This South Florida city is perfect for a family vacation.
By Phyllis Steinberg
Forget staying on South Beach on your next family vacation to sunny South Florida. Instead, head for Sunny Isles, less than a 30-minute drive from trendy South Beach. Here, on this beautiful stretch of pristine beach along the Atlantic Ocean is the new Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort that opened in 2003 and caters to families.
On my recent visit to the resort, I enjoyed seeing all of the happy faces of kids, 5 through 12, who were offered a daily schedule of creative and fun-filled activities under the supervision of trained counselors. And the program is free for hotel guests, except for meals and admission to local attractions. Parents actually get to relax on this family vacation while counselors take their offspring to area attractions. Counselors also involve children in a daily myriad of activities from shell collecting and swimming to arts and crafts and bicycling.
And that’s not all the services the Trump Sonesta offers for families. Arrangements can also be made through the Housekeeping Department for Baby-Sitting. The fee is $7.50 per hour, with a minimum of three hours for the first child. For each additional sibling, the rate increases $.50 per hour. Car seats are provided to guests when renting a car at the agency located in the resort lobby and general-practice physicians and pediatricians, located nearby, are on call and will make house-calls to the hotel. Children’s menus are also available in all resort outlets and room service. The restaurant is also kid-friendly, providing high chairs.
The city of Sunny Isles Beach is just north of Miami Beach and is surrounded by the affluent communities of Golden Beach, Bal Harbour and Aventura. Centrally located, Sunny Isles is near South Florida’s two international airports, Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airports, both located less than 20 miles from the area. Once a small, beach resort area, Sunny Isles Beach is now experiencing a tremendous development and the addition of the Trump International Sonesta Resort has helped to revitalize the area.
Parents can enjoy this luxurious oceanfront resort while their children are being entertained by the kids program. They can relax in the sun or shade at the spectacular free-form pool complex, complete with waterfalls, whirlpools, lush tropical foliage and air-conditioned cabanas, all overlooking the beautiful beachfront. Cabanas are available for rent at the pool or the beach. These are not the typical cabanas that you find at most resorts. The cabanas are air-conditioned, have sinks, refrigerators, a comfy chaise lounge, chairs and a table. At this resort, you don’t even have to sweat in the sun. When you feel you have to cool off, just step inside your air-conditioned cabana and have a cold drink. What more could any sun-worshipper want?
For Fine dining, there is the Trump Sonesta’s signature restaurant, Neomi’s Grill, overlooking the ocean and pool deck with indoor and patio dining. The menu offers Contemporary American cuisine with a tropical flair. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would recommend dinner as the presentation and the food is a wonderful way to enjoy the sunset. My favorite dish was the Sea Bass Lasagna, which was pan seared in a sweet pea gray, with fresh pasta layers and a roasted tomato salad.
When it comes to casual dining, there are plenty of restaurants in the area. Tony Roma’s Rib Restaurant is right across the street and also within walking distance is a shopping center with a grocery store and Kentucky Fried Chicken. McDonald’s and Burger King are also within a mile of the hotel. Also nearby is the Newport Pier and its adjacent Seven Seas restaurant which offers a panoramic vantage point of the sea. Another local favorite is the Rascal House Deli Restaurant, an old time landmark, while the mile-high deli sandwiches and matzo ball soup abound. You always have to wait in line to get into the Rascal House, so plan to leave early if you have hungry kids as the lines get longer later in the day.
The resort’s 390 guest rooms including one-and-two bedroom suites, offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. I especially enjoyed the many amenities in my junior-suite including a wet-bar, mini-refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, washer and dryer. Many luxury resorts are quick to offer laundry services at highly inflated prices. I really appreciated being able to wash and dry my bathing suit and other soiled laundry instead of having to cram it in my suitcase and wash everything when I got home. They even provided detergent in the room!
If you would like to treat yourself to a fabulous massage, the Trump Sonesta 8,000 square foot Aquanox Spa located on the third level of the resort is the place to relax and enjoy a varied menu of treatments from aromatherapy massages to refreshing facials. I did the ultimate, the Sonesta Surrender. This signature massage is an all-in-one escape exclusive to the resort. First you receive a Starfruit Pear hand and arm exfoiliation followed by a treatment for your feet which they called Tattered Tootsie Footsie. I called it heaven on earth! Then I received a relaxing full body Swedish massage. What more could a busy mom want when she goes on vacation?
The hotel is also five minutes from Haulover Beach which has the area’s best surf-casting fishing, jogging paths, popular picnic areas, tennis, a golf course and deep-sea fishing charters. And if you like to shop, the Aventura Mall is close by and the hotel provides free transportation to the mall daily and other area attractions. Aventura Mall has department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s and hundreds of other designer shops and boutiques as well as restaurants and a multiplex cinema. Bal-Harbour Shops is also a short ride away and has the upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Chanel and Versace.
The Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort is a welcome addition to South Florida and the Sunny Isles area is a great place for families. The South Beach area is always fun to visit, but the Trump International Sonesta does a better job at catering to families on vacation.
For more information about the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort, call toll free at 800-SONESTA or log on to www.trumpsonesta.com