There is only a handful of activities I can experience with my elderly mother that is mutually enjoyable. Such was my dilemma on my most recent visit to South Florida, timed around my mother's 90th birthday, which happened to fall the day before Mother's Day.
A visit to the Standard Spa in Miami Beach seemed the perfect way to wind down a hectic week of celebrations with out-of-town family members and close friends. Facilitating parties, congratulatory phone calls, FaceTimes, and other social interactions proved exhausting for me and, after two years of COVID solitude, was complete sensory overload for Mom.
So after it was all "said and done", we found ourselves at the Standard. We may never have known about this jewel had it not been for Dennis, the operations manager, who is also a dear friend of Mom. He booked a 60-minute treatment for each of us on the cusp of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, one of the busiest weekends here.
A throw-back to deco days
Tucked away on Belle Isle, right before the Venetian Causeway bridge, the property from the outside is a throwback to Miami's art deco days. Mom immediately pointed out the upside-down lettering, which of course is intentional, but a mistake to her. We waited only a few minutes to valet the car ($30 for three hours, plus tax). Thus began our "countdown" to enjoying the facilities.
The unassuming lobby only hinted at the luxury about to unfold. We were directed to an elevator ride up to the third floor to check in for our treatments. After a quick registration with signed waivers, we were provided plush robes to change into (we wore our swimsuits and waterproof sandals). A brief tour via a dark tunnel-like passageway into the co-ed wet areas and relaxation stations gave us a preview with which to plan our post-massage time. A Turkish-style hammam with heated marble tiers and pedestals; hydrotherapy tubs; rain showers; steam room; salt sauna; ice room (no thanks!) and a relaxation room overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Lockers and dressing rooms, unfortunately, were not easily accessible, down a full flight of stairs, too much for Mom. (Elevator access is available, although not directly accessible to the changing areas). I told Mom to change in the treatment room and headed down to stash our stuff. A glitch in the lock mechanism, however, required an attendant to open it later for me. (A minor inconvenience.)
A complete therapeutic release
My therapist, Evelyn, led me from reception to the treatment room, typically equipped, clean, and inviting. Soft new wave melodies helped put me fully at ease, as Evelyn quizzed me on my injuries and pressure preferences. She also asked if I was okay with her touching my head, feet, and other areas, before proceeding with my "Hurts So Good" deep muscle massage ($228 + 20% gratuity). Skilfully applying her Thai-infused techniques, Evelyn gently stretched and prodded me in all the right places, leaving me completely relaxed and satisfied.
In another room, Alexandra provided Mom with a standard massage ($216 + tip), with all the same considerations. I met Mom afterward, and she praised her masseuse, both face-to-face and privately. (Mom rarely gives accolades to others when they are not in sight unless she means it.) I was grateful Alexandra was gentle and brought Mom some relief from her ongoing joint pain and arthritis.
Our visit included access to the indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy "playgrounds", which I longed to linger in. After our massages, I sat Mom down in the relaxation room to enjoy the views while I indulged in the Hammam. There were only a few other patrons this afternoon, which allowed me a peaceful retreat. Steam, sauna, and shower later, I joined Mom for a restful recovery overlooking the Bay.
Next time I'll stay longer
With impending rush hour traffic, and time ticking away at our parking window, we did a brief tour of the outside pool and Lido Bayside Grill. I made a mental note of the idyllic setting and vowed to return for a more leisurely experience or even an overnight stay in one of the charming bayside rooms equipped with a private lanai. A serene setting for an adult-only vacation or special occasion. I also enjoyed browsing The Shop, which offered an eclectic selection of swimwear and iconic clothing for a stylish emersion on SoBe or nearby Wynwood.
A delightful day overall, I fully endorse the Standard and its expert staff. Even the concierge was exceedingly helpful, escorting Mom to the restroom (twice) and touring us around the property. My only regret is not spending more time enjoying it all!