Booze and boisterous beach behaviour are the traditional ingredients for a spring break in the USA, an annual rite of passage for American college students, who swarm golden strips of sand in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean for the occasion.
However, what are the options in this part of the world for families should a spring break holiday appeal, but living la vida loca (i.e the crazy life) not?
Here’s one that’s extremely enticing – The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach hotel, right on the cusp of where trendy bars and restaurants line Miami Beach’s Art Deco District and where spring break partying can be intense.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach hotel is an enticing option for a spring break in Miami Beach – without the boisterousness. Pictured is the hotel’s inviting pool
Pictured here is the terrace area of the Latin American restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Fuego Y Mar
Upon arriving at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach James was presented with two coconuts (left). A sure sign that paradise was close. Younger guests were welcomed with a chocolate-and-cookie turtle
We headed there in 2021. At the time, mask-enforcing was dropped and the main drag, Ocean Drive, was closed to traffic (it’s now open to one-way traffic), meaning partygoers could spread out. It meant the city was able to hold an even bigger party than in previous years along the neon-light-bathed boulevards.
But just a couple of blocks north at the corner of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue, all was serene and luxurious at The Ritz-Carlton, sparkling from a recent $90million renovation.
The hotel occupies one of the Art Deco buildings Miami is so famous for, with crisp white lines sitting against the clear blue Floridian sky.
The hotel bade my family and me a warm welcome as we arrived for a few days of rest and relaxation. A huge seating area greets guests as they walk into the main entrance with a classic cocktail lounge, the Lapidus Bar, situated at the rear of the lobby.
The Ritz-Carlton occupies one of the Art Deco buildings Miami is so famous for, with crisp white lines sitting against the clear blue Floridian sky
The imposing lobby makes an impressive statement to all guest arriving at the South Beach property
Partying in paradise: Miami Beach, pictured, is a popular pilgrimage for spring breakers
Partygoers (and seagulls) pictured enjoying Miami Beach on the weekend of March 11 this year
Coming of age: Spring break is a rite of passage for college students in America
The 376 guest rooms have all been meticulously designed with hard-wood flooring running throughout. Bathrooms complete with double sinks and marble floors add to the exuberance, and thankfully for this busy period, enhanced soundproofing meant I couldn’t hear a thing from the parties and revelers on the streets outside.
One thing to note is that not all rooms face the ocean. I was actually surprised that my room did not have a balcony nor an ocean view. I was under the impression most rooms in Miami Beach must only face one direction.
I was able to secure a large room, however, and upon weighing up whether I’d have a balcony sea view over the pool and beach or some extra space for a family of four – space won.
Upstairs, the pool area overlooking the Atlantic has plentiful seating – deckchairs and daybeds – and the water is heated to a balmy 90F, so that when you enter, you feel as though you’re getting into the warmest of baths.
The view of Miami Beach from The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, which sits at the corner of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue
Many of the 376 newly renovated guest rooms and suites have ocean views together with a balcony
The Atlantic Ocean is just a few steps away from the rear of hotel, with direct access to the beach and boardwalk
The Miami Beach Architectural District is home to the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world and is a mesmerising neon-lit rainbow of colours in the evening
Early in the morning, South Beach can feel like an abandoned movie set with everyone on the beaches and streets traffic-free
A tree-lined passageway leading to the soft white sands of Miami Beach’s South Beach
While sitting around the pool area, we had lunch brought to our beds, with a mahi mahi sandwich, burger and pizza all served by the friendly staff. Why do all of these food items instantly taste better when sitting by a pool?
The soft white sands of South Beach are just steps away and although the beach is public, guests at the hotel are given two sunbeds and an umbrella as part of their room rate. This is a welcome perk. Some hotels in the area charge between $10-20 for sunbeds on the beach and a little extra should you require an umbrella for shade.
Another benefit is the Club Lounge. It is an additional $100 a day for guests, but it offers culinary delights throughout the day, essentially covering the bulk of all foodstuff while at the property, with a buffet breakfast each morning, snacks and sandwiches served from 11am until after lunch, evening hors d’oeuvres served from 5pm and dinner from 8pm onwards.
On my visits up to the lounge, I would often see the same people sitting in the same chairs as the offerings came and went around them.
One of the colorful lifeguard stations on the sands of Miami Beach’s South Beach
Ritz-Carlton guests are given two sunbeds and an umbrella as part of their room rate
Mouthwatering prospect: This picture shows The Ritz-Carlton’s elegant French bistro, Bagatelle
The luxury hotel’s classic and lavishly furnished cocktail lounge, the Lapidus Bar, which is situated at the rear of the lobby
Some rooms at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach have a view of downtown Miami and spectacular views at sunset
It essentially means you’ll want for nothing while staying at the hotel because the lounge will always have something tasty on offer. The staff will even go out of their way to fetch something extra if what you see is not exactly what you were craving.
If traveling with young children, where mealtimes can be haphazard at the best of times, this is a brilliant perk.
Other dining options at the hotel include elegant French bistro Bagatelle, a beach bar restaurant close to the pool, DiLido Beach Club, and a Latin American restaurant, Fuego Y Mar, where fresh, simple ingredients bring guests flavours from coastal Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia. At night, the restaurant is bathed in a warm, orange glow, making it an invitingly romantic spot to enjoy quality cuisine.
The icing on the Ritz-Carlton cake were the staff, or Ladies and Gentlemen as they liked to call themselves.
It’s a big hotel, yet they make sincere efforts to get to know guests by name, learn their food preferences and generally help make the property the perfect spot to be a spring break party pooper.
Direct flights to Miami are available from the UK with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines. Prices in economy start at £380.
Rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach start from $380/£290 per night.