Oh what a marvellous start to the day, here in Four Seasons’ newest luxury hotel, Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Surfside FL. On over eight acres of beach-set land, the hotel is flanked by residential blocks that look sleek as sculptures, new as today and ready for tomorrow. The heart of the whole complex – masterminded by Beirut-born tech and real estate entrepreneur Nadim Ashi – is the 80-year old Surf Club, which still retains an invitation-only club element. By daylight, the hotel’s stunning greenery-filled bar and adjacent restaurant are even more beautiful. Breakfast here is a delight, looking up at the room’s barrel-vault wood ceiling, looking out at the ocean: try a special, say a waffle all’Italiana, with berry syrup, or an egg-white omelette with black truffle.
Outside, the original 1930s corridor, from Collins Avenue running east to the beach-set terrace, is flanked, inside, by ten tall palm trees. Look right, as you walk, out to an enormous banyan tree, that looks centuries old: apparently it was airlifted here only a few months ago (it came in five pieces, which have since been reformed, as a jigsaw). Inside, the rear of the corridor is a photo gallery with over a hundred classic images of all the big celebrities of the past who used to hang out here. The only obvious omission is Sir Winston Churchill who, by some accounts, used to come and paint here. A fascinating book, in all bedrooms, is Assouline’s history of the Club, that I long to read properly on my next visit. But there are also tomes, in the main lobby, on Dior and Valentino and so many others.
One highlight not to be missed is the spa, where treatment rooms look right out to the ocean. Designer Joseph Ditand’s rooms are as white as his hotel bedrooms upstairs – and, as there, he has used travertine everywhere, even wrapping the German massage beds. My Hungarian therapist, who had her own studio in New York before moving here, for the sun and for Four Seasons’ reputation, called on her years of wisdom as she decided on an Austrian product, Susanne Kaufmann, new to me (afterwards at least a couple of people exclaimed at the result). Another highlight was definitely my steak tartare at dinner last night: with its crowning frame of tiny green leaves, it looked a winner and its taste was divine. As was illustrated so perfectly, leaving a luxury hotel feeling better and with a myriad of happy memories indicates the value there is in today’s world of top-end travel.