The Good Life

Coral Gables' respite from the Miami bustle.

HISTORIC LUXURY: Built in 1926 in Coral Gables, The Biltmore hotel is a monument to the Mediterranean Revival architectural style.

 

Over the last 100 years, the city of Miami has grown up around Coral Gables, swallow- ing this inlet of calm that stretches between Biscayne Bay and Little Havana. Many of its historic houses and buildings remain, and the tree-lined streets are home to some of the most iconic spots on the east coast. For a weekend trip, Coral Gables offers the pleasures of Miami without the hectic press of the city. Of course, in these times of rapidly altering travel plans, always call to confirm hours and availability.

 

WHERE TO STAY

In the heart of Coral Gables’ commercial district, the Hotel St. Michel (162 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables; 305.444.1666; hotelstmichel.com) offers a European-style boutique hotel experience within the lush tropical setting of South Florida. With only 25 rooms and a popular in-hotel restaurant and lounge, this architecturally striking destination is perfect for vacation nesting. Plus, it’s within easy walking distance of the best shopping and dining in Coral Gables.

For those who like a historic flavor to their vacations—and a taste of grand luxury—try a stay at The Biltmore (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 855.311.6903; biltmorehotel.com). Built in 1926, the hotel’s architecture is a monument to the Mediterranean Revival style popular in Florida in the 1920s. The Biltmore’s expansive grounds cover 150 acres and include an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, pools and an upscale in-hotel restaurant.

 

WHERE TO EAT

The best dining in Coral Gables is arguably along its Miracle Mile, a half-mile stretch that runs through the heart of the commercial district. For innovative eats, try Eating House (804 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables; 305.448.6524; eatinghousemiami.com), a chef-led destination that first came on the scene as a pop-up. Look for inventive small plates such as cauliflower elote, as well as fresh takes on classic favorites including seared duck breast and pasta carbonara.

For sublime sweets, visit the bakery and pastry shop of Bachour (2020 Salzedo St., Coral Gables; 305.203.0552; antoniobachour.com). Stunningly beautiful, the creations by pastry chef Antonio Bachour are culinary art pieces. Don’t miss his signature viennoiseries, petits gateaux and macarons.

PICTURESQUE POOLS
With grottoes created from a quarry pit, the Venetian Pool is one of the most photographed spots in Coral Gables.

WHERE TO SWIM

Built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, the Venetian Pool (2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables; 305.460.5306; coralgables.com) was designed with Italian, Spanish and Moorish architectural features. Its grottoes and bridges remain some of the most photographed spots in Coral Gables today. Still open to the public, the Venetian Pool provides a resplendent setting for taking a dip.

 

WHERE TO SHOP

Carve out time to stop by Books and Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305.442.4408; booksandbooks.com), the iconic bookstore in downtown Coral Gables. Here, rows upon rows—and rooms upon rooms—of books will restore your faith in independent bookstores. Its outside cafe is an excellent spot to sip a sauvignon blanc or a cafe con leche while perusing the latest literary finds.

 

Photo Credit: Getty