A lifestyle of luxury blends with coastal elegance at Miami Beach’s most sought-after wellness destination, Acqualina Spa by ESPA.
With a rich, soothing color palette and accents inspired by the sea (like recycled sea glass and mother-of-pearl tiles), the 20,000-square-foot beachfront spa offers a host of curated treatments in rooms overlooking the Atlantic and a private pool deck. In short, it’s the ideal setting for a coastal wellness weekend.
Spa Operations Manager Kim Cooke describes the Forbes five-star spa perfectly (“We are an ocean sanctuary”) and offers her itinerary for a 72-hour wellness getaway at Acqualina:
Sunrise yoga on the oceanfront lawn is the perfect way to begin your retreat. Calm your mind and stretch your body with the stunning backdrop of Miami Beach in preparation for your spa journey. (Specialized yoga classes, such as Budokon yoga—combining yoga and martial arts—can also be arranged throughout your stay.)
When you are ready to enter the spa, a welcoming herbal tea awaits along with a cooling, energized hand towel infused with English peppermint. The time of your signature ESPA treatment is approaching, but before you begin, indulge in the Experience Shower and spend some time by the Himalayan Salt Wall. The salt exudes detoxifying negative ions that naturally purify the air, leaving you with a stress-melting sense of relaxation and increased vitality.
Opt for a healthy spa Bento Box for lunch. Designed to complement the wellness experience, the nutritious-yet-flavorful meal includes a kale salad, tabbouleh, tropical fruit salad, the entrée of your choice (the most popular being the wok charred salmon), and a refreshing juice, tea, or elixir to soothe mind and body.
Your afternoon treatment, Ama Releasing Abhyanga, is the spa’s most popular signature ESPA treatment and Kim’s number one choice too. “This is one of my favorite treatments to perform as well as receive,” she says, adding, “I believe in head-to-toe pampering.”
The one-hour-and-fifty-minute Ayurvedic experience begins with a welcoming foot ritual, which is followed by a consultation to assess your individual needs. Afterward, luxuriate in a salt and oil scrub to remove dead skin and recharge your aura, then a facial cleanse, Abhyanga massage, and signature scalp massage known as Shirodhara. Unlike Thai massage, which focuses on the zen lines, or acupuncture and acupressure that use the meridians, Kim says of the massage, “We are actually working with marma points to release blockages of energy. We work circularly with very specific movements, long linear strokes. We’re taking the energy out and putting positive energy back in.”
Dinner takes you to AQ by Acqualina, the resort’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with an exquisite menu by Il Mulino New York. Dine on fresh mussels in Fra Diavolo to start, then enjoy Chicken Paillard or grilled shrimp scampi on the oceanfront veranda.
Your second day at Acqualina begins with guided meditation in view of the Atlantic. Arrange a session on the spa pool deck or lawn to begin your day mindfully and with intention.
Afterward, the Crystal Steam Room and the Finnish sauna each set the stage for relaxation and detoxification. Designed to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual energies, the eucalyptus-scented Crystal Steam Room uses LED light chromotherapy to cast colors based on the chakra, which enhances the mood.
Melt into the rounded, ergonomically correct benches that surround the clear quartz crystal at the center of the room, and enjoy a glass of refreshing cucumber or strawberry and orange fruit water. When you are ready, the nearby ice fountain provides a soothing place to cool down.
For your Bento Box meal, Kim recommends switching things up with her favorite entrée: freshly caught, seared tuna.
As the sky turns shades of orange and crimson, head outdoors for an oceanfront Thai massage. While stretching your body on your own has innumerable benefits, having someone else assist you with a combination of gentle rocking and rhythmic acupressure can result in even deeper release. “If you do yoga and stretch,” says Kim, “you don’t really push yourself. So it’s good to have someone take it to another level.”
There are a number of healthy dining destinations nearby for an early dinner, including Holi Vegan Kitchen and Eat Green. Kim likes Miami Juice for their smoothies, juices, and menu that focuses on the innate connection between food and health.
On the morning of your departure, schedule a nutrition and detox consultation with one of the talented wellness experts from YOGiiZA. Acqualina Spa’s partner not only offers exceptional yoga and personal training but also customized nutrition recommendations that you can apply to your daily life after your retreat comes to a close.
Spend the rest of your day reveling in the oceanfront ambiance of the private spa pool deck. Take a dip in the pool reserved just for spa guests and the adjacent Roman waterfall Jacuzzi.
With a world-class wellness sanctuary just steps from your lounge chair, à la carte treatments such as facials and manicures (along with signature treatments and ESPA Time, which requires no decisions on your part) are easily accessible, ensuring that you end your Miami Beach retreat feeling truly revitalized.