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(Playground of the Rich!)

Dreams are Realities!

By Glenn Arnette, III

Considered to be the wealthiest place in the United States, it is also the friendliest place to live or vacation. This is not your every day resort hotel, island vacation or luxurious residential community. It is truly a paradise and only a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach. I am talking about the extravagant Fisher Island and the Fisher Island Hotel and Resort.

By taking the ferry off MacArthur Causeway near the famous South Beach, you board and travel just 10 minutes by water the this private Island located right on the edge of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. With palm trees swaying and the wonderful breezes accented with the sound of exotic birds, you arrive on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. This is not for budget travels or middle of the road experiences. Fisher Island is without question for the rich and famous and they love it.

To be a part of Fisher you can own a place, rent a luxurious one-Bedroom Villa Suite with private patios and hot tubs or try a Seaside Villa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the private Beach Club or have a wealthy friend who might invite you over as their guest! You will not find anyone else, as this is for those travelers with money who want to be very private. I loved it!

Originally owned by developer Carl Fisher , this luxury resort later became the Vanderbilt’s impressive Winter estate. Impressive is really not the best word to describe this place. It is extravagant, “de-lovely” (using a Cole Porter expression) breathtaking, the perfect motion picture set, and an all inclusive playground. I found it to be one of the friendliest places I have every had the opportunity to visit.

Those people able to afford the life of luxury have the finest group of employees available anywhere in the United States waiting for them when you arrive. Their smiles, hello’s and welcome makes you feel right at home. This is overall with all employees and that includes management and staff. From the front office to the kitchen, they are there to make you happy and see that your time on the Island is perfect. On arrival a complimentary glass of champagne or fresh squeezed orange juice is offered and a golf cart is given to each guest for their personal use while there. There is a par 35 championship 9-hole golf course, the Grand Slam Tennis center, ( Mediterranean inspired Racquet Club) with two grass, fourteen clay and two hard surface courts, (lit for night playing), seven exquisite fine dining, casual restaurants and lounges, and the Spa Internazionale, Directed by Dawn Aquila Buck, with Fitness Center and Salon di Belleza offering world-class treatments in a tropical setting. The waterfall is a real massage experience but wait until you hear about the “Aqua Bliss” Massage created by the renowned Victor Francs. He is finishing his book as we speak and you can expect it to be a best seller. The “Aqua Bliss” Massage is a “womb” experience as you float blindfolded with ear plugs around the pool. With total silence and with the swirls of the water and the cool breezes you get totally away from everything in the world. When I had the experience, I said “ Whatever!”. That changed to “It was like a religious experience!” WOW! You actually find yourself in another place being gently massaged and completely relax for an hour without a worry in the world. This is a must if you ever have the opportunity to take a session. Thanks, Victor! To contact him regarding his book, you can call the Spa at (305) 535-6030. You can also speak with Dawn Aquila Buck at the same number.

Speaking of tropical, the landscaping as created by Michael Morel is a flora of art. Vignettes of flowers are everywhere exploding with colors and filling the air with perfumed aromas from flowers found all over the world. It is a tropical paradise from palm trees down to the Beach Dune Sunflower. The floral colors blend together to make a painting of beauty.

Speaking of beauty, Anna Noriega, who is the International Corporate Travel and Sales Manager, former Miami Dolphin Cheerleader, is the perfect choice for this leading hotel of the World. Every detail is handled to perfection for any event and everything else regarding the presentation of this Island. How lucky can they be? She is a perfectionist and expects perfection for each and every person on the Island.

There are two deep water Marina’s, one for smaller vessels and the other for the unbelievable. Jim Watkins, Director of the Marina keeps everything in order and each boat, Yacht, or “Ship” has it’s perfect place. My experience was on a 26 million dollar beauty. I was invited on board by the Captain to have a look / see and walk around. I just can’t understand why my little 18 foot Four Winds boat back home is not of interest to me anymore. Please!

Playing golf on the Island is like being in Hawaii. Jim Curran, Director of the Golf Course, gave me a complete tour including the driving range and charming Clubhouse and an explanation of some of the most challenging holes on the course as designed by P. B. Dye Just seeing this course makes me want to play golf again. Without-a-doubt it is one of the most beautiful nine hole courses in America!

You could never imagine the beautiful collection of birds found on this Island. There are a number of aviaries housing many birds of every color in the rainbow. Pedro Polanco, the Island Aviary Consultant has all of the knowledge needed to educate those interested in meeting his friends. Each morning they are released to perches, and on the ground to wander for the morning. What a fantastic picture opportunity! My favorite was the little yellow bird with “not so many feathers.” What a wonderful collection of exotic birds for all of the guests to enjoy.

There is so much more on Fisher Island and it would take pages to tell you of it’s grandeur. There is a commercial center including a gourmet market, flower shop and boutique, police station, post office, fire station, kid’s playground and school, dog park, volleyball field and basketball courts. Oh, don’t let me forget that they have helicopter service 24 hours a day! This is truly a self contained private resort!

“Kudos” go out to my friends, Sarah Pierre, Daphnee Abraham and Debbie Reyes on the front desk, Kiko Suarez, the Bellman and Collette Jimenez of Guest Services and Orlando over at the Spa. My personal thank you to the Hotel Director, Heiko Dobrikow, who hails from Germany with an extensive background in luxury hotels and resorts. With his knowledge and background, he brings a special touch of class to the Fisher Island Resort. Thank you for my wonderful experience in Paradise. You guys made my day!

For more information about Fisher Island as chosen by Conde Nast Traveler’s readership as one of America’s exclusive vacation spots, go to their website at or call (305) 535-6000.