Travel Two Ways: Maldives or Miami Beach?

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A Terrace Oceanview King room at the SLS South Beach.

One Splurge, One Steal

Two sun-drenched breaks for two distinctive budgets.

A premium beach villa at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on Maldives.
An SLS suite terrace.

Warm weather is calling. Will it be a weeklong splurge in Maldives? Or a close-to-home jaunt to Miami Beach?

Maldives—the Splurge

Fly: Relax in Business Class comfort with Qatar Airways, voted world’s best airline two years in a row.

Stay: Willingly maroon yourself at the 64-villa Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives, an island hideaway set along one of the largest lagoons in the archipelago. Palm-thatched villas provide direct access to the warm, cobalt-blue waters; let the butler unpack as you take a dip in your plunge pool or go diving with dolphins. In the evening, follow lantern-lined pathways to a romantic repast on the beach. Virtuoso clients receive a room upgrade upon arrival, if available; breakfast daily for two; dinner with a bottle of wine, once per stay; and early check-in and late checkout, if available.

Spa: Traveler, heal thyself by heading to an overwater pavilion at the Jiva Spa; there, enjoy a three-and-a-half hour Sukha Bliss treatment, including a body scrub and wrap, Indian oil massage, and energizing facial. Meanwhile, your partner can indulge in a 90-minute Pehlwan Malish Warrior Massage.

Plus: Maldivian sunsets are not to be missed, particularly during a private, hour-long cruise around the resort’s lagoon.

Miami Beach—the Steal

Fly: Take to the skies in Economy Class with American Airlines and spend the savings on a new designer outfit.

Stay: Philippe Starck turned a historic art deco hotel into his own whimsical vision at the 140-room SLS Hotel South Beach. Venture past the vintage kayak-cum-chandelier in the “summer camp” lobby on the way to your “Starck”-white room. Dress for dinner at Katsuya by Starck or The Bazaar, chef José Andrés’ restaurant renowned for its Latin flair. The party never ends at Hyde Beach, a sexy mix of pool, beach, and indoor/outdoor spaces.

Spa: Find your tempo during an 80-minute Vibration Massage, customized with different modalities, including Swedish and sports. Or consider an 80-minute Deep Flow Thai treatment that uses yoga poses and traditional stretching. Both treatments are available at the hotel’s V Spa.

Plus: Neon-lit Miami Beach is your playground; the concierge knows what’s new on the scene. Arrive in style in the hotel’s BMW house car. Local service is complimentary.

Originally appeared in Virtuoso Traveler magazine, February 2013.

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The pristine waters of Maldives.