Living in the northeastern U.S., we typically warmly welcome the change of seasons with the color of the leaves turning…That is, until the leaves fall off and winter arrives. This is when the skies darken and the temperatures become cold. I mean very cold. It is during this time of year that it takes an extra 10 minutes to go anywhere just putting on all the winter coats, hats, gloves and boots—and that we need an escape for a few days to warmer temperatures and blue skies.
Lucky for our family, we escaped the first snowstorm of the year to spend some time in sunny Florida at Four Seasons Hotel Miami. And it was just the boost we needed to return and brave the cold.
Miami was the perfect choice for us. A hyper-cool city enveloped in warmth and palm trees, it’s an ideal hot spot to visit with tween-age sons. Four Seasons provided a great urban base for two curious kids, yet offered a quiet, idyllic escape at the pool as well, surrounded by ocean breezes and salty air. Hard to believe that directly behind the tallest building south of Atlanta (that’s Four Seasons Hotel Miami) lies a little slice of paradise.
Miami, a city nestled in between the bay and the ocean, is an endless adventure for any family—especially ours. And I imagine that even if my boys were still little, I would find rolling a stroller around Miami just as enjoyable.
In addition to escaping the dreary weather and frigid winter air, making time to get away to reconnect when you have tweens is equally important. With our day-to-day lives consumed with work, school, activities and technology, recharging family ties is a must.
After arriving at the hotel, and dipping our hands in a bowl of plantain chips and our feet in the hot tub, we found ourselves in a setting to really be together. We loved the ease the property afforded us immediately. Within minutes of sitting down to lunch, the fun began. The boys quickly discovered that there was great food—like buffalo chicken wings and fries—available; Oreo shakes to sip poolside; a hammock to swing in; a huge football field (I mean swimming pool); and the most glorious cup of afternoon coffee for mom imagineable. This set the tone for a relaxing getaway where there was something for everyone, individually and collectively. Perfection.
The hotel is just a short cab ride from South Beach, a place of amazing sights, sounds, shopping and food. I’ve never seen two boys have as much fun as my two did: walking, chatting, trying on hats and basketball shoes, checking out the building architecture and colors. This certainly does not happen at the local mall!
Back at the hotel, the room was a mecca for kids of all ages. Fun snacks, Wii and kid-sized robes made the boys grin from ear-to-ear—and gave mom and dad time to relax and enjoy a mojito. We also celebrated a milestone at Four Seasons when my oldest son turned 12, complete with a dessert bar for a king, more buffalo wings and a birthday greeting from every single staff person.
As probably many of you are, I am always yearning for more family dinners at home; longer dinner hours to catch up and really share with each other. For my husband and me, that was the most special part of our time. Dinner at he hotel’s EDGE Steak & Bar one evening, and in South Beach the other, really gave us the minutes needed to be a family again. With superbly delicious food and a visit from the pastry chef at EDGE, no one could possibly leave disappointed. With a great mix of people dining around us, the boys and I reminisced about when they were toddlers while watching the family with little kids nearby. We looked to the future eyeing the young couples by the firepit on the outside patio. More perfection.
Our time in Miami wouldn’t have been complete without a run for mom and “boys’ time” for dad and his sons. The hotel’s location for jogging sets the bar to a new level for me. Just one mile away, down the palm tree-lined street, lies a gorgeous route over the bridge to Biscayne Bay. With the that ever-present ocean breeze blowing in my face and the sun shining down, I ran to my heart’s content while the boys explored the neighborhood buildings and playgrounds with my husband. Followed by an amazing family brunch, I am not sure if I will ever be able to duplicate the feeling.
Right now, as I sit in my office looking at the snow outside, pondering picking the boys up from school and starting the afternoon rat race, I am dreaming of returning to Four Seasons Hotel Miami. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole family is doing the same.
Read more about Miami in Four Seasons Magazine.
Rachel Blaufeld is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. She writes Back’nGrooveMom, a blog on raising a family intersecting with everything else, while juggling life with two tween sons, a husband and a few dogs. Rachel’s ramblings on family, career and more can also be found in The Huffington Post, Modern Mom, Gal Time and a number of small business sites. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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