I headed for the Biltmore on Friday after work, as I figured that everything I was looking for would be at my fingertips at a self-contained resort. Located so near the airport, there would be absolutely no need for a car. I was so right! The weather forecast was a perfect 80 to 90 degrees and sunny. The transfer from Miami International Airport was only 15 minutes to the legendary Biltmore Hotel and Resort in historic Coral Gables. This as my ideal destination to indulge in a sublime solo weekend with me, myself and I. Plus my golf clubs, of course.
Stepping into another era, I loved the soaring ceilings, chandeliers and mahogany birdcages in the lobby. Crawling into bed in my Junior Suite with two plasma televisions was heavenly and I dropped off quickly with dreams of golf, golf, golf on Saturday morning.
My Best Golf Game
A1925 Donald Ross-designed 18-hole, 71-par championship golf club surrounds the property, challenging but not hilly. Just a five minute walk from my hotel room, this is one of the premier resort courses in South Florida. When you are traveling solo, you have a perfect opportunity to work on your swing and improve your game using your own custom-built Total Performance Golf instruction offered at the golf course. The three-dimensional MRI of my swing showed up the exact movements that need improvement and will prove invaluable to me. The 19th Hole Sports Bar and Grill is a fun spot for a light, casual meal where you can chat with other golfers and enjoy Happy Hour.
What a Swimming Pool!
Jump in and see what 750,000 gallons of water feels like. This beautiful pool is the largest hotel pool in the continental US and was once the training ground to Johnny Weissmuller as lifeguard before he went on to win his six Olympic medals and to wow Hollywood as Tarzan. Esther Williams performed her synchronized swimming show at the Biltmore, attracting thousands of spectators from miles around. For me, a good book and light lunch delivered to my private cabana at poolside was sheer indulgence.
After my golf and swimming, before dinner, I headed for the seventh floor Spa. I chose the blissful Signature Chardonnay Massage from more than a dozen options, not to mention a mango manicure and pedicure with deep conditioning paraffin. Divine. I’m thinking that the complimentary yoga class and fitness center workout will just have to wait for Sunday morning.
Jazzy Biltmore Bar
A woman on her own needn’t be concerned about popping downstairs to enjoy a fresh pear martini and live jazz. The Biltmore Bar is small enough with friendly bartenders and I felt completely at ease.
Almost Paris at Palme d’Or
This is South Florida’s top-rated restaurant for food, decor and service. I timed my September visit to take advantage of Miami Spice, a city-wide restaurant promotion which meant that I could sample the set menu at Palme d’Or for just $35. A steal. Many diners start off with Chef Philippe Ruiz’s delicious lobster bisque, which I was tipped off to by the Zagat Restaurant Guide. The dining experience at Palme d’Or may be the closest you can get to Paris on this side of the Atlantic. Impeccable.
Sunday Brunch: an American Tradition
I checked out mid-morning, dropped my bag with the Concierge in the lobby and joined a free historic tour of the hotel. Then, headed downstairs to Fontana Restaurant. This fabulous Sunday Brunch al fresco under pretty umbrellas next to the Roman fountain on the Italianate terrace is a do-not-miss. The buffet spread is of epic proportions featuring Petrossian caviar with all the right trimmings, freshly shucked oysters, king crab legs and jumbo shrimp on ice, ceviche, made-to-order omelettes and crepe stations, a sushi table, a large carvery, Paella, artisan and imported cheeses, salads galore and free-flowing Champagne. There’s more live music and an impressive dessert room with magnificent creations and a chocolate fountain for dipping giant strawberries.
Heading off to Miami International Airport, I was reminded how close it is, yet there are no flight paths over the Biltmore Hotel. A super solo weekend with a perfect combination of golf, exercise, lounging, spa treatments, dining and history that I can recommend to women on their own. Golf can always be replaced by shopping, by the way, the hotel will offer you a free ride to Merrick Village Mall or downtown Miracle Mile!