By Special Correspondent SNOWBIRD
Reverse Marketing 101 teaches us that it's OK to imply that a business is open when it isn't because it builds up the "buzz." Then, when you're ready, just announce the grand opening by saying that it's a "secret." Case Study #1: The Miami Standard. Andre Balazs' newest hotel finally did open and the Snowbird stayed in room 24. To keep that "buzz" going, I should tell you that it's not totally finished, i.e., no restaurant, no bar, no room service and no soap dish. It's off the beaten track (not on Collins Avenue) but the setting on the west side of Miami Beach on Belle Isle is beautiful. The two wings spread out in "V" shape back toward Biscayne Bay with landscaped gardens, a giant heated pool and whirlpool/waterfall plus a boat dock to park your yacht. Almost all the rooms ($150 to $750 for a suite) have verandahs with billowing curtains and some have outdoor bathtubs. The whole place has a vaguely Scandinavian vibe but the real reason to stay here is the enormous spa that takes up almost the entire second and third floors of the main building. It is really spectacular and has everything including a full gym, yoga rooms, cedar sauna, mud lounge, a hamam, acupuncture, and "therapists and healers to help you." The six treatment rooms are so well equipped you could probably schedule some minor surgery. All of this is good news for locals who can sign up for yearly memberships and take advantage of the place every day. The hotel is peaceful, welcoming and unique -- and they'll even give you a ride over to the Raleigh if you can't stand the tranquility.