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The Standard Spa, Miami Beach, Fl
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
October 18, 2007 Bookmark and Share

With hindsight, in years to come, it might prove to be one of those pivotal moments of life.  There we were, floating on our backs in the Standard’s sound pool, an infinity pool facing the Bay and the Miami skyline, as the sun set in shades of lavender and pink between strips of cotton cloud—and without saying as much, it might’ve hit us, right then, that perhaps we don’t miss Manhattan so much as we sometimes think we do. 

Sometimes it takes a local, someone more local than we think we are.  Someone who takes you to a place you might have heard about—and yet, for some reason, a place to which you’ve not yet found your way.  It was Miamiambient@The Standard, their sexy Thursday night event, whereby outside guests (aka locals) can use the Standard’s sublime spa facilities for a mere ten dollars.  Check in at the spa, hand over the ten—and in return, you receive a lovely white terrycloth waffle robe and a key to a personal locker.  From then on, you’re on your own: free to wander the spa and wellness center, and the Standard’s lush landscaped grounds. 

There’s much to see.  We started at the hamam, a beautiful circular room evoking the Roman baths, featuring heated marble alcoves, and belly stone, and steel soaking tubs.  From there, it was into the aromatic steam room, fragranced with mint.  We cooled down beneath the cold rain shower—and then headed into the cedar sauna.  All around us, lithe and lovely people were wandering in various states of undress, their robes left hanging on hooks along the hallways.  As tempting as it was to linger longer in this sensuous sanctuary, we found our robes again—and headed out into the balmy night.

Along the bay, people sipped cocktails and herbal tonics.  People in white robes and Buddhists in native dress wandered the grounds: through the shady swing circle and past the garden fire lounge.  We slipped into the pool as the sun slid behind the Miami skyline.  It was one of those gradual pools—where you walk in at ankle-length and keep walking until you’re in over your head.  Behind us was a twelve-foot high falling water column—with a row of people below letting the water work the tension from their necks and shoulders.  We floated in bliss.  Voices murmured around us.  A boat slid along the water. 

Later, we took the Arctic plunge, into 50-degree water—and then immersed ourselves in the Roman waterfall hot tub.  After that, it was time for a drink—and so we oozed over to the Bayside Grill, and in our white fluffy waffle robes, we sat bayside with cocktails and ordered quasi-spa cuisine: farro, with rosemary and parmesan, and seasonal vegetables a la plancha, as well as white beans and corn.  And meanwhile, all around us, people in white robes floated by, sated, and perhaps sedated, and seemingly totally satisfied.

At evening’s end, we felt as relaxed as if we’d been on a transatlantic cruise. Mixing the best parts of a spa regime with elements of environmental activism (thanks to the programming of ECOMB (Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach)), Thursday nights at the Standard enable one to feel both rejuvenated and virtuous.  A nearly unbeatable combination for a Thursday night in Miami Beach.

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