If the Fontainbleau is the brash older sister, screaming “look at me”, then the Turnberry resort is the quieter, classier type, where it’s all going on under the radar. The bedrooms are large and luxurious; the beds splendidly comfortable.
At the pool, the staff, to their undoubted relief, wear uniforms altogether more demure than at their sister hotel. A delightful day poolside is punctuated by swims, a dawdle down the lazy river, a ride on the enormous waterslide, and the arrival of drinks or food. Golf, however, is the thing at the Turnberry and any golfer who had forgotten their clubs or found themselves unable to play would be sorely disappointed to miss out on a game at either of the resort’s two micro-manicured courses.
There really seems no need to peel oneself away from a lounger to go sightseeing, but an architectural and historical tour proves rewarding all the same.
Coconut Grove is Miami’s oldest continuously inhabited neighbourhood, while Coral Gables was one of the first planned communities in the US, subject to planning laws that would make many a county councillor blush. There’s no escaping the remarkable hotels though, and the grove’s jewel is the Biltmore, a splendid, though incongruously tall edifice with a colourful history. The pool – for we are now developing an expertise in such matters – was once the largest in the world and attended by the first Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, who worked there as a lifeguard before his escape to the jungle.
It would be madness to visit Miami and not check out the sherbet-coloured Art Deco architecture, built mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. After a period when no-one thought these buildings worth preserving, most are now restored to their intricate former glory. The effect of seeing such a large cluster of these buildings is that of falling headlong into a multicoloured fruit sundae. The best examples are to be seen on parallel streets near the beach from around 6th to 23rd streets. A good place to start a self guided tour is at the Art Deco Welcome Centre.
There, all set for culture? Now get yourself back to the pool.
DEIRDRE VELDONflew London to Miami as a guest of British Airways
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW . . . MIAMI:
BA operates three daily flights from London Heathrow to Miami with connecting flights available from Dublin and Cork.
PLACES TO STAY
Turnberry Isle Miami, 19999 West Country Drive Aventura, Florida 33180,
The Betsy, South Beach, 1440 Ocean Drive, South Beach, Florida 33139,
PLACES TO VISIT
Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Drive, mdpl.org.
Miami Sea Aquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, miamiseaquarium.com
Holocaust memorial, 1939-1945 Meridian Avenue, holocaustmmb.org
Aventura Shopping Mall, 19501 Biscayne Boulevard, aventuramall.com