JW Marriott Miami Turnberry: Renewing a South Florida Classic
It can be difficult to update a classic.
It can be even more difficult to update a classic that’s viewed as the iconic seminal resort in an area that was virtually undeveloped a half-century ago.
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa is the latest incarnation of the storied resort that put Aventura on the map. Roughly halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the area was mostly swampland when developer Donald Soffer began construction on the resort and surrounding condo properties decades ago. Today, the resort is the city’s anchor for longtime repeat visitors, club members and local fans.
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After cycling through a number of different luxury hospitality brands throughout the years, the hotel raised the JW Marriott flag in late 2018. It’s a good brand fit, with large, airy public spaces and intimate cloistered corridors imparting the brand’s utterly residential design sensibility.
Even in a region where the hospitality ethos largely thrives on carefully curated fantasy, moments on property feel almost supernaturally pleasant. Leisurely breakfasts and brunches in Corsair kitchen & bar seem to transfix—it’s difficult to get on with the day when there’s coffee to sip while contemplating views of the lusciously-manicured, Raymond Floyd-designed golf courses teeming with local bird life.
During cocktail hour, the new bar, Soff’s, named for the developer, turns out twists on classic cocktails and modern mixology with a Gatsby-like panache. Expertly crafted martinis arrive in tulip-shaped cut glass goblets to fuel an atmosphere punctuated by lively conversation, and oftentimes live music.
At dinner, Bourbon Steak is an energetic temple of gastronomic excess and from the looks of it, a remarkably popular one. Diners are comfortably seated at tables set in minimalist style amongst towering fresh flower displays and big-city art deco panels. Fantasy continues throughout the menu here, with a playful do-what-you-want ethos coloring the menu.
The traditional bread basket has been replaced by a flight of french fries with dipping sauces, while the cocktail reads like an homage to the mid-century jet setter (delicious is the “From Rio to Honolulu”, a mashup of caipirinha and mai tai served in an enormous rocks glass with a single massive ice cube). The menu is designed to be enjoyed serially, from raw bar to dessert; portions are generous enough to share—the steak accompaniment “crab bearnaise” almost looked like enough to be a whole crab.
Guest rooms are similarly larger-than-life, well-sized for families and long stay guests. Lavish marble baths with soaker tubs and separate stand up showers are a highlight, while many rooms have large balconies with resort or golf course views. JW Marriott’s signature turndown chocolates are also habit-forming.
For even more relaxation, guests can cross the entry court to the separate spa and fitness center building, which houses ame spa & wellness collective. It’s a full-sized fitness center complete with group cycling and other fitness classes, while the expansive spa offers a standard range of treatments with some more uncommon options like the Spa Wave, where a water-filled massage table with acoustic waves to give the feeling of floating. Before and after treatments, wet areas have spa showers, steam and Himalayan Salt rooms.
Rounding off the amenities are a pair of resort pools, tennis courts, pro shops, gift shops and an expansive events center. The next phase of the resort’s renewal will welcome Tidal Cove, a seven-slide water park that will add five acres of pool deck to the resort, including a 4,000 square foot kids’ pool. The water park will also add two more dining options to the resort.
Evolving with the times from a gracious golf resort to a gracious golf resort with a lot more guest rooms, redesigned public spaces, and a new water park, JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa lives up to the inscription on the bar menus at Soff’s: “Paradise is where you make it.”
I’ve seen rates as low as $259 midweek off-peak.
The resort fee is $37 per night plus tax and includes:
High speed Wi-fi
Round-trip transportation to Aventura Mall and beach
Access to Tidal Cove and resort pools
Access to the Relaxation Lounge located on the 2nd floor of the Spa with complimentary light snacks and drinks (for guests 18 and older)
Access to the driving range with unlimited use of range balls
Local and 800 calls
Children 5 years and younger dine off the children’s menu at Corsair free of charge
Evening housekeeping service on request
Shoe shine (provided through the Golf department)
Golf views, entrees in Bourbon Steak, and pool vistas all beg to be photographed and shared.
Good To Know
There is no self-parking at the resort. Valet is the only option for guests with cars.
Corsair’s weekend brunch is lavish – typical brunch items and a dessert table plus an iced raw bar featuring crab claws and peeled shrimp and a selection of entrees to order – it’s a popular local stop, so reservations are recommended.
The salt rooms at the spa aren’t like typical hot saunas – the benefit comes from inhaling the salt-infused air.
Bourbon Steak’s full menu is also available in the bar and lounge, but the full dining room experience makes for a memorable evening.