Travel

By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein

First there’s the honeymoon….then comes the babymoon. Usually taken in the second trimester, this last hurrah before the baby arrives is supposed to be the pinnacle of relaxation and luxury. I was already sporting a nice round belly so a long, uncomfortable flight was out of the question and my doctor recommended we stay in the country where the medical care is good. I wanted my babymoon to be all about vegging out on the beach in beautiful weather, so Miami seemed to be the ideal vacation spot. And since relaxation and luxury were my MO, the Setai, located in South Beach, Miami, was the perfect destination spa resort.

Se – tai is actually the fusion of the first and last syllables of the words ‘Selatan Pantai’ which means South Beach in the South East Asian Bahasa language. The spa opened only 3 years ago and can be found on Collins Avenue along the shores of Miami Beach and in close proximity to the nightlife and cultural center of South Beach. From the moment we walked through the doors of this Asian inspired, art deco retreat, we were in heaven. Sinking into rich chocolate brown leather couches, the accommodating staff checked us in as we sipped cool and refreshing fruit smoothies out of champagne flutes. No detail was left unturned in the décor of the Setai. A cozy yet contemporary color palette of dark mahogany with splashes of orange and beige carried through the lobby and into our perfectly designed guest room…or rather spa oasis (the black stone tub located in the spacious bathroom is particularly inviting).

Within seconds of putting down our bags, we were on our way to the hotel’s private beach. The cabana boys (all of whom hail from Bali) set up our huge comfy lounge chairs with fluffy towels and a tray of cold Evian water and refreshing Evian facial spray. We just sat back and soaked up the sun as the staff provided us with complimentary magazines, sunscreen, iPods for our listening pleasure and skewers of delicious fresh fruit. The pool experience was just as luxurious. There are 3 pools, each of a different temperature, a poolside restaurant and bar (which alas, this pregnant lady couldn’t truly enjoy – virgin daiquiris only!) and a variety of poolside spa treatments. My hubbie and I opted to experience our massages in the hotel spa in the couple’s treatment room overlooking the pool area and Miami Beach.

Before our massages began, we were given exfoliating foot scrubs as our therapists asked us how we were feeling and answered any questions we had. My masseuse was actually pregnant as well and so I felt completely at ease in her expert hands throughout the duration of my pre-natal massage. Though my eyes were closed most of the time, I did appreciate the gorgeous and spacious ambiance of the impeccably designed spa suite. Our treatments left us feeling totally relaxed and pampered (so much so that my husband was actually snoring loudly through most of his hot stone massage). For the more adventurous (and not pregnant) spa-goer, there’s an array of Asian inspired spa treatments to indulge in: Bamboo Body Polish, Balinese Massage, Oriental Tui Nu Massage, among many others.

Setai’s acclaimed restaurant, simply and elegantly called, The Restaurant, brings you authentic Asian cuisine from countries such as China, Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Led by the talented Jonathan Wright, a team of chefs, originating from these countries, prepares the food in an open ‘demonstration’ kitchen. The excitement of watching the cooking process rivals the excitement of the eclectic dishes you’ll enjoy – all of which are meant to be shared family style in authentic native crockery. I’ll definitely take my husband’s word for it that the sashimi was absolute perfection since I would describe the food I could indulge in the exact same way. Just be sure to save some room for dessert!

The hospitality, spa, dining and ambiance of the Setai could be compared to that of the best resorts around the world. But it’s actually even better – because you’ll have spent only 2 hours on a plane and you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away in the most exotic place on earth!

The Setai Resort & Residences
2001 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 520 6000 or (888) 625 7500
Fax: (305) 520 6600
www.setai.com

Originally published September 2008
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