Monday, September 27, 2010
The Standard Hotel, Miami
There is a pivotal moment in Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' where Joey observes Jenna's reliance on wealth and finally understands its toll. The pair are deep in South Africa-- Patagonia, I believe-- on a horse farm, riding the best horses in the world, in the best conditions, with the best equipment, instructors, and weather. He looks at her atop her perfect horse and sees that she is finally happy, smiling, and illuminated after several chapters of sour discontent and boredom. He realizes that while she is the most beautiful women he has ever known, it would take mountains of wealth to keep her that way. It is then that he turns his head forever, and goes back to his wife in St. Paul who humbly loves him.
The Standard Hotel and Lido Spa in Miami Beach was named by Conde Nast Travler in 2009 as the Best Spa In The World. The best spa in the WORLD.
And I stayed there recently, alone, for three days with full access to the ocean side infinity pool, meditative Hamam, Aroma Steam Room, Cedar Sauna, Sound Pool, Roman Waterfall Hot Tub, and Mud Lounge. I ordered vegan room service and drank water cooled with cucumber and wore nothing but a bathing suit and a plush white robe within its confines. The pool was filled with salt water and the white linens were 1000 thread count. Children under the age of 18 were not admitted and I've never seen so many beautiful people within one lens.
I now understand Luxury Travel. I GET IT, okay?
But we must be careful, given these Freedoms, Franzen subtly pushes. Jenna stands as a brilliant warning to impressionable girls like me. That said-- when I think about my time there, with a private fire pit under those crazy stars where I could hear nothing but the constant ocean-- I'd go back there in a heartbeat.