We used to live in Hawaii. The first thing we said when we walked in is it’s very Polynesian. The fire dancer on the beach reminds me of a luau. It’s very authentic.” IAN FINLEY, a visitor from West Palm Beach
The resort combines the feel of a distant, exotic land with extreme luxury. The high-peaked ceiling running the length of the lobby has a crisp white and brown giraffe motif. The print is repeated subtly throughout the hotel with white lines on sheer white drapes and irregular-size glossy marble slabs on the floor. Korals sushi restaurant off the lobby features a series of more than 40 pieces of smooth, curved wood stretching from floor to ceiling around the bar that replicate mangrove roots. At Ario, which specializes in dry aging meat, lights hang like crystal stalactites. The SPA by JW has furnishings of natural burled wood among pebbled walls and stone floors. It also boasts its own pool and a hot tub of mineral waters with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. Palm trees grow in and around the JW’s main pool. More than 20 thatched-roof chickee huts dot the white sandy beach where a fire dancer entertains a circle of guests every night at sunset. “We used to live in Hawaii. The first thing we said when we walked in is it’s very Polynesian,” said Ian Finlay, who came with his wife and boys from West Palm Beach to celebrate son Kylar’s 14th birthday. “The fire dancer on the beach reminds me of a luau. It’s very authentic.” Nine-year-old Keian appreciated how the fire dancer patiently posed for pictures with everyone on the beach and the slides in the second pool. “I found the staff very friendly, very helpful,” added Leslie Finlay.
At left, the second floor lobby overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Photograph courtesy of JW Marriott Resort