An endless coastline, rich heritage and spirit of imagination converge in Florida to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle.
Photo courtesy of Fisherland Club
Fisher Island Club
Florida is a kaleidoscope of iconic images, from signature white-sand beaches and championship golf to Miami’s seductive skyline or theme parks encompassing much more than simply a Magic Kingdom. The entire world convenes on this alluring peninsula for every imaginable recreational experience, and its elite residents enjoy unparalleled luxury.
Florida cannot be defined by a single place or attitude, as its communities represent an incredible spectrum of physical and cultural diversity. Some feel a bit like Savannah or Biloxi, others more spiritually akin to Havana, San Juan or Brooklyn with traditions, music and aromas to match the accents. The fourth-generation Pensacola fisherman and the South Beach fashion designer who recently emigrated from Brazil contribute equally to the state’s personality.
With its 1,350 miles of coastline, luxury residential and hospitality developers find Florida irresistible. South Florida, where the Atlantic Coast is almost continuously developed from Miami to Palm Beach, receives the most attention, but beautiful beaches are also found in less congested areas.
Ideal for catching rays are Clearwater Beach outside Tampa and Atlantic Beach near Jacksonville, both offering wide expanses of white sand. The Space Coast’s Cocoa Beach is favored by surfers, while the dune-swept beaches of Amelia Island attract bird-watchers. The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is preferred by amateur ornithologists seeking maximum comfort.
Florida’s Panhandle, whose oceanfront is appropriately referred to as the Emerald Coast, features uncrowded beaches with sugar-white sand. “Distinctly more Southern than South Beach, the area is a throwback to the uncluttered and carefree beach lifestyle of years past,” reports David Merryman, manager of a premier boutique hotel called The Pearl, whose Rosemary Beach locale is reminiscent of New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Photo courtesy of Venjhamin Reyes
The Penthouse at The Mansions at Acqualina
It is impossible to overstate the significance of golf to Floridian culture and economics. The game is almost a religion here, despite competition from major league and high-profile university teams, not to mention watersports. Golf generates $11 billion annually to Florida’s economy, a figure surpassing the state’s portfolio of theme parks. With approximately 1,250 courses, Florida offers more opportunities for duffers than any other state, while touring professionals are attracted to the climate, amenities and absence of state income tax.
Based in Palm Beach Gardens, PGA legend Jack Nicklaus is nearly as dominant in golf course design and development as he was on the links at the height of his career. The Golden Bear has designed courses throughout Florida, including King & Bear in St. Augustine, a collaboration with the late Arnold Palmer. The Bear’s Club in Jupiter features a 40,000-square-foot Tuscan-style clubhouse and $10 million estates line its fairways. In Naples, Nicklaus rival Greg Norman authored two courses at Tiburón Golf Club, paired with a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Luxury homeowners on the barrier islands — they trace Florida’s Atlantic Coast like a string of pearls — enjoy access to both championship golf and the water. Because it occupies a small island, the homes surrounding South Florida’s Indian Creek Country Club are both waterfront and golf course-adjacent, resulting in prices pushing $30 million. Less pricey is the real estate bordering Juno Beach’s Seminole Golf Club, but its membership is so exclusive it reportedly once turned down Nicklaus himself.
State of Design
While influences are imported from other regions, Florida has developed its own signature style, most conspicuous in its architecture. The charismatic skyline of Miami first gained attention during the opening credits of the iconic 1980s series Miami Vice, and things have only accelerated since.
With flashy postmodern buildings and pastel-hued Art Deco jewels, Miami makes other American cities look gray and unimaginative. Celebrity architects from around the world — Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, to name a few — have contributed to the metro area’s skyline, which some experts consider the greatest design laboratory in the world.
Much of Miami’s world-class architecture is driven by a competitive luxury real estate market in which developers use design to sell condos at a premium. In addition to those “starchitects,” residential towers are emblazoned with luxury brands — Aston Martin and Porsche from the automotive world, Armani and Fendi from the fashion world — to increase cachet value. Then-chairman/CEO Pietro Beccari stated at the project launch, “It fully expresses the codes, history and savoir faire that characterize Fendi.”
Further honoring that creative spirit is the 18-block Miami Design District that combines luxury home furnishings (e.g. Bulthaup, Poltrona Frau) with legendary fashion labels Cartier, Versace and Hermès, as well as chic restaurants and the Institute of Contemporary Art’s sleek new digs. The Gulf Coast city of St. Petersburg has created multiple districts to promote local artists and artisans.
