BY MICHELLE PAYER
Burn those SoFlo vacation calories—while you’re still on the vacation.
It was the stuff of nightmares. As I checked into my Belize to Miami flight, the ticket agent slowly eyeballed me up and down and said, “I’m sorry, we’ve already weighed the plane.” Her smile threw me off. My mind couldn’t process what I’d heard. I thought back to what I had eaten on vacation: lots of fish; a few cocktails. It was a yoga retreat. Wait. What? Is this what happens when you go on vacation? You’re denied boarding when you return?
A few South Florida hotels have answered that question with a resounding, “Not if we can help it.” In one of the country’s most decadent and indulgent destinations, gaining a few pounds after booze-laden brunches, evenings out in five-star restaurants and late nights in seductive lounges is almost a given. But beyond a fitness center and an on-call personal trainer, these hotels are offering workout programs and creative amenities to help keep guests in shape during their head-long dive into hedonistic South Florida.
WHAT: Equally stylish and serious about their workouts, the global team of Chris and Tracie Wright Vlaun, a.k.a. V Art of Wellness, mixes it up seven days a week with one of the largest workout varieties of any hotel. If you can roll out of bed by 10 am for the custom-designed weekly morning fitness series, you’re in for a calorie-burning treat, especially Saturdays with Tracie’s signature Aeroga Beachcross Bootcamp. Using sand as balance and connection to the universe, the hybrid fitness class combines bodyweight conditioning with core work and closes with a “connect” phase of yoga, breath work and light meditation. Classes range from Vinyasa yoga Tuesday and Friday and Sunday’s Aeroga (“designed to help ease post-party pain”) to Thursday’s Blue Aqua Bootcamp, which uses medicine balls, underwater boxing, water springs and core calisthenics in the Confidante pool. One Miami local remarked, “Aqua Bootcamp is the best thing I’ve done since my knee injury.” Calorie burning and therapeutic.
WHERE: 4041 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? Yes
DETAILS: 305.424.1234; email@example.com
WHAT: If you’re ensconced in downtown Miami, dashing between cars and playing Human Frogger on Brickell Avenue could elevate your heart rate, but the sudden adrenaline rush may simply trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response. Instead, the Conrad Miami provides guests with jogging maps and pre-determined two-, four- and six-mile routes that take guests along Biscayne Bay, across historic Rickenbacker Causeway to the barrier island of Key Biscayne, or past Villa Vizcaya to lush Coconut Grove. It’s a tour of the best of Miami’s neighborhoods with bragging rights for anyone who’s otherwise stuck in meetings. Guests who are short on time can request in-room fitness equipment, including sand bells, foam rollers and resistance bands. Download a fitness app and you’re set with a mini-workout to get the blood pumping, or grab a partner for a late-night tennis session on Brickell’s only rooftop courts, which are floodlit at night.
WHERE: 1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? No; guests only
DETAILS: 305.503.6500; conradhotels3.hilton.com
Margaritaville Beach Resort
WHAT: If you’re feeling a little guilty after too many cheeseburgers in paradise, this Hollywood beach resort has a vast array of outdoor water amenities that take guests from pool to ocean to Intracoastal Waterway. The kid in you might gravitate toward the 20-foot water slide (who doesn’t love running up and sliding down like a 5-year-old?), while the more adventurous can try the FlowRider Double surfing simulator. Certified instructors provide free demos and tutorials with each session that start with kneeling on the board to navigate the 30 mph waves, then eventually standing and surfing, which instructors say burns about 56 calories every 15 minutes. Snorkeling equipment is available free of charge to explore off-shore marine life and get a peek at reefs, or for a nature tour like no other, rent one of the hotel’s paddle boards (the watersports team offers instructions for first-timers) and paddle one to two miles on a self-guided excursion, or take a one-hour guided mangrove tour. Every Saturday, the guides lead a “Margaritas and Mangroves” tour that includes margaritas for those old enough to imbibe. Workouts and cocktails—you’re feeling good already.
WHERE: 1111 N Ocean Drive, Hollywood
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? No
DETAILS: 954.874.4444; margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com; FlowRider Double surfing simulator
Faena Miami Beach
WHAT: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 pm (post-nap, pre-party), the ultra-sophisticated five-star Faena hotel teams up with USA Sports Therapy for a high-energy, small group-style oceanview boot camp with workouts that are tailored to individual fitness levels, meaning if you’ve overdone the bingeing and have never taken a boot camp class in your life, this won’t kill you. The trainers alternate fitness stations for a combination of cardio (treadmill and elliptical), lower- and upper-body band work, core training, plyometrics and medicine ball tosses that can burn up to 500 calories per session. Just envision the ball as a fragile martini and you’ll be fine.
WHERE: 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? Yes
DETAILS: 786.655.5570; email SpaMiami@faena.com to book
WHAT: Rooftop yoga or beachside fit camp—or both? If you’re up and lucid Saturday or Sunday at 9 am, Libbyrae Troyer will help detox your body with a gentle Vinyasa Flow yoga session from the hotel’s panoramic rooftop penthouse suite. While gazing at the beach and the city, you’ll work on stability and core strength in a gentle workout that starts with light breathing exercises to open the chest and mind, and moves into soothing poses that burn a surprising 200 to 300 calories in a one-hour session. If you’re a real workout warrior, take the Beachside Fit Camp Thursdays at 6:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:30 am with Byron Rizzi, who shows no mercy in fast, high-energy sessions on the sand. A variety of pummeling workouts including suicide sprints, weight-ball training, push-ups, sit-ups, high-knees squats and other punishing calisthenics designed to burn maximum fat and tone the entire body in one hour. Depending on the intensity of the class, participants can burn from 300 to 500 calories. The Shore Club grants yoga and fit camp participants access to its pool and beach so you can hang out in style until you’re able to walk again.
WHERE: 1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? Yes
DETAILS: 305.695.3100; firstname.lastname@example.org
Vinyasa Flow yoga session from the hotel’s panoramic rooftop penthouse suite.
W South Beach
WHAT: Known as a party stop for celebs and those who like to rub elbows with them, W South Beach launched FUEL, a wellness program led by superstar trainer Simone Cavalletti that features early morning al fresco workouts including Genius Body Work (strength and aerobics), Beach Boot Camp and Sunrise Yoga on the hotel’s beach and oceanfront lawn. If you can’t crawl out of bed before 9 am, try “Swish and Swing,” a name that conjures up dance moves, but comprises private tennis lessons with Uruguayan pro Federico Puntaluba (who played in Wimbledon as a Junior). Burn calories on the basketball court (next to Miami Heat players at times) with famed coach Marcus Griffin, or head to FlyWheel on Purdy Avenue, where W South Beach guests enjoy discounted pricing. If exploring the area or cycling on the sand is your way to sweat off the calories, grab a complimentary Martone bicycle from the front desk. No excuses here.
WHERE: 2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC? No
DETAILS: 305.938-3000; southbeach.com/FUEL