Miami is all water. Bridges over water, homes on the water, a downtown perched on the water, the South Beach strip bordered on both sides by water — the whole place is aqua central. And, the oddball issue of Miami lodging is that not many hotels give you direct access to water beyond a sardine-sized pool or a walk to a peacock-mating-ground public beach. For those of a certain income who may have enjoyed the pleasure of a rich Uncle’s private waterfront property, you know that a shared pool and a crowded beach isn’t the kind of water access one aspires to — especially when seeking a tropical vacation respite.

The hotel caters to adults, gives private waterfront access, and hosts a clientele whose prime physique complements the scenic views of the Bay.

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach, then, sets itself apart not by fairly rudimentary (if well-curated) accommodations or a wild array of activities (those familiar with The Standard brand know such programmings as hypno-coaching, integrative breathwork or a full-on “future self” academy), but by its convenient availability to the liquid gold of Miami: water. The hotel, formerly the Monterey Motel and then the Lido Spa, sits on Belle Island off the coast of South Beach, and it’s positioned as one giant “V” — a baseball diamond with two buildings running up the first and third baselines. At the outfield fence, there’s a wide boardwalk flanked by a restaurant and a spacious pool. Surrounding the pool, there are deck chairs and lounge couches, and outside of that a giant wall of shrubbery, ensuring privacy. The hotel caters to adults, gives private waterfront access, and hosts a clientele whose prime physique complements the scenic views of the Bay.

Rooms are appointed in resourceful, conversion chic, and the lobby, with its great stained glass wall and ping-pong table is noteworthy without being ostentatious. The spa and wellness center are complementary to a day by the pool, and offer the gamut of experiences — acupuncture, biopuncture, a Banya detox, Turkish-style hamam massage, Thai massage, along with the steam room, sauna, plunge pool, treatment baths, and mud “lounge.” An al fresco restaurant, The Lido, also offers waterfront dining — another rarity in Miami (don’t miss the breakfast tater tots). But these appointments or amenities aren’t the main draw.

What will be remembered back in colder climates is the time spent by the pool, under Floridian sun, secluded on what, by stay’s end, feels like your own private island. That’s what sucks one in and draws one back, like the tide. It’s a weekend escape in a tropical place on American soil with a more-than-suitable waterfront and none of the overbearing glitz of South Beach. Properly enough, the rest of Miami feels far more than a bridge and waterway apart.

Matthew Ankeny

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