Photo courtesy of Bill Sumner
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay
Demand for luxury accommodations has fueled massive investments by premier hospitality brands, including a dozen-plus Ritz-Carlton properties throughout Florida. The Fontainebleau, an iconic landmark in Miami Beach since its debut in 1954, has been reimagined as a trendy, Vegas-style property for a new generation. More laid-back is Little Palm Island Resort & Spa on Little Torch Key, which will soon reopen after Hurricane Irma shuttered it for two-and-a-half years. Pat Colee, founding owner of Noble House Hotels & Resorts, states, “This restoration has been a true labor of love and we believe we’ve maintained the authentic character of Little Palm while ushering in added amenities.”
Historic and stately are The Breakers in Palm Beach, a perennial high society retreat, and Miami’s Fisher Island Club Hotel & Resort, a former Vanderbilt estate located in America’s wealthiest ZIP code, a seven-minute ferry ride from the mainland. CEO Bernard Lackner says of the intimate hotel with private club privileges,
“One of the few true private island sanctuaries, Fisher Island offers a lifestyle rich in leisure and recreational activities, yet just minutes from Miami’s world-class commercial, cultural and culinary offerings.”
In Florida, luxury hospitality companies have experimented with their branding of condominiums, an increasingly popular trend. Fort Lauderdale, once famous for spring break, is the site of a glitzy Four Seasons Private Residences where a 3,965-square-foot unit commands $8.9 million. “Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale has captivated buyers with its beautiful, high-class design and comprehensive lifestyle experience in the yachting capital of the world,” states Nadim Ashi, founder of project developer Fort Partners.
The Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, one of Greater Miami’s most exclusive hotels, offers luxury residences at the Mansions at Acqualina. A $38 million penthouse in that tower includes both a Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini.
Arts & Culture
Most surf-and-sun destinations lack robust art scenes, but Florida’s cultural calendar attracts talent from around the globe. Even laid-back locales offer engaging opportunities such as Coral Springs Museum of Art near Pompano Beach, Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg and the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West. “Culture Builds Florida” is a statewide arts campaign designed to promote these assets.
Art Basel is one of the world’s most prestigious art shows (and celebrity scenes), earning Miami the international stature usually reserved for much larger cities. Year-round, Miami offers the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the stunning Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay while performing arts enthusiasts gather at the César Pelli-designed Adrienne Arsht Center or Gehry-designed New World Center.
Tampa’s Straz Center — it is the largest performing arts venue in the state — has been a catalyst for downtown development. “The slogan ‘Culture Builds Florida’ is true and true for us in the Tampa Bay area as well,” reports Judith Lisi, president & CEO of the Straz Center. “The arts renaissance throughout Florida reflects a statewide sense of wanting more authentic, more alive experiences in local communities,” she says.
Photo courtesy of Bazaar Photo © 2013 Ryan Forbes
The Bazaar on South Beach
With multiple cultures converging in a resort setting, it should be no surprise that the state’s culinary scene is diverse and imaginative. Pioneering chef/activist José Andrés draws inspiration from many sources at The Bazaar South Beach, incorporating foie gras into an elegant riff on Cuban coffee or winking at the Big Apple with a sophisticated, artfully presented interpretation of bagels and lox.
“Another day, another country,” is how Anthony Bourdain once described Miami, citing flavors from Africa, across the Caribbean and throughout Latin America. Florida is a Southern state, so a satisfying bowl of shrimp and grits is never far away, and regardless of cuisine, chefs proudly showcase the bounty of Florida’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen.
The food hall craze has arrived in Florida, with Heights Public Market occupying a former streetcar facility in Tampa and the 50,000-square-foot Central Fare part of a six-block development in Miami incorporating a hub for high-speed Virgin Trains. Those trains are intended to make it easier for Floridians to traverse their state, akin to Europeans whisking through the French countryside on the high-speed TGV. In Orlando, a future Virgin destination, dining options include Bull & Bear, an elegant steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria, and acclaimed Luma on Park.
Celebrity chefs like Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina are flocking to Florida. Joining them is New York’s Michelin-starred John Fraser, who is bringing The Loyal, his American brasserie concept, to an ambitious new development in Miami. “Esplanade at Aventura felt like the perfect fit because they’re creating an approachable upscale culinary experience that not only captures the essence of what I try to do, but also allows me to present my craft to an entirely new audience,” reports Fraser.
The Aventura Mall was already one of the premier shopping/dining destinations in Miami, and the adjoining Esplanade demonstrates the confidence its developer, Seritage Growth Properties, has in the local economy. “Esplanade’s exciting and diverse offerings will truly resonate with both the local population and the large number of international visitors in this market,” says Meghan Kruger, senior vice president of leasing for Seritage.
