South Florida offers luxury, wellness and experiences

Touring through South Florida was almost an international experience as I explored all the different influences Marriott International has interwoven into their hospitality, culinary and wellness offerings. A true melting pot of culture, wellness and professional amenities, South Florida offers accessible luxury with innovative holistic approaches on the gorgeous Atlantic coast.

Where to Stay

The first destination was Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, where I was taken aback by the Atlantic Ocean’s rolling waves so close to the back of the hotel. Being a West Coast native, the resort provided me with my first opportunity to put my toes in the Atlantic. It was an amazing experience and one I will never forget.

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Less than a half hour from Fort Lauderdale is JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa. Although I am not a golfer, I was amazed at the sophistication and maintenance of the resort’s championship courses. With a pristine and accessible approach to a Miami resort, the spa offers sound baths and features a Banyan tree that is 100 years old in the middle of the property. The natural lighting of the meeting rooms and the water taxis for visitors to navigate around the city demonstrate how South Florida can connect natural paradise with modern professionals.

Read More: Secrets of Green Miami

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

My trip ended on Marco Island at JW Marriott Island Beach Resort. This was one of the most healing destinations I experienced in South Florida with the resort’s shellfish therapy. A beautiful catamaran took the crew across the Gulf of Mexico to an island where thousands of shells wash up on the beach and glitter in the Florida sunshine. We took off our shoes and leisurely walked the soft white sand beach, collecting shells that spoke to us. It was luxury, wellness and team building all in one.


seashell therapy at Marco Island, South Florida

What to Eat

The dinner at Ario, one of the restaurants at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, was an exquisite and sophisticatedly palatable prix fixe menu that excited the sense and pushed all-inclusive resort cuisine to a new frontier. Chef Damian Manfre presented a tray of ingredients he would be using but did not give us a menu. Instead, he described the dishes as they came out—each one more beautiful than the last. The harmony of fine-dining French subtlety and bold Caribbean flavors made for a fusion that perfectly represented Marco Island and South Florida.

Chef Damien Manfre from Ario at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Chef Damian Manfre, Ario, JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

Visitors can immerse themselves in the South Florida vibes with the Barefoot Dining experience at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. The tablescape was beautifully presented on the Florida Coast beach, with attentive staff presenting a series of small plates from the resort’s Sea Level Restaurant. Guests can remove their shoes on the wood walkway before stepping barefoot into their private beach dining experience.

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What to Do

The crashing waves of the South Florida coast and the poetic sentiment of the never-ending Atlantic Ocean create a natural, calming calling to wellness. The spa treatments and outdoor activities are ubiquitous and innovative, with options that range from top-of-the-line gymnasiums to alternative wellness. I had the pleasure of participating in beach yoga at Ford Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. It was a great way to center myself before a day of work and gather a better understanding of the beauty South Florida has to offer.

Beach Yoga

All of these experiences encouraged me to rethink my stress level, take nothing for granted and understand that if I am not my best self or take time to recognize beauty and health, I can not be my best for anybody else.