Fall Travel Guide: Custom Weekends: Embrace the Chaise


For the second day in a row, I’m wearing only a plush robe, lounging in a designated “relaxation room” and happily waiting. This time for a facial. Then I’ll have a mellow yoga class, and maybe some time poolside, beneath a gauzy cabana. I’m feeling quite contented with my weekend escape, until the man reclining on the chaise lounge next to mine announces he has been here, to the new Red Door Lifestyle Spa, the past three weekends. “I’m like my vintage Jaguar,” he explains. “I need frequent tune-ups.”

[sidebar]The spa — with its just-short-of-obsessive clientele — is only one part of a $110 million renovation intended to make this suburban Florida resort a destination again. There was a time, mid-century, when Westin’s Bonaventure hotel was the place to be, a refuge for society-weary Miami dwellers, out-for-adventure Fort Lauderdale types and East Coast snowbirds. Then the moment passed, and the 24-acre property fell into disrepair. But those old film-noir motel bones and the tropical greenery have been charmingly maintained. And the golf-course-side property has been transformed into a sparkling Hyatt hotel and conference center, with three restaurants, four pools, and enormous suites with king beds dressed with six overstuffed pillows.

The spa aficionados and conference attendees fill these spacious rooms and the poolside chaise lounges now. But on Sunday mornings, the hotel’s simple brunch buffet draws the grandparent set; they used to be the regulars here.

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