Upon arrival at Miami International Airport, I was greeted by a chauffeur who made my experience all the more memorable, as he recalled tales of his beloved home city with charisma and charm. The jovial welcome didn’t stop there; the weather was delightfully warm, the architecture was splendidly colourful and the contemporary art scene seemed to thrive around every corner. Miami certainly left its mark on me, yet it wasn’t until I visited the Everglades that I experienced the true divergent beauty of this American state. Miles upon miles of fauna-rich grasslands stretched before me, as I stood atop the Shark Valley viewpoint towards the north of the National Park. The sugar-sand beaches, the exuberant cities and even the nostalgic Peter Pan experiences at the legendary theme parks – Florida provides you with all of that and more, and that is what makes it so captivating.
Pearlescent shorelines, metropolitan delights and Peter Pan experiences aplenty – luxury Florida holidays are simply a rollercoaster experience. With its tropical climate, 5 star beach resorts and expansive golden coastlines, it’s easy to see why Florida is coined the Sunshine State. From the affluent Palm Beach to the historic Naples Pier, Florida offers a wealth of different experiences for every type of discerning traveller. The focus turns to theme park adventures further inland, where the city of Orlando is the destination of choice for a fun-filled luxury family holiday. From Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to Universal Orlando, 5 star Disney hotels and high-adrenaline theme park adventures stretch over 15 miles; embark on a safari tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, experience the magic of Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or take on The Incredible Hulk ride at the Islands of Adventure. The ultra-modern meets 1920s Art Deco in Miami, where illuminated skyscrapers set the backdrop for Miami Beach and pastel-hued conch houses line the streets of Ocean Drive and beyond. Miami’s personality is just as vibrant as its architecture; the palm-lined shopping district of Bal Harbour is the place to visit for designer shopping in elegant surroundings, whilst for a taste of contemporary art, visit the colourful Wynwood Art District for revered art galleries, eclectic design shops and urban street art in abundance. Afar from the cosmopolitan charms of Miami, Florida’s divergent islands and flourishing national parks are teeming with wildlife, fauna and countless opportunities for adventure. As the sport fishing capital of the world, the Islamorada islands in the Florida Keys are best experienced upon a fishing boat, in a seafood restaurant or diving beneath the crystal clear waters rich with marine life. Nature enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in Everglades National Park; relax upon a pontoon boat or explore by foot to spot turtles, crocodiles and exotic birds.
Dylan Jones, Editor of GQ, travelled with Carrier to Miami and the Florida Keys. Read the coverage here.
With perennial sunshine and long days, Florida is a holiday destination to visit all year-round. The state is warm and dry in the winter and hot and humid in the summer, when short, heavy showers can be expected. Families who are tied to the school holidays should ideally aim to book at least a year in advance in order to take advantage of the best airfares and hotel availability. Palm Beach is also popular around the school holiday seasons.
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Carrier has been tailoring holidays worldwide for over 35 years and has firmly established its reputation as one of the leaders in the luxury holiday market. We have been voted ‘Favourite Tour Operator’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine more times than any other company in the past decade, and have been featured in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Top 10 Tour Operators for 2016. Carrier has also won several national travel industry accolades, including ‘Luxury Tour Operator of the Year’ from TTG Luxury and Advantage Travel Centres.
Why settle for ordinary when you can have extraordinary? The best suites in some of the world’s plushest hotels, the first choice of flight seats, attention to detail, no restrictions or limitations - how luxury holidays should be. Your holiday desires are well taken care of, whether you wish to learn new life skills while training with a Bodyism expert, or uncovering centuries-old bushmen secrets in Botswana with expert safari guides. Children can follow the life of a panda keeper one day and cook dinner with a Beijing housewife the next. Carrier can make it happen.
From Magic Kingdom Park to Discovery Cove, Orlando is undoubtedly the nerve centre of theme park thrills. Yet to say that Orlando is only a destination of fantasy and adventure would be underestimating its diverse appeal. After an exhilarating day of exploring the parks, indulge in a sumptuous beauty treatment at one of Orlando’s premier spas; the spa at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando bases its treatments upon the citrus fruits of Florida. Style-conscious individuals will love the Mall at Millenia – a luxury shopping mall featuring the likes of Gucci and Jimmy Choo. If you’re seeking an oasis of calm from the city, then escape to captivate the senses at the Harry P. Leu Gardens – one of Florida’s most beautiful botanical gardens.
Blessed with hundreds of miles of sugar white sands, this is the place to snorkel, boogie board and enjoy the sybaritic seafront vibe. Prepare for up-close animal encounters at Busch Gardens®; take an open safari truck around Serengeti Plain, explore child-friendly treetop trails or experience the thrilling rollercoasters on your luxury family holiday. The Everglades wetlands preserve offers a wealth of attractions, from airboat tours to exciting shows at Gator Park.
Playground of the affluent, the Gold Coast offers boutique shopping experiences, picturesque golf courses and yacht-dotted shores in abundance. In Palm Beach, a leisurely stroll down Worth Avenue is recommended simply for the immaculate surroundings; discover gourmet restaurants with European flair nestled amongst designer shops. If you’re interested in equestrian sports, pay a visit to the charming village of Wellington – acclaimed for its international polo events.
Effortlessly chic and rich with culture, the South Beach neighbourhood abounds with fine ocean-side restaurants, contemporary art galleries and candy-coloured 1920s architecture; hours can be spent simply savouring a refreshing beverage whilst watching the roller-skaters glide by. Explore the Florida Keys by car to discover the captivating charms of each island; Key Largo is treasured for its aquatic sports, whilst Key West and Marathon Key exude a laid-back vibe. Marine-based activities include kayaking, snorkelling and scuba-diving – perfect for thrill-seekers and leisure-seekers alike.