Photo courtesy of José Andrés
Open for Business
Florida is big business, and if the Sunshine State was a nation, its $1 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) would be eclipsed by only 16 countries. Tourism has an annual economic impact of more than $85 billion, but the Florida economy is much more diverse than manicured fairways, white-sand beaches and theme parks.
Aerospace, which arrived with the Space Program, continues to be an economic engine, with aircraft and related parts now being the state’s number one export. With long growing seasons, agriculture contributes even more to the state’s economy than tourism, and it is not just citrus (in fact, Florida’s most exported commodity is meats). Greater Orlando’s economy is no longer dominated by Mickey and Minnie, and its burgeoning technology community contributes $12.5 billion per year to its economy.
Another accelerating business sector statewide is health science, best represented by the world-class Scripps Research Institute in Palm Beach County. Florida’s growing economic influence naturally translates into greater demand for luxury amenities and residences.
Through a long-winding and manicured driveway, off of the Old Highway on Plantation Key in Islamorada, FL, this villa sits on two acres facing the Atlantic Ocean. With 170 feet of shoreline with deep water dockage, a boat lift and a sandy beach, it is a rare find in the Florida Keys.
The home features 8,226 square feet of living space with three levels offering six bedrooms, four and one half baths and an additional one bedroom en suite on the ground level. It also showcases an imperial staircase, gourmet kitchen, private verandas, a custom-built living room entertainment center, sub-zero Viking appliances, Versace designed lighting, and a master suite with a grand balcony. “The chef’s kitchen is our favorite room because you can entertain friends, while looking out towards the beach and ocean — watching swimmers and beach volleyball players,” says Cynthia Hughes of Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, who is listing the property for $6.995 million.
The distinctive features of this home consist of exquisite wood and marble floors, eight-foot high solid wood doors, ironwork fixture, imported stone from Mexico, architecturally designed ceilings, and custom crafted furnishings. Additionally, each bathroom is tiled in exotic marble and mosaics, and the walls are finished with Italian-inspired, hand-drawn paintings. No detail has been missed. “This home has an old world charm with a relaxed coastal feel,” says Hughes.
Outdoors, enjoy a heated infinity pool with adjacent spa and a grilling area for the perfect outdoor host.
“This home is perfect for anyone who wants to share their island living with family and friends,” says Hughes.
Come home to Sunset Paradise!
This exquisite new construction estate will excite the discerning buyer who is looking for quality, uniqueness and all the beauty the Florida Keys has to offer.
Two fantastic homes totaling 7 bedrooms and 8.5 baths situated on 2.75 acres of private property with expansive views of the gorgeous Florida Bay.
Nestled among the lush tropical landscape, this property will not disappoint.
The main house features 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms of solid concrete construction, elevator, gourmet kitchen and many high-end features.
The guest cottage was renovated to feature 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, living room and kitchen all tastefully designed and decorated.
Fantastic house! Beautiful finishes and décor!
Stunning – no comparison!
Perfection! Great location for accessing bay and ocean!
1814 Roland Street, Sarasota, Florida
Majestic 2.5-acre, gated residence on Sarasota’s Intracoastal Waterway. Six en suite bedrooms allow homeowners to enjoy the grandeur of their own private Sarasota getaway.
Features include a gym, upstairs kitchenette, wine cellar, and entertainment room with antique bar from early 1900s France. The pool area boasts travertine, an outdoor kitchen, and sauna. The open kitchen/butler’s pantry incorporates all current culinary conveniences.
6 bedrooms, 6 full and 3 half baths
Represented by: Sindy Carr, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
Listings by Kim & Jennifer
725 Ponte Vedra Boulevard
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
5BR | 3BA | 2,404 sq. ft. 725PonteVedraBoulevard.com
Contact Kim & Jennifer for a private showing.
Water Pointe Realty Group
3727 S. East Ocean Blvd. Suite 100 Stuart, FL 34996
772.283.3330 | Deb@WaterPointe.com | www.DebraDuvall.com
Debra Duvall, a resident of Florida’s Treasure Coast since 1965, is a leader in the marketing and sales of luxury and waterfront residential properties. Entering the real estate field in 1981, Debra combines her hands-on, historical knowledge of the region with a determination to offer unparalleled sales, marketing, and relocation/absentee services. As a partner of Water Pointe Realty Group, an independent, locally-owned real estate firm, which is a member of numerous national and international networks, specializing in residential, investment, development, luxury and waterfront properties, she ensures that all of her clients are properly represented. Debra’s personal and professional success is built on a firm foundation of experience, education, integrity, and dedication to service.
