*The winter of 2011 has been especially grueling for many Americans and with six more weeks to go, many snow birds are looking to get a reprieve from all of the white stuff.

Southern Florida has long been a destination for such pursuits, so we decided to use the column as a resource for those who are looking to take a break in the sun.

Here’s the RTSC annual winter list of the best south Florida destinations for the many, who right now, must be surely looking.

BEST BETS

Ritz Carlton – Key Biscayne

Located on the affluent community of Key Biscayne (an island just south of downtown Miami), the Ritz Carlton – Key Biscayne offers a perfect blend of “old-school” luxury, accented with contemporary comforts.  The service at this property (one of 3 in South Florida), is impeccable – from in to check-out, concierge service to room service, the property was simply a delight. At a distance just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Miami & South Beach, but close enough just in case you want to take in the action, the Ritz Key Biscayne offers the right balance that vacationers are seeking. An added bonus is the lux surroundings located only footsteps from this property. For example, did you know that Key Biscayne is home to the Sony Ericsson Open Tennis Tournament and was once the southern base of former US President Richard Nixon?  Whatever your tastes, the bottom line is that the Ritz Key Biscayne will offer you a sanctuary that is also close enough to the Miami experience that will offer a delightful vacation experience and will keep you coming back for more.

Rooms:  With an ocean breeze that leads directly to the Caribbean Sea, every room at the Ritz Key Biscayne is a winner. My accommodations were of adequate size, well-appointed and featured a bed that I could live my life in – supreme comfort.

Restaurants:  The food at the Ritz Key Biscayne is an epicurean’s dream. With several restaurants to choose from throughout the property we selected Cioppino that features a very creative Tuscan inspired menu. The chef and his team certainly outdid themselves with a tasty risotto dish and a decedent venison entre that was delectably prepared and full of flavor.

We also spent several  lively evenings at the RUMBAR, which like the name implies offers an amazing variety of rums, in addition to a sumptuous cheese tray (featuring varieties imported direct from Italy twice a week) and a seafood sampler that feature a lovely assortment of fresh fish.  Featuring a first-rate, four-piece live band Grupo Nostalgia, I highly recommend Rumbar even if you’re not staying at the hotel. It offers real good times.

Amenities:  The spa at the Ritz Biscayne is well known for its endless pleasure seeking amenities. My experience was no different as I enjoyed a variety of personal and holistic treatments that were truly exceptional. When you walk into the spa you should be prepared to surrender to complete indulgence.   The staff is very attentive and informed on all the latest spa related techniques and procedures, which definitely gave an added boost to my time spent there. The salon, workout room and Wellness Center offers added value that after you’re finished, will leave you ready to return to the world outside.  I can’t give the place enough high marks and bet that you will be totally impressed as well!

www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/keybiscayne

BEST BETS  – RUNNER UP

The Epic Hotel, Miami

Ultra-modern, sophisticated and exceedingly cool, Miami’s Epic Hotel offers excellent amenities and accommodations for the customers looking for a first-rate hotel experience in an urban environment. Within a stone’s throw to South Beach, Coconut Grove and Coral Way, the property is the right choice for those looking for the ultimate Miami experience.

The guest rooms are spacious and outfitted with the latest in contemporary styling and comforts.  Epic is also home to two world class restaurants, (Zuma and Area 31), which should satisfy even the most discerning epicurean. Offering breath-taking views of the city and bay, pool side at Area 31 is also a great way to spend the rest of your evening. The spa experience at the Epic is another first-rate attraction of the property offering a variety of spa treatments that are bound to provide you with a memorable experience.

The Epic was very nearly our first pick for this edition of winter getaways; and although not our first selection, we do strongly recommend for vacationers seeking a Miami vacation.

www.epichotel/miami.com

2011 Winter South Florida Getaways Notable Mentions

3. The Palms Hotel

4. Breakwater Hotel

5. Hotel Ocean

6. Delano Hotel

7. The Fontainebleau Hotel

8. Ritz Carlton, Miami

9.  Mandarin Oriental Hotel

10. The Raleigh Hotel

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*AUTOMOTIVE SPIN

2011 Jetta SEL w/Sunroof

With its established reputation for reliability, safety and performance, I was ready be impressed with the VW Jetta brand and my ride didn’t disappoint. This gave me confidence as I was embarked upon a long road trip in possible inclement weather. I am thrilled to report that my ride more than lived up to reputation.

Wow Factor: The 2011 has a lot of bling where it counts; being extremely efficient on the road and in the wallet (its MPG rating is 24 city/31 highways). Drivers will also be wowed by its tremendous agility on the road. It’s a solid ride.

Ride:   With its 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine that puts 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, the 2011 Jetta has enough power to handle most road jobs. It took the imposing Eagle’s Landing mountain pass (between Atlanta and Nashville) with ease, and its solid steering added a real plus to my on the road confidence. EPA rating of 24 city/31 highway mpg and 27 mpg

Comfort:  With firm and comfortable seats, plus amble leg-room, the Jetta provided me with an easy enough ride during my 6-hour round trip between Atlanta and Nashville. An added bonus was most certainly its convenient [and easy to read] controls, which given the touchy weather conditions made my trip a lot easier.

Spin Control:   The 2011 Jetta is attractively offers a great many plus factors to consider for its market segment – excellent handling, fuel-efficiency and power. The biggest plus of course is its price (base retail: $16,000), which I predict will make it an extremely popular model for VW.   I strongly recommend.

Grade: A

Copyright, 2011 Robertson Treatment, LLC

Visit: www.robertsontreatment.com