Luxury for less: Access top spas and pools for a nominal fee

The spa in The Standard Miami
The spa in The Standard Miami

Visiting Miami Beach on a recessionista's budget doesn't mean you can't enjoy a relaxing soak or a rejuvenating steam at the city's top spas. While most of the smaller Art Deco properties lack certain upscale amenities, a chance to check out the most luxurious spas, pools, and fitness facilities is a lot less money than you might imagine. Dress smart, look the part, and chill with the rich and famous at these three posh destinations.

Good: The Elemis Spa at the Loews Miami Beach features 16 treatment rooms, a rooftop sun deck, a full hair and nail salon and a co-ed Calming Lounge. Open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., the fitness center, Jacuzzi, and steam room are available to day-pass guests for just $20. The Loews Hotel is popular with convention and family travelers, so the pool and beach area can often feel overwhelmed by kids. The Elemis offers an ideal oasis for a few hours of tranquil repose in the heart of busy South Beach. Work out, chill out, or simply perfect your tan at the hotel's St. Moritz Spa Tower.

Better: André Balazs' hotels are always stylish and edgy and the spa at the west side Standard Hotel attracts a deliberately underdressed yoga and granola crowd that includes resort guests, locals who pay to join the beach club, and day-pass members just like you. While most hotel spas can feel a little clinical, the Standard embraces a holistic, communal approach to "do-it-yourself" hydrotherapy. Best of all, this is a relaxing kid-free zone. From anywhere in South Beach, just hop on the 25 cent local shuttle bus and use the garden and pools on weekdays for $15 and weekends for $25, or you can pay $40 to take a yoga class, use the indoor baths, chill by the bayside pool, and work out in the gym.

Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach
Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach

Best: The 40,000-square-foot Lapis Spa & Salon at the big ticket Fontainebleau Resort offers two levels of luxurious pampering including mineral-rich mist, rain, and steam treatments. Thermal therapies combine age-old techniques with ultra modern technology to help you relax, refresh, and renew in an atmosphere that's pure Miami Vice. The $40 day passes to the Lapis Spa also include access to the high tech 5,800-square-foot oceanfront fitness area and all the hotel's breathtaking pools. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

- AdvisorGirl

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