By Michelle Payer
It’s the middle of January and if you’re in most areas of North America or Europe, you’re likely dodging squalls, braving the cold or preparing for another storm front. The mind tends to wander while shoveling snow – to warmth, swaying palms, perhaps an elegant oceanfront dinner. You dream of being guided through Mediterranean Villa-style surroundings, down stone steps, under a canopy of stars. Your toes sink into warm sand, the ocean’s lapping waves play a hypnotic melody as you approach an exquisitely arranged table dusted in white linens as red roses glisten in tiered crystal vases. Candles illuminate the tabletop as pristine surroundings glow in glass lanterns. Your family looks up, smiling, welcoming, beckoning you toward them, glasses of champagne already in hand.
Book the ticket. Rent the car. Thaw out.
What was once reserved almost entirely for special occasions has become the latest trend in pandemic family luxury: socially distanced, al fresco Beachfront Dinners, exclusively for Acqualina Resort guests and residents. With one of the longest stretches of sand in South Florida — doubling in size later this year with The Estates at Acqualina opening – Acqualina Resort nevertheless limits its exclusive dinners to just seven tables per night with a maximum of 10 guests per table, allowing for a minimum 15-foot distance between each.
“I love that these dinners bring people together in such an elegant and meaningful way,” says Sybrandt Windell, Acqualina Resort’s director of food & beverage. “We have father and daughter evenings where dad takes his girls out for a beachfront dinner and multi-generational families celebrating unforgettable birthdays, anniversaries and milestones. Here, you can have a before-dinner sunset walk, an after-dinner stroll under the stars – it’s absolutely magical,” says Windell.
The carefully crafted menu includes a tropical fish ceviche in coconut Leche de Tigre and Caprese Burrata with 12-year mature Modena Balsamic to share, after which guests choose their salads, entrees, desserts, and any special additions, including foie gras, black truffle shavings, fresh oysters and lobster tail. As Acqualina is famed for its customization and personalization, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and gluten-free options are available, and are special requests, including whole lobster and tailored wine pairings. Simply connect with Sybrandt Windell in advance; he waves his magic wand, et voila – nearly anything is possible, including a children’s menu. To keep kids happy, parents have the option of ordering à la carte from the Costa Grill kids menu, with selections including penne pasta and grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli.
“Our beachfront dinners create family memories for life,” says Deborah Yager Fleming, CEO & Partner at Acqualina Resort & Residences. “Nowhere else in South Florida could you have a private beachfront dinner of this caliber in an idyllic setting, with dedicated service that makes you feel like you’re on the Italian Riviera,” she says.
Style, grace and service are hallmarks of these luxurious dinners, in which charmed evenings are never rushed; guests have their tables for an entire evening, with a dedicated server and a chef providing tableside service several times throughout the evening.
Reservations are available from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nearly every night of the week except holidays by phoning the Concierge at 305-918-6860.