Fisher Island Club & Resort
Fisher Island, Florida
By Roger Cox, Editor
The former Vanderbilt estate on 200-acre Fisher Island in Biscayne Bay has been transformed into an exclusive, mostly residential retreat more Portofino than Miami. Those who merely want to experience the island before shelling out seven figures for a condo can book one of the 60 posh suites or villas and tool around the island on a golf cart.
A world of its own, Fisher Island encompasses a 9-hole P.B. Dye golf course, one of the country's most beautifully designed tennis centers (with 18 hard, clay, and grass courts), an elegant spa, and state-of-the-art fitness center overlooking the bay from the Vanderbilt's former seaplane hangar. There is also a beach, marina, several restaurants, and even a small grocery and a pizzeria. More than $60 million is being spent on major upgrades to cottages, villas, suites, landscaping, the golf course, the Racquet Club, and private marina as well as the construction of a new beach club with plans to focus next on the historic Vanderbilt Mansion. Nothing in Miami comes close, but it won't work for those who find it unbearably inconvenient to hop a car ferry or boat (or helicopter) every time they want to ogle the parade of models, actors, and wannabes from a table at the trendy News Cafe or gorge on succulent crustaceans at Joe's Stone Crab.
Pro Shop: 305-535-6010
Tennis Staff. Jon Hainline presides over this handsomely designed complex. He captained his University of Michigan, played satellite tournaments in the U.S. and Canada, taught tennis, went to law school, practiced law, and then returned to tennis teaching and competition (he has ranked No. 1 in the 50s in Florida).
Tennis Programs. Options are fairly limited beyond private lessons and playing—staff provides game matching—though there are two-hour morning clinics twice a week.
Courts & Fees. There are 18 courts altogether, grouped around a central patio with decorative chairs and a clubhouse in ivory-colored stucco and bordered by a landscape of subdued pink pots of magenta bougainvillea and ferns and palm trees surrounded by flowers. Terra-cotta walkways connect the courts—14 Har-Tru (all with lights), two hard, and two grass—which are framed by stucco pillars, rather than metal posts, and anchored by red-tile-roofed gazebos. It is, says Hainline, "the most beautiful setting. The atmosphere is unparalleled." Court fees: $17 weekdays, $20 weekends.
Beach. The island has a small, postage-stamp of a beach.
Golf Courses. There is one P.B. Dye golf course on the island.
If you like Fisher Island's elegant lodging and multiple dimensions, also check out:
- The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Arizona
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii
- The Lodge at Pebble Beach, California
- Rancho Valencia, California
Rates and Reservations
Lodging options are junior and courtyard suites, 1- and 2-bedrooms deluxe suites, and 1-to-3-bedroom, residences. Each rental comes with a golf cart for on-island transportation. See the website for rates for the period you intend to visit.
1 Fisher Island Dr.
Fisher Island, FL 33109-0001
Web Link: Fisher Island Club & Resort
Seasons. Year-round though hot and humid in July and August.
General Tourist Information. For information about travel to this region of Florida contact the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, 701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2700, Miami, FL 33131; phone 305-539-3000 or toll-free 800-933-8448 or visit their website.