Well worth the Journey: 4 Seasons Resort at The Surf Membership

The unique Surf Membership, relegated to light occasion photos from the Thirties or ‘40s, could look like a fraction of the misplaced Florida dream: the times of events in a ballroom with Noel Coward or Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Frank Sinatra, the duke and duchess of Windsor. A personal social membership for the wealthy and well-known north of Miami Seashore in sleepy little Surfside, the Surf Membership was the brainchild of tire tycoon Harvey Firestone and designed by Russell T. Pancoast as an unique oceanfront refuge in addition to a spot for “correct impropriety.”

It opened on New 12 months’s Eve 1930, and the elegant shenanigans started, from elephants parading down the grand Peacock Alley entrance, to a themed Arctic occasion with 300 tables made out of ice.


Begin your indulgent weekend with an indulgent transport mode: Brightline premier service from the brand new Boca station to the brand new Aventura station, and an uber from there to the Surf Membership.

Because the world—and Miami—modified within the ‘60s and past, the Surf Membership remained a longstanding non-public membership (however with out the elephants), a Mizner-esque Mediterranean bastion of sedate generational memberships and youngsters’s pool events—and, after all, the well-known cabana life, which was on the middle of all of it.

What was left of the Florida dream, although, was reborn with dramatic audacity and elegance in 2017 when Nadim Ashi, founding father of Fort Companions, purchased the nine-acre property fronting a turquoise sweep of ocean.

Entrance to The Surf Membership

Ashi teamed up with Parisian inside architect Joseph Dirand, designer Kobi Karp and architect Richard Meier to remodel the membership into its new iteration, three 12-story glass towers that disappear seamlessly into the blue Miami sky, cradling the unique Surf Membership at their base. The lodge, operated by the 4 Seasons, numbers 77 visitor rooms and 30 lodge residences and 121 non-public residential residences in a configuration that floats above the gracious historic membership like a glass beacon.

A recent style of native seafood

Preserving that dream of the Surf Membership expertise is now mixed with an impeccable modernist luxurious that’s beautiful all through.

In upstairs visitor rooms, floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doorways open to a large blue view of surf and sky; downstairs, all the unique appointments have been restored and honored, from the high-beamed vaulted ceilings, the grand colonnades and fireplaces, the unique murals and tile flooring. Each the property’s signature eating places—The Surf Membership Restaurant by Chef Thomas Keller and Lido Restaurant and Terrace by Chef Michael White—now occupy what was as soon as the ballroom; the beautiful Champagne Bar is a centerpiece. Most significantly, the core of the Surf Membership legacy—the seashore cabanas formed in a horseshoe across the pool—have been up to date however preserved, physique and soul.


On the 4 Seasons Surfside, the facilities have facilities. To search out out extra about these, go to fourseasons.com/surfside. That is the starter checklist:

• Luxurious spa
• Health middle and companies
• Personal cabanas
• Three swimming swimming pools, together with the “Quiet Pool,” an adults-only pool
• 24-hour room service
• Airline reservation service


Order the French toast at breakfast on the Lido Terrace. We have been advised it’s the greatest on the planet, and we are able to affirm that is unequivocally true. Simply do it, because the Nike business used to say. It’s price each naughty calorie.

The Cocktail Trolley

Our keep on the Surf Membership started with lunch at Winston’s—an informal however elevated al fresco eating expertise with a view of the seashore, and even higher, of a gelato cart strategically stationed solely 20 toes away. We spent the afternoon in a reserved cabana, poolside. Within the previous days, the cabanas have been the place all of it occurred; Winston Churchill reserved two of them when he stayed in 1946—one for portray and one for napping. For us, it was stress-free by the pool, and an “amenity” showing as soon as each hour, from a tiny recent fruit smoothie, to a cooling aloe gel, to any variety of treats designed to remind visitors that they’re all the time being attended to, quietly and with a lot care.

Our night started within the very grand Champagne Bar with the legendary Cocktail Trolley, a customized craft cocktail expertise delivered by an skilled mixologist or barista, as they prefer to be referred to as, who will contain visitors in a sampling and a cocktail tailor-made expressly for them. The cart sparkles with tiny house-made infusions and uncommon liqueurs. Our expertise was primarily based on the vodka martini (what else), however there have been detours involving vermouth infused with cherry blossoms, a gin bramble, Don Fulano tequila and some different mysterious elixirs strange mortals would seemingly by no means try. As for dinner, attempt Lido or The Surf Membership—since you gained’t wish to depart the property.

Eating with a view at Lido

As Yankees legend Yogi Berra might have famously stated about Miami, “Nobody goes there these days, it’s too crowded.” This lodge with its historic legacy tucked away from the Magic (and loopy) Metropolis is an ideal various.

4 Seasons Resort at The Surf Membership; 9011 Collins Ave., Surfside, 305/381-3333

This text is from the Could/June 2023 concern of Boca journal. For extra like this, click on right here to subscribe to the journal.