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