Acqualina Resort & Spa is a luxury kid-friendly beach resort in North Miami. The elegant Mediterranean villa-style property takes full advantage of its ideal oceanfront position with multiple swimming pools and a wonderfully-appointed beach. This location, plus exceptional rooms, amenities, and services, makes Acqualina one of the best family hotels in Miami.
Multiple pools and large beachfront grass areas are perfect with kids
Casual Chic with an International Vibe
What’s fun about Miami Beach is its global appeal. Everywhere you go you see a variety of people and hear multiple languages, Acqualina is no exception with an international vibe. It doesn’t attract the bathing suit high-heel crowd that you get at some resorts in Miami. Its casual chic and hosts plenty of young families throughout the resort.
That said, with three pools and an expansive beach, the property never felt crowded or overrun with children. One young mom of three said, “I was nervous to bring my kids to such a nice resort, but they have been so welcoming, even at Il Mulino (the fabulous on-site restaurant).”
Kids’ play area in the sand has plenty of shade
The pools run right up to the beach area. The service in both areas is top notch. Even at full capacity, we never had to wait for lounge chairs or drinks, clearly one of the reasons this hotel earns a five-star rating. Also, unlike some of the South Beach hotels, there was no techno music pumping through the pool speakers. In addition, the thoughtful design of the landscaping provides plenty of shaded areas.
There’s an “adult only” pool which means that ‘those people’ — the ones that give the dirty glare when your kids start making some noise in the pool — can retreat to another space, and parents can relax and let kids play without worrying about disturbing others.
Sipping smoothies by the pool
Complimentary Kids’ Club
They complimentary kids’ club is a great childcare option with excellent counselors. What I really like about it is that the some of the kids’ club activities take place at the main pool. I was able to read my book while my kids were engaged in pool games and had a chance to play with other children.
Stocked gourmet kitchen
Wonderful Guest Space and Amenities
Condo-hotels are my favorite set up with the best of both worlds, space and amenities. The large accommodations at Acqualina are ideal with kids and feature gourmet kitchens, allowing families to eat some meals in and save significantly on food costs and hassle.
Hot Rod Heaven
Every time we went into or out of the hotel, my sons’ jaws would hit the ground as they ogled over the multiple Rolls Royces, Aston Martins, Bentleys, Masaratis, Ferraris, etc. This is hot rod heaven. You won’t find a luxury car collection like this outside of an exotic car dealership.
The sandy beach extends for miles
The first thing my husband said when he looked at the Acqualina website was, “They have my all-time favorite New York restaurant, Il Mulino!” For my foodie husband, meals are a major element of any vacation experience. Sure enough, the food here is sensational. Il Mulino at Acqualina offers the best classical Italian dinner we’ve had outside of Italy.
We were treated to an additional surprise when Piazzeta, a new casual dining venue, opened its doors for the first time during our trip. It offers delicious charcuterie, as well as pizzas and small dishes, and has outstanding service. It’s also worth noting that Piazzeta serves a wonderful daily breakfast buffet and Sunday brunch.
Mommy Time at Acqualina’s ESPA Spa
Although I’m a spa junkie, ESPA, a premier European spa company, was a new experience for me. They’ve won all kinds of awards for design and treatments, so I was excited to check the ESPA experience at Acqualina.
I booked the “Chakra Balancing with Volcanic Stones” to “relieve deep-seeded tension and muscular stress.” I can say that two hours later, I transformed into full vacation mode. The spa features a unique cave-like tile steam room which is used light therapy with a rotation of colors through little holes in the ceiling. Very relaxing!
To understand the full Acqualina resort experience, check out our video of the resort and beach!
Fun Family Miami Activities
As far as family-friendly activities in the Miami area, the concierge desk is terrific about recommending different types of options. Oftentimes when we ask a concierge for family-friendly ideas, we get a mediocre list. Given that I’m a research fanatic, I usually find better options. Not so here, the Family Brochure is comprehensive with good descriptions of the many available family activity options in the Miami area.
North Miami Beach
Where exactly is North Miami Beach? I wasn’t sure as in past trips, we’ve always stayed in the South Beach area. I learned that Miami Beach encompasses much more than just South Beach. This gorgeous white sand beach bordered by warm turquoise water stretches for many miles. Clearly, this is prime real estate as its the only beach in the United States that is lined for miles with luxury high-rises.
Acqualina’s location is very convenient, just 20 minutes from Fort. Lauderdale and 30 minutes from South Miami. Although the area around the hotel was mostly strip malls, this provided easy access to both local markets and convenience stores.
We loved Timo, the Italian restaurant across the street and had the best time picking out gourmet lunch foods at Epicure Market, the upscale deli down the road. If you are looking for high-end posh shops, Bal Harbor, a luxury shopping center, is only 10 minutes away.
Editorial Note: Nancy received complimentary accommodations at Acqualina Resort & Spa. As usual, all opinions expressed on Ciao Bambino are our own. Photos by Nancy Solomon