The architect Morris Lapidus once said, "If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part." In 1954, the Fontainebleau Hotel, Lapidus's postmodern masterpiece, opened its iconic doors on the shore of Miami Beach, and a grand stage it was. Not only was the Fontainebleau lauded because of its stellar accommodations and sheer size, but it also became popular because of the legendary heavy hitters that it hosted, such as Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, and even the Rat Pack.
Guests can experience a unique hydromassage while walking through the 35-foot Elements Rain Tunnel.
Following a $1 billion makeover that was completed in November, the Fontainebleau's luster was restored and the grand dame now sparkles and thrives once again as a playground for the rich and famous. For those who become victims of too much play, the remodel made way for a 40,000-square-foot heavenly oasis named Lapis, one of the hottest new spas on the beach. "We were inspired by the glamorous and colorful legacy of the Fontainebleau, which we wanted to honor," says Kimberley Matheson Shedrick, president of Natural Resources Spa Consulting and consultant on the project. "However, we set out to truly reinvent a sensory-rich environment desirable to the 21st-century interpretation of glamour."
Heated white-marble hammam benches flank the Essence Mineral Co-Ed Jet Pool.
After more than three years of development, the two-level, über-modern spa, located in a new glass building near the pool, opened in April to much fanfare. Complete with 30 treatment rooms and a cutting-edge fitness center, the luxe spa stands out from nearby competitors because of its attention to detail. "Spas have evolved to offer more than just the treatment itself," says Matheson Shedrick. "In this highly competitive market, we realized that we were going to have to reach further to create a remarkable spa that captured the imagination and delivered new experiences as well as traditional favorites."
The retail area complements the spa's modern and clean aesthetic.
Lapis has taken the spa experience to a different level, such as through its exclusive partnership with esthetician-to-the-stars Tracie Martyn, whose celeb roster includes Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, and Madonna. Lapis is the only place outside of Martyn's eponymous New York City spa to offer her signature treatments—The Resculpting Facial ($325, 60 minutes) and The Resculpting Body Treatment ($200, 60 minutes)—which have legions of followers. "We wanted to offer our guests something truly unique," says spa director Josie Feria. "That mission, coupled with the fact that Tracie Martyn and Lapis have a very similar philosophy and aesthetic, made for a natural partnership."
Another aspect of the spa that gives its clients a one-of-a-kind experience is its specialized approach to relaxation and regeneration through the use of mineralized water. All of the water at Lapis—the Latin word for stone, rock, and mineral—has been infused with a red seaweed extract that was cultivated on France's Brittany coast. "This particular seaweed survives in extreme environmental conditions and has adapted a protective, UV-resistant membrane to guard against harsh rays and extremely dry conditions during low tide," says Feria. "When absorbed by the skin and hair, the seaweed forms an invisible, long-lasting barrier that acts as a shield from harmful UV rays, allowing the skin and hair to retain moisture."
The Essence Mineral Co-Ed Jet Pool features different temperatures throughout to replicate the sensation one gets while wading through a natural spring.
Lapis offers many different ways for guests to truly experience the mineral-enriched water, either on their own time or as part of a Lapis Ritual Water Journey. "We wanted the guests to be able to choreograph their own experiences based on their unique moods, spirits, intentions, and time available," says Matheson Shedrick. In addition to a Eucalyptus Infused Steam Bath and an Energy Deluge Shower, the spa features a 35-foot Elements Rain Tunnel, which allows guests to be massaged by multiple jets at once that release warm and cool water at various strengths, and an Immersion Mineral Water Jet Bath, which is set at a toasty 104 F. Pre- or post-treatment, guests can take a plunge in the 75-foot Essence Mineral Co-Ed Pool, where they can also lounge on individual heated hammam benches. "The pool will delight and surprise guests," says Matheson Shedrick. "As they move through the water, they will experience different temperatures, just as they would in a natural mineral spring." For those who may get overwhelmed by too many options, the four Lapis Ritual Water Journeys (starting at $25 for non-spa guests) will help them maneuver around the wet areas. Ranging from 30 minutes to two hours, these Journeys lead people through the water elements and allow them to experience them in a certain order, in a certain amount of time, so that they can achieve specific results.
The well-appointed ladies' area features steam rooms, rain showers, stone hammams, and heated baths.
While some may be interested in having an individual experience during their visit to Lapis, others take advantage of the couples' therapies offered as well as the amazing spa suites par deux. Offering spectacular ocean views, the Indigo and Azure Spa Suites were specially designed to cater to pairs, and each offers a hydrotherapy tub for two, pedicure sinks, personal rain showers, and steam rooms. Here, couples can enjoy indulgent treatments, known as Duets, such as the relaxing Tropical Tonic ($540, 1 hour 50 minutes), which includes a gentle exfoliation with a white-sand scrub, a shared jet bath, and a tropical-inspired massage using smooth coconut shells. For head-to-toe pampering, the Let's Try It All ($720, 2 hours 50 minutes) gives guests a sampling of every type of treatment, including a soak, scrub, wrap, manicure, pedicure, and full-body Swedish massage.
A luxe couples' suite, the Azure Room offers expansive ocean views.
Whether guests visit Lapis alone or with others, they experience a place to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. Taking the spa's high-energy location into account, this is a respectable feat for Feria and her team of 109. "The spa atmosphere is exactly the opposite of the pulsating scene that is Miami Beach," says Feria. "It's a sanctuary and a calm collective; a welcome respite from the blazing sun and fast pace of Miami."
LAPIS AT FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH (FL)
Armed with its winning formula of creating a sophisticated, quiet space in one of the most exciting destinations in the world, the team at Fontainebleau is heading out west for their newest project—a Las Vegas outpost set to open before the end of the year. With the project well underway, the 60,000-square-foot, 53-treatment-room Sin City location is already setting the stage for success—and it's sure to be grand.