BEST HOTEL Miami 2002 - Biltmore Hotel
1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Readers' Choice: Delano Hotel
Before you enter this 76-year-old landmark, you already know you're close to paradise. The magnificent Giralda Tower, languorously and glamorously lit against the blue-black Florida night sky, is one clue. But as you walk from parking lot to pool area, the smell of jasmine is so heavy you lose your bearings. Where are you? In a world of which you can only dream? Or Miami-Dade's most elegant province? That's right, this is not simply a hotel. This is another universe. You walk through archways and courtyards, click across elaborate tile floors, sit against carved wood and detailed tapestries, and know you are not in Miami anymore. You swim in one of the world's greatest pools. You eat among brilliant pinks and purples of bougainvillea and verdant banana leaves, treated like a member of the old raj. Speaking of colonial treatment, you take high tea indoors in the fabulous lobby, with choices of tea and finger sandwiches that embarrass Harrods. You sit on your private balcony and take in the tropical landscape cleverly disguised as a golf course. Good theater next door at GableStage, spa in the basement. Nooooo, you're not going anywhere.