Listing by Debra Duvall
Private Island Lifestyle
From the moment you arrive, you’ll instantly forget that life exists beyond this tropical oasis! A casual style main house and guest cottage sit on 3.4-plus acres with 2,700 feet of shoreline, white sandy beaches, and just minutes to the ocean! Close to downtown dining, shopping, a private executive airport and only 45 minutes to an international airport.
Peter Barkin & Mark Gilman
Compass, Barkin-Gilman Group
Peter Barkin and Mark Gilman have been successfully supporting the real estate dreams of buyers and sellers in South Florida for more than 20 years. In 2002, Peter and Mark teamed together to create the Barkin-Gilman Group, a highly respected and successful brand within the South Florida real estate community.
Listing by Peter Barkin & Mark Gilman
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
There are 2-bedroom and 3-bedrooms available at the beautiful development, as well as dockage.
Starting at $1,395,000.
No other property would be better suited for an issue devoted to prestige properties than the palatial waterfront mansion in Coral Gables, Florida, featured on our cover. It’s not often family, Miami and a palatial residence are mentioned in this same sentence, but that’s what makes this property is so spectacular.
The gated community of Gables Estates offers the ultimate in security, including patrols on the water. It’s not unusual to see children out on bikes and neighbors walking dogs here. Nearby are some of the best schools in the Miami. That’s one of many reasons why those who know the area see Gables Estates as one of the best neighborhoods, explains Sandra Fiorenza with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, who is representing the property.
The 14,443 square foot residence itself offers a huge measure of security with concrete construction and windows that exceed hurricane standards. The exterior is clad with marble, and the same stone — all from a single source — is used on covered balconies and lanais that overlook an inﬁ nity pool and the blue of the wide lagoon. Inside, light dances throughout the home. A neutral palate becomes an ideal backdrop to showcase exquisite details such as Venetian plaster and carved plaster moldings, marble columns and stone carvings. The overall effect is elegant and restrained.
An extensive master suite with his and her bathrooms occupies one wing of the second ﬂoor with an additional four en-suite bedrooms in an opposite wing. The home also has two ofﬁces, private staff quarters and a wine cellar. The site on the largest lagoon in Gables Estates also offers access to deep water and the ocean. With a new seawall and 140-foot dock, this could be the ultimate Miami home, as well as a perfect family compound. It’s easy to see why those who know the area see Gables Estates as one of the best places to call home. This Ultimate compound is priced at $25.9 million.
In Sarasota, Florida, this home is elevating the standard of luxury, waterfront living.
1309 Vista Drive in Sarasota, Florida, is a gated French Country private estate located right on the bay. It was built in 2015 on the 1.5-acre-plus property.
Located in one of Sarasota’s most coveted neighborhoods, Harbor Acres, the property is just as close to the bay as it is to the bustling downtown district filled with restaurants and retail stores. The perfect blend of old-world charm and modern Florida luxury.
The interior of the home includes a La Cornue gourmet kitchen, imported French stone floors and cabinetry. But the quality doesn’t end inside — with over 244 feet of direct bayfront on the property, you can enjoy the water every day of the year.
1309 Vista Drive in Harbor Acres, being a perfect blend of French charm and modern style, is the quintessential home of the neighborhood and surrounding area.
Photos courtesy of 1309 Vista Drive.
For those who love consistently warm weather throughout the year, Florida is known for its tropical, relaxed atmosphere. The palm trees and sunny days transport you to the Caribbean — especially in a residential amenity like Laguna Solé.
Laguna Solé is a massive 7-acre, man-made swimming lagoon large enough to fit 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The crystal clear water imitates the Caribbean while its ultrasonic filtration system uses 100 times fewer chemicals than a regular pool.
The lagoon is located in the heart of Solé Mia, known for being the “city within a city” that’s being built by two of the most powerful real estate dynasties in America, the LeFraks and Soffers. The LeFraks developed LeFrak City in New York and Newport, New Jersey, while the Soffers are known for developing much of what Miami is today.
The lagoon is accessible by residents and guests of the Shoreline, Solé Mia’s newest two residential towers located right next to the lagoon.
The $4 billion city of Solé Mia is known for its residential amenities that are elevating the standard of residential living — and Laguna Solé is the most recent and extravagant example.
Photos courtesy of Solé Mia.