For those seeking a taste of old-Miami glamour, Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club (Surfside, FL) delivers in spades. The original Surf Club, founded in 1930 by tire tycoon Harvey Firestone, was intended to provide a private place for him and his friends to socialize and imbibe in the prohibition era. Firestone, along with some friends, discovered the idyllic beachfront property while cruising on his yacht along the coast of Miami Beach. Not long after, the legendary club made its grand debut on New Year’s Eve and quickly became a popular gathering place for prominent figures, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, and Winston Churchill. Introducing a new chapter to the story, Four Seasons recently updated and re-opened the iconic property.
As part of the new construction, the hotel unveiled a light-filled spa designed by Parisian interior architect Joseph Dirand. “The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club is a light-dappled sanctuary with crisp hues of white and blue framing its backdrop of sand and sea,” says spa director Cassandra Forrest. The oceanfront spa features eight treatment rooms, two of which are couples’ suites, also known as Spa Cabana Suites; a private hammam; and a tea lounge and relaxation room with private alcoves overlooking the ocean and lush gardens. “Renowned for his ability to bring atmosphere, rich narrative, and quiet drama to life, Dirand notes the sun and sea as his greatest inspiration for designing the spa,” says Forrest. “In contrast to the historic Surf Club building, he introduced a more contemporary feel to the spa, with fresh light-filled spaces, which draw their mood from the light outside ocean-facing windows. The space gives a true sense of place of its home by the shore with sun-bleached wood wall paneling, rattan-covered cabinetry, and white wooden shutters enclosing private areas.”
The sun, sand, and sea also influenced the treatment menu, which is meant to entice savvy and sophisticated spa-goers. “Nostalgic ingredients hearken back to refreshing days in the sun, such as an aloe and cucumber mask or a cooling watermelon skin infusion, while sun-inspired services infuse the skin with a radiant glow and soothe it after exposure,” says Forrest. “Once the place to sip cocktails during Prohibition, The Spa at The Surf Club now offers personalized skin cocktails, with spa therapists serving as mixologists. The Surf Club today is an extended embodiment of its original values focused on enabling and enhancing life, and the spa is no exception.”
According to Forrest, because members and guests of the original Surf Club were well-traveled connoisseurs of the good life, it was important to offer a menu of Globally Inspired Treatments for the guests of today. “In the hands of the spa’s internationally trained therapists, spa-goers are transported to the healing sanctuaries of India through Ayurvedic practice, the Middle East within the private hammam, and Europe through the use of state-of-the-art technology and exclusive skincare lines, including Biologique Recherche of France, Susanne Kaufmann from the Austrian Alps, and England’s Elemental Herbology,” she says. The spa is actually the first Four Seasons spa to launch in the Americas with Biologique Recherche. Forrest, who has worked with the brand for nearly five years, credits the exceptional results it delivers as being responsible for keeping guests coming back for more. Susanne Kaufmann is the spa’s organic skincare line of choice. The line incorporates knowledge about the healing power of nature that has been passed down through the generations. Elemental Herbology was selected for the spa’s massage and tropical-inspired body treatments. With products based on the traditional Chinese philosophy of harmony being necessary to achieve balance, the line features the five elements: wood for rejuvenation, fire for zest, earth for balance, metal for detox, and water to soothe. Before most massages, a scent test is administered to determine which oil blend is needed to achieve equilibrium.
Although the spa offered a smaller menu for the first few months it was open, it launched its full menu, including the Globally Inspired Treatments, in June. According to Forrest, the Surf Club Massage (starting at $160, 60 minutes), which is personalized to each guest’s preferred pressure and oil blend, has been the most popular to date. Other crowd pleasers include the Custom Biologique Recherche Facial (starting at $350, 90 minutes) and the Custom Deep Cleansing ($160, 60 minutes), which relies on Susanne Kaufmann products.
With approximately 30 full-time staff members, the spa is focused on ensuring each guest has a memorable experience. According to Forrest, her greatest challenge comes from being the new kid on the block. Miami has no shortage of outstanding spas from which to choose. “We plan to overcome this by offering exceptional service paired with unique and well-thought-out details throughout the guest experience,” she says. “Being in our first six months of business, we are working on developing our local regulars and our reputation as the spa of choice in the area.” It seems glory days are here again for this iconic property.
59% female, 41% male
1001 Remedies, Biologique Recherche, Christophe Robin, Elemental Herbology, Elizabeth W, Jao Brand, Maison Louis Marie, Pommade Divine, Royal Fern, Scentsational Journeys, Soleil Toujours, Susanne Kaufmann, Zakia’s Morocco
Book4Time, Gharieni, Hock, Life Fitness, Technogym
Richard Meier, Richard Meier & Partners (New York City)
Joseph Dirand, Joseph Dirand Architecture (Paris)