Lounging on one of Fort Lauderdale’s most exclusive beaches, I sip a freshly prepared frozen drink hand-delivered by a beach attendant. In the distance, sailboats slip through turquoise waters as the ocean breeze cools my skin.
After basking in the sun followed by a delicious lunch al fresco, I don a soft robe and indulge in a specialty caviar facial, an opulent beauty treatment used by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Mick Jagger. Nourished, my skin glows.
I am treating myself to a weekend of extravagance at the intimate Lago Mar Resort & Club, a family-owned resort in South Florida that is an international destination of luxury. Lucky for me, it’s just an hour from home.
Nestled between Lake Mayan and the Atlantic Ocean in sunny Fort Lauderdale, this boutique-style resort with European elegance is accessible only to guests and members. Zagat consistently ranks Lago Mar as one of the best resorts, and it has been designated a AAA Four Diamond property.
Every room and suite features a balcony, a flat-screen TV and Tommy Bahama-inspired furnishings. After an attendant valets my car, I pass through the front doors, and though I’ve been here before, the grandeur of the lobby catches my breath. Exquisite mosaics, a brass chandelier and a limestone hearth adorn the atrium.
Immediately, I head to my favorite spot. With 500 feet of golden sand, Lago Mar is home to the largest private beach in Fort Lauderdale. An attendant offers me a towel and sets up my chair.
It’s a gorgeous Florida day, and children build sandcastles on the shore. A waitress comes to my side and takes my order. Minutes later, she returns with my frosty drink. It’s official: I am pampered.
The hours melt away as I soak up the sun’s rays. Hunger sets in, though, and finally I tear myself from this picturesque scene.
On property, Lago Mar offers a multitude of dining options, from gourmet to 24-hour room service. At Acquario, the resort’s signature fine-dining restaurant, Chef Phillip Damien serves up delicacies such as pancetta-wrapped filet mignon, lobster tail with five-cheese truffle sauce and cappuccino mocha cheesecake.
Guests savor coconut shrimp and fresh fish sandwiches at the poolside Promenade Bar, enjoy the view over a hamburger at the Ocean Grill or breeze by the resort’s Soda Shop for an ice cream cone.
I lunch on the scenic Seagrape Terrace, which overlooks a lagoon-style pool. I enjoy jumbo lump crab and langoustine cakes served with lemon lobster sauce and Oriental lime-crusted rare ahi tuna.
Afterward, I contemplate the resort’s many activities and amenities – from tennis and mini-golf to a state-of-the-art fitness center and two pools. I settle on a spa appointment.
Tranquil music and the scent of eucalyptus set the mood at Lago Mar’s full-service spa. I slip into a plush robe and sip fruit-infused ice water in a softly lit room overlooking Lake Mayan.
With six treatment rooms, the 6,000-square-foot spa offers services including seaweed wraps, hot stone massages and manicures. For the ultimate treatment, guests experience a four-handed massage (two massage therapists relieve your stress at the same time) or a treatment in the new couple’s massage room.
For all services, the spa uses Pevonia, an elite line of botanical products from France. I opt for the luxurious, anti-aging caviar facial. Rich with nutrients, caviar helps hydrate, lift and visibly smooth lines – perfect for me, weeks shy of a big birthday. The 75-minute facial includes caviar extract, pearl extract and escutox – known as nature’s alternative to Botox.
My last shred of stress dissolved, the perfect Mother’s Day plan drifts into mind: introduce my fabulous mother to this fabulous experience. This spring, the spa offers specials including a Mother/Daughter package. I make a mental note as the caviar treatment soothes my skin.
Fun in Fort Lauderdale
Face luminescent, I’m ready to hit the city. I take a quick drive to famous Las Olas Boulevard, which is loaded with chic boutiques and cool restaurants.
Here, it’s easy to spend hours strolling the boulevard. I admire one-of-a-kind jewelry at Bijou & Color and a vibrant scarf at Blue.
Along the way, I fall under the spell of Kilwin’s chocolates.
I’ve heard raves about YOLO, a hip new spot in Fort Lauderdale where waitresses stamp the day’s specials on the tablecloth. Settled into a cozy booth, I order a Bliss Martini, which tastes just as delightful as its name suggests. I sample wild Mediterranean mussels, cedar-roasted salmon and banana coconut cream pie.
Stuffed, the sun setting, I return to the comforts of Lago Mar. My getaway has left me sun-kissed, stress-free and ready to embrace the real world again.
This article is brought to you by Lago Mar Resort. To plan your own luxurious getaway, call 800-LAGOMAR or visit www.lagomar.com.