I first went to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in May when I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit blog conference. I had never been to a Ritz before in my life. That weekend, I busted my butt with work and then got the flu, so I really didn’t get to enjoy the property as much as I would have liked. Peter and Penelope came with me that weekend, at least they had a blast.
When the Ritz offered to host my family and I for a few nights this August, I about fell out of my chair. I was so excited. Peter’s parents live in Miami and we were planning a trip down there to visit them anyway. We also were planning the trip to check out schools and houses in Jupiter since we are moving there next summer.
When you walk into the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, you are in another world. Both times I have been, it’s been like a fashion show: the bags, the shoes, the jewelry the other women wore were just amazing. I saw a Birkin bag for the first time in person and I had to restrain myself from reaching out and petting it. Part of the ambiance is the most beautiful rose flower arrangement in the lobby, it will take your breath away!
We tried to get a family picture in front of it. Penelope was not having it though. Do you ever look at perfect family photos, and think, “why, God, why, won’t my children smile and pose like other children do?” Hopefully this picture makes you feel better. They gave us that cute hat my husband has on. He went to a magnet high school right down the street, so he was happy to represent Key Biscayne.
Peter and I both felt out of our league, but not out of place. The world’s wealth comes here to relax, but we met many regular families just like us while at the family pool, families who come here year after year because they know it is an amazing place that is also family-friendly. Like everyone we met at the pool, we felt like we were in on a special secret.
So the moral of my story is, yes, it is expensive. But it’s really no more expensive than a Disney vacation. Or any other vacation really. And after this trip, Peter and I decided we are not a Disney family. Sure, we will go again, but I don’t think we will ever buy annual passes again. Penelope has way more fun at the beach and in the pool than she does at Disney. No, in the future, we will go the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne instead.
Peter and I talked about it at length and, for us, it’s a quality versus quantity thing. You can either have a bunch of cheap clothes, or a few really nice, well-made clothes. I would rather stay a couple of nights at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne than 7 nights at a sub-par hotel.
We have stayed in cheap hotels in the past, it is not relaxing in the sligh
. You never get that feeling of deep relaxation, walking around without a care in the world. When we were younger, we didn’t travel to relax, we traveled to explore and see as much as we could. Now that we are parents, we need some respite, we need that relaxation. At the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, you get that immediately upon crossing the threshold into the hotel.
Upon check-in, Peter and I were greeted with a glass of champagne – the perfect thing to kick off our stay in the right mood. The service at the Ritz is flawless. Everyone is beyond nice and they are all bending over backwards to make you feel comfortable, happy and welcome. When you are a mother, you are always on, always taking care of everyone else. It’s so nice to have someone take care you for a change.
The food was insane. I have become such a foodie these last few years, and again, Peter and I would rather go to one really nice dinner than eat at lots of cheap chain restaurants. In general, we both have no problem spending good money on good food, and the food at the Ritz is beyond good.
We tried all the restaurants. We did room service for breakfast. And oh, let me tell you about the coffee. I drank two huge cups every morning, because it tasted glorious, even though I don’t normally drink caffeine. Like something I had a gourmet cafe in Paris, I would take a bath in that coffee if I could. Our trip coincided with my would-have-been-due-date, and I was feeling pretty sad right before we got there. The luxuries of the whole experience was like chicken soup for my soul.
We ate lunch by the pool. Quesadillas, chips and guacamole for all of us; lots of margaritas for me. We also had dinner one night at the Cantina Beach restaurant. I had the steak fajitas without the rice and tortillas, and I didn’t even miss the carbs, that’s how satisfying the flavors of the steak and peppers were.
There is fresh fruit and flavored fruit water at the cabana next to where you get your towels. It’s little things like this that make a big difference in how well taken care of you feel.
The Sunday Brunch buffet took the cake, though. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. I will never be able to eat another brunch buffet again. I have been spoiled and now I am ruined for life. They had caviar and smoked salmon and oysters and crab and all kinds of roasts. A million different cheeses and sliced meats. The most amazing omelet layout, and rows upon rows of desert. Oh, and mimosas that flowed like a river.
I got the chance to experience their spa and it was lovely. I have been to fancy hotel spas in the past and was hugely disappointed. Usually, a hotel spa is a place where brand new cosmetology and massage school grads land their first job and they just don’t know what they are doing yet. But at the Ritz, they take training for their staff so seriously, especially the spa staff. The gal who did my nails had been there for about 10 years! She did a great job, and as a massage therapist myself I am super picky about my spa treatments.
I loved how international the place felt. Traveling is in my blood. Wonderlust is deep in my bones. I ache to go new countries and experience new cultures, but I don’t have a money tree in my backyard and we can’t travel as much as I would like. Everyone we met was from a different place, lots of different languages being spoken around us, etc. Since we have not been able to go out of the country yet with Penelope, we try to introduce her to as many different cultures as we can (like when I took her to an African dance class this summer).
Peter and I are not resort people. When we travel, we are hoofing it from place to place, trying to see and absorb as much as we can. We have never gone on a cruise or stayed at an all-inclusive resort. But oh, how parenting has changed our lives. We are exhausted. And traveling with a two year old is exhausting.
So, the pool at the Ritz was exactly what we needed. It has a large zero entry on one side, and since Penelope can’t swim yet, it was perfect. She was able to walk, jump, alligator crawl, and float with a floaty in a safe situation. In larger pools, I am constantly in panic mode, I can’t take my eyes off her or let my guard down. But here, I could just sit in the shallow water with her, margarita in hand, watch her play, talk with Peter and the other parents we met. There were plenty of kids her age there so she always had someone to play with. Oh and it was a salt water pool! So I wasn’t stressing about chlorine being absorbed in her skin the whole time, like I usually do. It was pure heaven.
We also spent a lot of time at the beach. Penelope is such a beach baby, takes after her Papa. We were literally out all day long between the pool and the beach. We set up a big umbrella and let her go to town. My husband likes to play in the sand as much as Penelope does, its really cute.
I was so impressed with how child- and family-friendly the place was. I asked around and apparently not all the Ritz-Carltons are like that, so be sure to look into information about each one before you book. But the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne was a haven for families. All weekend they had all kinds of activities scheduled for kids, from face painting, balloon making, balloon toss, soccer, caricature drawing.
Everything about our experience made Penelope, and us, feel like we were special, taken care of and important. And since I have been here before, not on a press trip, I know they roll out the special treatment for everyone, not just us. There is also so much do on Key Biscayne for families, the Miami Sea Aquarium is two minutes away.
It was a little cloudy one of the days, still gorgeous, and we got this beautiful rainbow show. Our room had such a great view.
I really could turn this post into a book, or at least a week’s worth of posts, I can’t say enough good things about the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. We made so many blissful, happy memories that Peter and I decided to make a yearly tradition of going down there for a long weekend. I highly recommend you consider a trip to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne if you are planning a trip to Florida. Even if you are there just one weekend, it’s so wonderful and relaxing, you will feel like you have been on a vacation a week.
Till next time, Key Biscayne! P.S. This is a picture of downtown Miami as we were leaving Key Biscayne. 🙂
I was not paid for this post, but I was hosted by the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I take my job of sharing tips and information with my readers very seriously. I only share info about businesses and products I would want to tell my friends about anyway.