A SOUTH BEACH VALENTINE

Love is in the air in South Beach, Florida. And we’re not just talking about the impending college spring break and its hordes of partying students. South Beach is much more than a mecca for frisky 20 year-olds. Its 12 mile stretch of golden shoreline is a thing of beauty, and with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, and chic oceanfront hotels, South Beach has claimed the title as the hippest spot on the East Coast, drawing its share of beautiful people year round. But along with the hustle and bustle, glitz and glam, South Beach offers a host of romantic retreats and getaways for more discreet romantics.

For quiet cocktails and intimate asides, try any of South Beach’s splendid Hotel Bars. The Setai, for one, on 2001 Collins Avenue, is a meticulously restored art deco landmark, originally built in 1930. Relax with your sweetheart in suede chairs and take in the tranquil, glowing ambience with a glass or two of champagne.

 Or escape to one of South Beach’s world famous spas. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, South Beach (One Lincoln Road) topped Allure magazine’s A-List as the Best Day Spa in Miami. Enjoy an elite menu of La Maison de Beauté Carita treatments alongside extensive European wellness and beauty rituals. Experience a sensuous couple’s massage with chocolate-scented oils, then luxuriate in a frothy bubble bath for two. Top off the session with chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne.

After the rigors of the spa, a refreshment pause at The Delano (1685 Collins Avenue) is in order. This famous art deco hotel features chic, sophisticated rooms with exciting skyline or ocean views. The Rose Bar at the Delano Hotel, which gets its name from the rose-colored upholstered walls, is ideal for sparkling conversation. You’ll feel like a vacationing celebrity.

And a must stop for diehard romantics is Baleen, a seafood emporium in Coconut Grove, hailed by Gourmet magazine as Miami’s “most romantic restaurant.” Indeed, the lobster bisque with lobster & crème fraiche may unite your souls in a state of divine bliss. After dinner, a romantic late night stroll along the beach comes gratis.

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