You know you are in the right place, when you get goose bumps as you drive down the elegant driveway of the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, Florida. My husband and I spent my birthday weekend at my favorite resort. I have been smiling since we arrived at the property due to the excellent tennis experience, the relaxing Spa treatments, the many wonderful attributes of the resort, and to the ladies and gentlemen of the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, who made my birthday weekend, special!
We arrived at the resort Saturday morning, just in time to participate in the morning Adult tennis clinic. We checked in, and the Pro Shop immediately knew who we were, before we were able to say our names. The women checking us in said, “welcome back and happy birthday!” As we walked out of the Pro Shop to the tennis courts, Max, the Director of Tennis at the Cliff Drysdale Tennis, came up to us and said, “Cynthia and William, welcome back!” At that point, we were beaming. We knew we were going to have a great weekend.
As usual, the tennis drills were outstanding. One of the reasons we keep coming back to this resort is because of the structured tennis clinics. The Pro shop is well run, and the tennis program is very strong. It is a testament that each time we return, the locals are at the clinic, and you can expect a very high level of tennis instruction.
What is so special about the program is that all the tennis Pros are highly energetic and are very inviting. When you leave the tennis courts, you want to come back for more. Some, like Max and Matt have been there for over 4 years. The great thing about them and their crew, is that they are just as positive and energetic as ever. Each rotation on the court promises equal enthusiasm. The Pros love to push you to your next level of tennis. Whether a beginner or advanced, the program is successful because of the individuals who run it. While you are warming up, Max will walk around and assess the different skill levels, and then talks to the other Pros about the groupings for the day.
This year’s visit was unique, due to July’s rain showers. The courts were not playable on Monday morning, as it had showered and washed out the courts. The tennis crew worked hard and were able to have almost all the courts playable. We thought we would be the only ones at the clinic; but, contrary, all the courts were filled at the start of the clinic.
Some of our New Jersey friends often ask us to go to a popular New York tennis camp for a weekend. Our response is that if we are going to go to a tennis camp, we are going to the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne. Not only do you leave the courts each day, exhausted from hitting so many balls and feeling like you have developed more tennis skills, you then can relax the rest of the day at our favorite piece of paradise, The Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne.
The most amazing birthday weekend at The Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, Florida!
After our first morning on the tennis courts, with Max and his crew, we headed over to the Resort property to check in. As we often do, we stayed on the club level of this resort. It was great to see all the familiar faces at the resort. First, if you have the chance, stay in an ocean front room. We noticed right away that the room had been recently renovated. The view was spectacular. The beautiful landscaping of the Ritz Carlton transitions nicely into the inviting ocean. We could not wait to relax Oceanside after our morning work out on the tennis courts.
When we returned to our room, we found a lovely surprise. A beautiful birthday cake with tennis racquets and tennis balls, accompanied by a bottle of champagne with a birthday card signed by some of the hotel staff. It looked too nice to eat, but we did!
The evening got better. We were on our way to the Cantina, for a light dinner by the ocean, but as we got off the elevator, we heard familiar music. I looked at William and said, I think the band is playing now. We thought that they would start an hour later. We immediately went to the lounge, and found our seat in front of our favorite cuban band, The Grupo Nostalgia. An improvement at the resort was the addition of the dance floor in front of the band (we used to have to dance around the chairs on the carpet).
When we decided to order from the menu, the waitress asked us our names. As we uttered our last name, she finished our sentence. She said welcome and happy birthday. I was truly astonished. We had a great time dancing merengue, cha cha, rumba and salsa. After the band returned from a break, they started playing a cha cha. I said, let’s dance. William said, wait a minute. All of a sudden they started singing “Happy birthday…cha cha cha….” It was awesome. Our waitress and the manager brought out a gluten free birthday cake with a candle, and everyone sang to me. What a great birthday! We stayed until the last song. A funny story: When I left the room for a brief moment, the mother of the bride to be party, next to us, came over to William and asked him if we were newlyweds. She said, our party was just wondering because we saw you dancing. When I came back, William shared that with me. I was beaming because with William, I always feel like a newlywed. Truly, the Grupo Nostalgia band is another great reason why we return to the Key Biscayne, Ritz Carlton!
After an evening of dancing, and then more tennis the following morning, I was set for my Spa appointment. I booked a relaxing massage for one day and then a facial for our last day. The Spa had been recently updated, with relaxing Jacuzzi in each lounge, with steam rooms. The locker rooms were super clean and spacious. The services I received at the Spa were excellent. I would highly recommend a spa treatment as part of your resort experience.
It was very hard to leave this wonderful resort to go home. Everyone made us feel welcome, and we look forward to returning to our favorite resort!
Traveling tip: Whenever you are celebrating a birthday/anniversary, let the Hotel know when you book your stay. It doesn't guarantee that you will receive any special treatment, however just a "Happy Birthday" when you don't expect it can make your day!
Second tip: When you stay at The Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, ask if the band is playing and when. If you have a chance to listen and dance in the Lobby of this property, it is truly a special evening!