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Citizen Enfants

A Glamorous Stay In Miami With Kids? Here’s How

Blessed with year-round sunshine, Miami is the perfect destination to escape the winter blues and top up your vitamin D. Here’s how to see Miami with kids, and in style.

While many hotels offer glitz, partying and over-the-top design, if you’re travelling with family in tow, it’s worth looking north of Miami’s bustling South Beach. Here, you’ll find a sleepy little neighbourhood called Surfside, where savvy travellers check into the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club for an altogether more elegant stay that also ticks all the boxes for little ones.

The Vibe

What anchors the experience at this spectacular hotel is the sensitive restoration of the legendary Surf Club itself, a mid-century hotspot founded by the tyre tycoon Harvey Firestone in 1930 that played host to a number of Hollywood greats, including Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra, and was a particular favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill. Guestrooms are now housed within a glittering 12-storey glass tower designed by the architect Richard Meier, but the original Mediterranean Revival clubhouse is still at the heart of the hotel, lending an old Florida glamour to proceedings. From the arched entrance hall known as Peacock Alley, to the breakfast terrace overlooking the pool, interiors feel cinematic yet contemporary. Hotel guests also have access to the property’s 900 feet of quiet seagrass-lined beach, two pools, a spa, a kids’ club and complimentary bikes.

The Rooms

Tones of pale green and neutral form the soothing colour palette in each of the hotel’s 77 light and airy rooms, conceived by the French designer Joseph Dirand (who previously was best-known for the fashionable boutiques he created for the likes of Balmain, Chloé and Givenchy). His brand of modern minimalism works wonderfully, with clever lighting and sumptuous linens elevating a seemingly simple space, and gleaming white marble bathrooms that make you feel like you’re in a private spa. You can also expect travertine swivel tables, fluted cast-plaster walls and built-in banquettes. In the Oceanfront category, floor-to-ceiling windows and glass balconies allow you to gaze out onto the vast expanse of turquoise sea directly in front of the hotel’s private beach – if you’re up early with jet lag you’ll be rewarded with dazzling sunrises best viewed while still tucked up in the cloud-like beds (the electric drapes can be opened at the touch of a button).

The Food + Drink

Poolside restaurant Winston’s on the Beach is a casual but elevated al fresco dining experience, offering salads and pizzas. At night, it’s all about the Champagne Bar and Lido Restaurant, crafted from the hotel’s original ballroom and boasting restored fireplaces, wooden ceilings and dramatic arches. In the former, the star of the show is a stunning green bar made from lava stone, which is surrounded by clusters of comfy seating and giant palm trees, all under the glow of flattering low lighting.

Opt for the brilliant Cocktail Trolley experience and have a bespoke drink made for you tableside by one of the charming barmen, using rare liquors and house-made infusions. At Lido Restaurant, the executive chef Marco Calenzo has brought a slice of genuine Italian cuisine to Miami, albeit one that is enriched with Japanese influences. Dishes such as tonno al tartufo nero, risotto zafferano and homemade pasta all offer bold flavours and delicate presentation, and there’s a raw bar for delicious seafood. There’s an undeniable sense of glamour and fun throughout, and service is impeccable.

The Child’s Play

Arriving at the hotel with a baby in tow? You can expect a thoughtful welcome in your room with amenities that include a travel cot, sachets of pureed food, a baby bath and even a nappy bin – it really makes a huge difference to stress-free travel with tiny ones. A daily Kids for All Seasons programme sees specially trained team members entertaining the youngest members of your party so the grown-ups can enjoy some time to themselves.

The well-stocked kids’ club is as chic as every other part of the property, with terrazzo floors, palm-tree wallpaper and a huge green sofa for lunchtime picnics after arts and crafts sessions. Outside, there is a whole host of games for kids – big and small – to enjoy, including badminton and giant Connect 4, plus baby sunloungers with matching blue and white striped umbrellas.

The To-Do List

No visit to Miami is complete without a stroll down Ocean Drive to see all the art-deco buildings and vintage cars, and to snap a pic outside the Versace Mansion. Afterwards, stop in at Soho Beach House for lunch with the beautiful people at Cecconi’s – think whole burrata, lobster spaghetti and tiramisu washed down with a couple of Aperol Spritz. Another great area to explore is Wynwood, where you should start with coffee and pastries from Zak The Baker and then just walk around admiring all the street art and popping into the trendy boutiques like Frangipani. Visit the Wynwood Walls outdoor exhibition of street art and try your hand at spraying your own masterpiece. Finally, venture out to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for a glimpse at an impressive 1916 waterfront estate home.

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