When I asked my best friends to meet me in Miami for a belated birthday celebration last month, I wasn’t quite as ready to be around people again as I initially thought. Was I in desperate need of a getaway after being couped up for over a year due to COVID-19? Yes. Could I already hear a server asking me if I wanted another one while I sipped a cocktail poolside? Definitely. Did I want to engage in any festivities that involved large crowds? Absolutely not. And that’s what made Loews Miami Beach Hotel the perfect location to get away and still stay away.

In short, the Loews is a beachside oasis all on its own. Situated in the heart of the Art Deco district, the property is far away enough from the chaos of South Beach that you don’t have to be bothered if you don’t want to, and close enough that all it takes is a short walk if you do indeed decide you’d like to turn up. With multiple dining options, a spa and fitness center, the pool, and the proximity to the beach, the only reason you have to leave the Loews is if you want to. And with the pandemic still being a part of our everyday reality, it’s understandable that you might not. The great thing about the property is you won’t feel as though you’ve missed out on anything if you touch down and stay put until it’s time to return home.

Having traveled for work a couple of times prior to my vacation, one thing that’s notable about hotel service in the midst of the pandemic is you get less of it — and I’m not just speaking of scaled-back housekeeping. Less staff means longer lines and, in my experience, frustrated employees who don’t always extend the warmest welcome upon arrival.

At the Loews, my friends and I literally felt like royalty while checking in, so much so they both joked about me upgrading their lives. Michael was thorough and an absolute treat at the reception desk and I felt like someone was reading my mind when we were handed bottles of water to quench our thirst coming in from the south Florida heat. As soon as I stepped away from the desk I received a text message welcoming me to the property and offering to send me a digital download of information on the hotel and its restaurant menus. I also received periodic check-ins via text throughout my stay to make sure I had everything I needed which was a particularly special touch.

If you’ve ever been surrounded by opulence in a hotel lobby and then gone to your room and felt like you were transported somewhere else, I’m happy to report that’s not the case at the Loews. The same marble found at the front desks travels upstairs to the dual dressers/work desks inside the rooms, though you likely won’t immediately notice as you’ll be captivated by the view if you book a room with a balcony.

As a hotel snob in the making, it was absolutely the details for me that set the oceanfront queen room with double beds apart from similar accommodations I’ve experienced before. And yes, you should absolutely splurge on the balcony with the ocean view. Nothing says vacation like waking up and being greeted by blue skies and a close view of white sand as ocean waves crash against it.

If the pool is more your vibe than the beach, number one, I hear you. Number two, you won’t be disappointed by the offering here. While the lounge chairs along the perimeter of the water fill up fast, most guests do more laying out than lapping up so you won’t have to worry about bumping into other people while hitting that backstroke or horsing around in the pool.

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While there are cabanas available for rent alongside the water because space is limited I’d recommend treating yourself to a day at SOAK, which the Loews team graciously allowed me and my bestie to experience while on site. SOAK is just steps away from the main pool and features daybeds and eight deked-out cabanas with rooftop sundecks, air conditioning, and personal concierge service. If you’re lucky enough to have Radost as your host, she will take your experience to the next level, routinely checking to make sure you have all the food and drinks you need to enjoy your lounge day.

Speaking of food, your stay at the Loews will not be a situation where you have to eat the same food every day because options are limited. You have your pick of a fine dining experience at Lure Fishbar (if you get Dennis as your server he will make sure you want for nothing); casual indoor/outdoor eating at Bar Collins; and a poolside food menu for light bites.

I ate empanadas three days in a row because they’re just that good. The easoning was superb and the dough was perfectly flaky. I can also confirm that you shouldn’t leave Lure without tasting the Crispy Asian Snapper. It serves two and comes with a side of spicy ginger rice that will blow your mouth away. Plus the nautical decor will give you a reason to slip out of your swimsuit and dress up for a night.

No vacation is complete without a little (or a lot) of R&R and, again, you don’t have to leave the Loews to get it. Exhale Spa is your chance to rejuvenate your mind and body before you return to the real world. Offering standard services like manis/pedis, facials, and massages as well as more tailored therapies like acupuncture and cupping, you’re likely to find something on the menu to suit your personal needs. I can say for sure that I did with a 60-minute True Facial and deep tissue massage like I never experienced before.

While we’re all anxious to be back outside, Loews makes sure that guests do so safely without compromising on the amenities and services that make traveling a luxury. With hand sanitizer stations at every turn coupled with daily express cleaning service, the Loews leaves the hard parts about planning a vacation during a pandemic up to them and makes you feel good about getting away. Here’s something else to feel good about: For every two-night stay or more booked directly through Loews from now until Labor Day, the hotel chain will donate to DonorsChoose, an organization that directly supports local teachers and students for the 2021-22 school year. Visit Loewshotels.com for more information or to book.