Token babymoon shot, taken beachfront at The Setai
A babymoon? My mother's face looked blank and her eyebrows did an awkward arch upon hearing of our imminent travel plans. Talk to anyone over 60 about this rather new tradition and you're likely to get a similar response. The parenting customs of the GenY's seem to be lost on them, and don't even get my mother started on the push-present. "When you and your siblings were born our push present was a healthy, happy baby!!!"
Perhaps, as my mother claims, we may be a spoiled generation, but I also like to think that there is something to this whole babymoon thing.
In our case, the arrival of baby number two is only a few short months away. Visions of long sleepless nights, piles of dirty diapers, laundry baskets full of tiny onesies and the shrill cries of a newborn haunt our dreams. Having come through the other side (our first son is now two years old), we ask ourselves "are we ready for this?". But I guess that is the beauty of parenthood, it catches you off guard no matter how prepared you think you are.
Hence Mission Miami Moon is hatched!
Thanks to my generous father and our caregiver, my husband and I slip off (childless) into the wee hours of the morning to hop a quick flight to Miami.
Perhaps not the first place that might come to mind for a moon of any sort (honey, baby or otherwise) but proximity and weather made the decision an easy one. Lucky for us, it also provided the opportunity to debunk many of the myths associated with this tropical town.
In under three hours we arrive in Miami from Toronto Pearson and head straight to our first stop, the Soho Beach House. This is exactly the kind of place you want to stay if you're after a chic, understated, but elegant escape from reality. It is the furthest thing from the "other" Miami. The one bachelor party dreams are made of.
The beautiful Soho Beach House Miami lobby and rooftop view
We're too early for check-in, but that's no matter. Our bags are whisked into two beautifully appointed spa change rooms (his and hers), where we are encouraged to make ourselves comfortable and freshen up after the flight. We change into our beach gear and hit the pool for a relaxed south beach style breakfast of acai berry bowls, pillowy croissants and creamy lattes while our bags are stowed.
My only thought at that moment was 'Can this be happening? Uninterrupted time with my man? A day incomplete, utter laziness?' Naked luxury! With our sunbeds prepared by the pool, cold water proffered, a stack of magazines at our disposal, we bliss out for hours on end. At some point we make it the 20 strides down to the beach to enjoy the equally plush beach-side chaises and some floating in the waves (baby loved this). But after an early morning wake-up, a siesta was definitely in order. Our elegant and well appointed room was ready for check-in and so we moved our party of two indoors. What awaited us was a stunning room and huge terrace overlooking the clear, turquoise waters of the Atlantic.
Like all the properties in the Soho House family, it's the little details that make the difference. Take the matter of cocktail hour -- a topic of great importance and debate around the house. A beautiful stocked bar in each room comes complete with fresh citrus, barware, crystal tumblers and all the spirits and accoutrements one might need to produce the perfect martini, Old Fashioned or Manhattan. I obviously couldn't partake in the ritual, but that didn't stop my husband indulging for the both of us.
Soho Beach House Full In-room Bar
A dinner reservation had been made at Cecconis, an outpost of the famous London restaurant by the same name. Modern day Italian, with a varied wine list, impeccable service (hello table side fish filleting) and a magical setting under the stars amidst craggily tropical trees tangled with tiny lights and hanging candles. The meal highlight was the dessert (which we almost turned down - what were we thinking??): A vanilla panna cotta with a cookie crumb base and sea salted caramel top. I knew the baby was enjoying this as much as me judging by his sudden kicks of delight.
The magical Cecconis patio at dusk
After two full mornings of waking up with no alarm (or crying child), we were feeling pretty zen. But since this was a babymoon and relaxation was the name of the game, we hit the Cowshed Spa for his and hers massages. A 60 minute Utterly Gorgeous pre-natal treatment for me and a Cowshed massage for my husband.
The Cowshed couples massage room
Although reluctant to leave the Soho Beach House compound (it truly is an oasis), we hit the town for a romantic dinner. We avoided the main strip full of big name, flashy eateries, instead opting for a local favorite, Mandolin Aegean Bistro in Miami's Design District. A Turkish/Greek melange of flavours and menu items that appear to be popular with young and old. We spot several octogenarians arriving as we leave and many tables were full of hot young couples enjoying a date
night, as well as families with well behaved littles up way past the standard Canadian child bedtime. But that's Miami in a nutshell. The influence of Latin America can be felt and heard throughout your visit in weird and wonderful ways.
