The hotel has been a Miami Beach landmark for over half a century, and with its recent facelift and modern amenities, it has tackled the twenty first century head on while still retaining designer Moris Lapidus' most notable features and staying true to the elegance and grandeur of its past. Three of the Fontainebleau's signature restaurants have gained critical acclaim and are considered to be some of the finest in the country, with Scarpetta being one of the city's top favorites for gourmet Italian fare (their spaghetti with tomato and basil truly is an other-wordly experience). Being luxury fine dining establishments, these restaurants are typically not somewhere one would choose to dine on a regular basis. However, from August to September, four of the resort's restaurants are participating in Miami Spice dining program, when one can enjoy a three course dinner for only $39. However, no Fontainebleau experience is complete without a visit to their spa, Lapis, and during the month of August one can enjoy a 50 minute service for only $99, which also includes access to the spa's one-of-a-kind amenities. So, for under $150, the savvy, sophisticated, bon vivant can enjoy a luxurious spa service and an unforgettable gourmet meal all in one day!
Lapis spa is truly a one-of-a-kind establishment, and shortly after the hotel completed its renovation only a few years ago, I was dying to visit and experience its unique amenities and services. I love a good spa service, but I hate to leave a relaxing massage just to get dressed and drive off in my car. For me, a spa day is just that: a full day of relaxation and pampering. With the wide array of water-based amenities that Lapis offers, as well as a relaxing and peaceful environment, Lapis is a haven where I can spend a full day to relax and renew. All the staff is friendly and seems genuinely happy to have you as their guest, from the moment you check in at the front desk to the moment that you return your robe and slippers. I was instantly disarmed by their casual demeanor and warm smiles, as opposed to the yoga instructor voices and faraway looks that I'm used to at other spas, and I quickly became aware that everyone at Lapis is there to make you feel comfortable and at home. This is their spa, and you are their not only their guest, but their friend. This aspect of the service at Lapis is particularly great if you are a first time spa-goer, as any initial spa experience can be a little intimidating.
I was shown around by a very friendly and convivial spa attendant who explained things to me as a friend would, telling me what he thought was most enjoyable, as well as some interesting and cool little tidbits about the facilities and amenities that the spa offers. I was shown my locker and instructed on how to enter in my own personal code to lock and unlock it, which I was thrilled about because one of the most annoying things about going to a spa is having to carry around a key wherever you go. It was so refreshing to know that all I had to do to get something from my locker was enter a 4-digit code that I created. After showering and changing into my swimsuit, I put on the robe and slippers that are provided in each locker and proceded through the men's relaxation lounge, past a table of fruit-infused water, sliced fruit, cups of granola, and hot teas, to the men's wet area. Lapis has a men's and women's wet area, as well as a coed area centered around a mineral pool. The men's wet area has high ceilings, unpolished grey marble floors, and smooth white marble covering the walls. Along one side of the room is a row of marble lounges covered in cushions lining a wall of windows that are frosted halfway up to allow just enough sunlight to brighten the room naturally. In the middle of the room is a small heated pool with gentle jets of water that lightly massage your neck and back. I headed straight for the steam room, which is expansive and completely covered with frosted blue glass mosaic tiles that, along with the steam, give the room an underwater effect. The eucalyptus-infused steam cleared my lungs and opened up my pores, but after a while the heat became a little too much. Luckily, there is a separate little room within the steam room with an "energy deluge shower" where a torrent of cool water drenches your body and cools you down enough for a second round of steaming.
After enjoying the "eucalyptus infusion steam" for a few minutes, I took a walk through the "elements rain tunnel" which is kind of like a car wash for the body consisting of a passageway of about fifteen feet where you are continuously showered with streams of water at varying temperatures and intensities. This is one of Lapis' "rituals" that you would want to experience again and again. It feels particularly delicious slowly walking through with the palms of your hands turned upwards. After going through the rain tunnel several times - quickly, slowly, forwards, and backwards - one of the spa attendants came to inform me that it was time for my treatment, so I dried off and waited in the relaxation lounge before being taken in an elevator to the treatment lounge on the second level of the spa.
Now, I am one who regularly follows the principle of CTM (Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize), and I exfoliate several times a week. Nevertheless, to keep a flawless face, it is always essential to get a good facial from time to time, and by the time I arrived at Lapis, I was long overdue. I knew I was in the right hands when my aesthetician for that afternoon, Christina, arrived flaunting a flawless visage, which is always a good sign in someone about to give you a facial. Christina led me down several hallways into a room dimly lit by a soothing blue light and instructed me to disrobe and lay down on the treatment bed under the sheet. After she left the room to give me privacy, I hung up my robe on a heated metal rack and did as she instructed me to do. The treatment bed was heated and contoured and was indescribably comfortable and soothing. Christina came back inside the room, turned on a bright light to do a quick assessment of my skin and problem areas, turned the lights back down and quickly went to work. She began with a gel cleanser and then proceded to a citrus astrigent that felt wonderfully tingly, and after wiping that away, she applied a mist of herbal toner that smelled of lavender. She then applied the customary steam, and while the pores were opening up on my face, she gently massages my shoulders and scalp. Then it was time for the extraction, which is usually the most unpleasant part of a facial. However, Christina was quick and methodical, and before I had enough time to flinch, she was all done. Almost as a reward for undergoing the slight discomfort, she finished the facial by massaging a clay mask onto my freshly extracted skin, and then proceded to give me one of the most relaxing shoulder, arm, and hand massages utilizing a calming lavender-infused oil. After the mask had hardened, she gently removed it with a warm towel, and after what always seems to be too short of a time, she had completed the facial and walked me to the treatment lounge after offering me a glass of fruit-infused water. Of course, the first thing I did was run to a mirror to see Christina's handiwork. The results of a facial can always be a little startling immediately after having one, considering that the skin is still inflamed from all the poking and prodding. However, I was genuinely impressed at her impeccable skill, and my skin felt smoother than it had in quite some time.
I relaxed in the coed pool a bit and took a nap on one of the lounges before experiencing the very popular "bleau rain room", a room consisting of two marble benches on which you lay down and experience a deluge of warm water. The experience is at the same time exhilirating and relaxing, and offers a full body massage that is unlike anything else you'd ever experience. This was just the kind of day that I needed and was only made better by the promise of an incredible meal to come. A full day of indulgence at an affordable price is one of the reasons I love Miami in August, and is definitely one reason to visit the Fontainebleau this month.
4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140