I found it in Miami! Being a frequent cruiser, I had seen the sign for Fisher Island many times, but now we were actually pulling into the ferry departure area. (This resort really is the perfect choice for a pre or post-cruise stay- it is located right next to the port of Miami.)
This exclusive resort, accessible only by ferry, yacht or sea plane, makes a wonderful first impression. The waiting area for the ferry was pristine, and well-guarded; in fact, the guards carried our luggage for us – a nice way to begin the journey.
A few minutes later we arrived at the Fisher Island Club – with a total of only 45 rooms (6 courtyard villas with secluded patios, 3 cottages 1 guest house with 6 rooms, and the rest are apartments). Upon arrival, a golf cart quickly whisked us away to these very exclusive and luxurious accommodations.
What a gorgeous mansion, set in the midst of an overgrown tropical forest! The banyan trees literally make up the gorgeous outdoor lobby, where there is also an old world restaurant overlooking the sea and the pool.
I absolutely loved this resort: Everything you could want is here – sumptuous dining, a beautiful private beach, championship golf and tennis, a spa and fitness center, and gorgeous cottages… a truly spectacular vacation experience.
Planning a visit? Here are my notes on what to expect from your fabulous stay:
The Villa – We stayed in a courtyard villa- our beautiful abode was nestled in a grove of tropical trees. These lovely accommodations offered a blend of old-world luxury (e.g. antique-style wooden floors) with contemporary updates. All the “creature comforts” you could wish for were found both inside the villa and in the courtyard. A beautiful, oversized old-world ceramic tub offered the ultimate soaking experience; the shower was every bit as luxurious, with strong water pressure that was second to none. Just as tranquil – the four-poster bed, guaranteed to offer sweet tropical dreams.
Could this be heaven on earth?
In the overgrown tropical courtyard, a sunken hot tub was surrounded by relaxing lounge chairs and a marvelous view. And just outside the court yard…a parking area and charging station for our golf cart, our means of ready transportation throughout the island.
The beach and pool – The private beach boasts beautiful white sand imported from the Bahamas (as it is not found naturally in Florida). It is a perfect venue for those who wish to sun bathe, enjoy a leisurely swim, or wander up the beach in search of shells (or romance). For those preferring a swimming pool to the ocean, the resort offers one of the nicest & warmest pools you’ll find anywhere, just a few steps from both the lobby and the beach.
The restaurants – there are 7 eateries on the island, including an open-air restaurant (“The Beach Club, with “Floridian Cuisine”, sunset and sushi bar) in between the pool and the beach and 3 restaurants located in the mansion. The hearty seafood soups were – hands-down – the best we have ever had, anywhere. The crab Louis salad had perhaps 2 lobster tails and tons of crab (and again, we don’t say this very often), were perhaps the best salad ever. (Too bad we did not have a chance to try the other eateries!)
Golf and Tennis – Fisher Island’s Championship Golf Course is a spectacular, recently renovated seaside golf course with a driving range and a charming Clubhouse. A golfer’s dream. The island also boasts 18 tennis courts, with many different styles, including a grass court… perfect for the tennis aficionado.
The History (courtesy of the Club itself… an interesting story)
Carl Graham Fisher, known for his development of Miami Beach, also purchased this wedge of land with coconut palms and mangroves cast adrift in Biscayne Bay.
“Fifteen years before his death, Fisher’s path crossed that of William Kissam Vanderbilt II, eldest son of William K. Vanderbilt and great-grandson of famed “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. Fisher coveted Vanderbilt’s 250-foot yacht, the “Eagle.” But no less than Vanderbilt, an avid sportsman and frequent visitor to Miami and Key West, desired Fisher’s property on Biscayne Bay. “My island for your boat,” Fisher proposed. Vanderbilt promptly accepted. So was the legendary trade.
In 1925 with initial deed in hand, America’s richest sportsman set about fashioning a $1.5 million private retreat rivaled by few in the world. He built with a Mediterranean-style mansion facing the Atlantic Ocean, where he and his wife Rosamund enjoyed a long storied history entertaining the luminaries of its time.
Vanderbilt encircled his state mansion with lush landscaping, gracious guest houses, tennis courts, swimming pools and a nine-hole golf course.
Today, 81 years later, it has been restored to its former grandeur. And in the process it has become a world-class private island residential community and exclusive club where distinguished members enjoy the lovely Vanderbilt Mansion’s main Club, its charming ocean side private Beach Club and other intimate restaurants, its superb Mediterranean-inspired Tennis Center, its lovely circa 1925 cottages and guest suites, its elaborate deep-sea water marinas, stunning championship golf course and spectacular Spa Internazionale.”
This lovely resort is in the midst of a renaissance and renovation: there have been recent improvements to golf and tennis amenities, and to the Café Porto Cervo. There is also a spa renovation slated for later this spring, scheduled for completion in 2012. Rest assured, however, that lovely temporary facilities will be in place, so that visitors can experience all the spa amenities that are currently offered. And for a step into history, stay at the recently renovated Rosemary’s Cottage, a private sanctuary created for Vanderbilt’s independently-minded daughter.
The bottom line? I can’t recommend Fisher Island Club enough; it provides distinctive amenities and a truly “Members Only” vacation experience. The experience will truly be one that you will never, ever, forget.
Looking to book this resort? Please call Ross Spaulding at CrownCruiseCollections– he and his family have owned a villa on Fisher Island, and he is an expert in detailing what you will receive with this vacation. You can reach Ross at 1 (609) 945-9803- or toll free at 877. 283.1114
Or, feel free to email me personally at HShane@CruiseCompete.com– I would love to hear your thoughts about Fisher Island Club.
Warmest wishes, Heidi