treatments are personalized and there’s never a feeling of being crowded or rushed, in fact the entire process was so well timed I never saw another guest. After a dip in the private pool I had dinner at the Japanese fusion at Ke-Uh. The food was surprisingly good, and the cocktails were fantastic.