It's day 3 and while we're sad to bid adieu to our Soho Beach House ocean view suite, we're very much looking forward to part two of our getaway. A luxurious stay at The Setai, part of The Leading Hotels of the World collection. It is an independently owned and operated property in the heart of Miami's South Beach. A departure from it's neighbouring Art Deco properties to the north and south (all white minimalist temples to the Stark design philosophy), the vibe here is decidedly Balinese with other Asian and south east Asian touches throughout. In fact the beautiful charcoal grey bricks that lay in the lobby were transported from Shanghai which at one time had the largest array of Art Deco buildings in the world.
True five star luxury is a thing of beauty. It's a subtlety that might not be seen but can always be felt. After our short taxi ride from Miami Beach to South Beach we are welcomed by multiple greeters, bellmen and hotel staff who simultaneously whisk away our bags, offer us cool, refreshing towelettes and serve us chilled lemongrass tea. After a quick and intimate check-in (we never have to hover over a desk) we are immediately escorted to our chambers. A teak and onyx suite with an ocean view, a heavenly king bed and delightful details that any tech-obsessed guest would appreciate (remote controlled blackout blinds and my favourite: a Setai app for your phone that allows users to order room service, reserve lounge chairs, make meal reservations and even have espresso's delivered beachside.)
The luxurious swimming pools at The Setai
A babymoon should be all about pampering, and we immediately felt at home in our luxurious cocoon. We staked out a comfortable banquet by one of the three pools, and were immediately introduced to our very own pool concierge, Kim. He brought us plush pool towels, refreshing mineral water mist, chilled water bottles and cool towelettes for when that hot, humid sun became too much.
A beach walk at sunset, cocktails in the courtyard by the sparkling serenity ponds with friends who happened to be in town, followed by a very special dining experience. A table for two, front row, to the open kitchen at The Restaurant, overseen by Executive Chef, Mathias Gervais. Hotel dining doesn't necessarily have the best reputation, but The Setai is in a league of it's own. This was a meal to be remembered for years to come.
The courtyard serenity ponds
After wine (him) and lemonade (her) was served, we kicked things off with a lightly seared fois gras on the planche -- a Mediterranean traditional method of grill that offers the chef the ultimate control in preparing delicate dishes like seafood and the aforementioned fois. Being pregnant and having unique cravings (normally a veggies and fish gal), when it came time to the mains, I opted for the slow braised Pat LaFrieda bone-in spare ribs served with gnocchi and herb crème fraîche. Indulgent? You bet! After I all but licked the remnants of my plate, the chef popped out to ask how I enjoyed my short ribs. "I cooked them in sous-vide for 24 hours" he explained. How does one even respond to such a gratuitous confession? Well, they were the best damn-melt-in-your-mouth ribs I ever had the pleasure of enjoying -- fact! To complete this divine meal I had to order the house made ice cream (a pregnant woman's right)! It was so creamy I imagine it was made from the milk of Guernsey cows who spent their days at pasture listening to Johann Bach. This languorous meal went on for over three hours - with inspiring conversation, romantic lighting and time to devote to each other with no toddler interruptions, well that in itself is a luxury! With full and happy bellies we drifted up to our suite.
Our final morning was spent over a multi-course breakfast at the hotel and poolside soaking up the final hours of Florida sunshine and freedom. We were reluctant to leave the discreet confines of The Setai, but we both agreed that the luxury and pampering we had received made those the perfect note to end our babymoon on.
The pool at the 10,000 sq foot penthouse Ocean Suite
A 2.5 hour flight home felt like a breeze with no toddler to entertain and my husband and I relished our final peaceful moments -- holding hands. If my mother could have seen us then, I think she would have agreed a babymoon was just what the 21st century doctor ordered!
To Book Soho Beach House Miami:
Take advantage of their amazing summer rates and packages. For reservations call 786-507-7904 or email
To Book The Setai:
Be sure to take advantage of their new guest experience, book in at The Ocean Suites at The Setai to enjoy sweeping ocean views and a complimentary 4th night when you book 3.
Click here to book
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