Today's luxury seekers no longer have to settle for a plastic chaise and a beach umbrella. Surveying the Florida hotel scene you'll find cabanas poolside or beachfront, ranging from $80 a day to $800 not counting food , drinks, services such as massage and, of course, your hotel room or suite. Some cabanas accommodate a couple, some a family, some a crowd. Amenities may include wi-fi, "room" service and a refrigerator stocked with ice water and fruit. Many hotels now offer feature-packed cabana packages that are hard to resist, especially at low-season prices.
Here's just a sampling in alphabetical order:
Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach, Miami Beach, has four glorious swimming pools overlooking the Atlantic. A pool concierge serves cabana guests with smoothies, chilled towels and iced fruit. Cabanas have flat-screen TV, custom fruit bowls, bottled water and sun care products from the Acqualina Boutique. Food and beverage servers are also at cabana guests' beck and call, with 15- and 30-minute reflexology available Friday through Sunday. AcqualinaResort.com.
The Breakers, Palm Beach is one of the grande dames of Florida hospitality, known for s elegance. Its unique beach bungalows, available only for day use, come with concierge service, personal amenities such as lip balm and suntan lotion, a daily paper, bottled water, living room-like furniture with day bed, stocked wet bar, safe, some spa treatments, ceiling fan, hair dryer, full bath, wi-fi and much more. TheBreakers.com
EPIC Hotel, downtown Miami, has an "island-in-the-sky" pool deck 16 floors high overlooking the city and sparkling Biscayne Bay., Escape in the heart of the city to an enormous, wrap-around deck where you can sun on a chaise, ottoman or and day bed, swim in two infinity pools or seek shade and privacy in an airy cabana with flat screen TV, fruit and beverage and a poolside menu that includes the hotel's special "Passionada" cocktail. Epichotel.com
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach offers climate-controlled, poolside cabanas with wi-fi, hi-def TV, wet bar, private restroom, service call button, telephone and massage service. Choose a full- or half-day rent from eight cabana food and beverage packages. ClearwaterBeach.Hyatt.com
LaPlaya Beach Resort, Naples, has cabanas for two to 15 guests. With them come towel service, sorbet, reserved lounges poolside, TV, wi-fi, robes, bottled water, and fresh fruit. Depending on the package one may also get complimentary frozen beverages, a pitcher of Bacardi mojitos, lunch entrees, parasailing, Hobie Cat or Waverunner rental and other tempting features.
Naples Bay Resort, on the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown Naples, offers cabanas by reservation at their big, family pool. Let the kids frolic in the a lazy river, waterfall and other splashy fun, then get them in out of the sun in a cabana that has towels, sunscreen, , two Evian mist makers, a silver ice bucket with water, fresh fruit, wi-fi and the daily newspaper. Order food and drinks from BlueWater Bar & Grill or order ahead to get a refrigerator stocked with items you request. NaplesBayResort.com
Ritz-Carlton, South Beach has an elevated, ocean view pool deck wreathed in posh poolside cabanas by the day and into the evening. A poolside bed comes with four bottles of Fiji water and two bottles of Champagne. Friday through Sunday the hotel's Mixology on Wheels wagon prowls the pool deck offering cocktails. Try the famous Ginger Bird Thai Chili. (Www.) RitzCarlton.com/SouthBeach. Check out any of Florida's other fabulous, four- and five-star Ritz-Carltons for beach and/or pool cabanas, RitzCarlton.com
Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, is an AAA Four Diamond showplace offering killer golf, posh accommodations, a choice of restaurants and pool cabanas that have a refrigerator, four "walls" and a refrigerator stocked with treats ordered from a nearby market. Guests can also order food and drink from the pool bar. RosenShingleCreek.com, (866) 996-6338
Sawgrass Marriott, Ponte Vedra Beach, has a private cabana club open only to members and guests. A shuttle operates continuously between the hotel and the beach. The site provides private beach access, individual showers, beach rentals and poolside food and beverage service. The seaside retreat is also used for children's programs and themed parties for adults. SawgrassMarriott.com
The Shores Resort, Daytona Beach supplies gaily striped red and white cabanas by the day. Or, book an evening complete with beach bonfires and five-course dinner with champagne served by your own, private wait staff. Choose from cabana packages that include spa treatments, watersports, food and much more. ShoresResort.com
Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, has both beach and pool cabanas that rent by the day, 10 a.m. to sunset. They're furnished almost like guest rooms with stocked refrigerator, TV, wet bar , microwave, couches, chaises and plenty of privacy for up to four people. Order lunch or a spa treatment. TrumpMiami.com
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