Coast in to Biloxi

Spend a weekend with your beau at the posh Beau Rivage.
Farrah Austin

Designed as more of a resort destination than a casino, this glitzy place makes a bold statement with travelers searching for both quality and comfort. It offers an enchanting experience all by itself.

Friday Fanfare
The grand edifice emerges as a shining testament of the coast's glamorous side. Once on the property, visitors are surrounded by a dazzling water fountain, dreamy gardens, and beautiful blooms. The striking stucco complex towers overhead, adorned with dark glass.

Venture to your guestroom before exploring all the shops Beau Rivage offers. Standard rooms boast enchanting Gulf or garden views. The spacious accommodations come complete with vibrant artwork, custom furnishings, and white marble bathrooms. Even on a gray winter's day, the water views inspire romance.

Grab lunch at Café Jardin in the lobby atrium. The zesty Quesadilla Wrap ($8.75) satisfies those who crave a little more spice. Later, browse the 13 shops on the hotel's promenade. When only diamonds will do, stop by The Jewelry Box. For pottery and artwork by Mississippi artists, such as Gail Pittman, shop at Beau Rivage Emporium. Four lines of colorful everyday plates, which Gail designed specifically for the resort, stay in demand (10-inch plates are $44).

Dinner? You'll feel as if you're part of one big family at La Cucina Italiana restaurant. This upscale establishment flaunts an open kitchen, so diners can watch their feast being made. Don't miss the creamy tiramisu for dessert. Afterward, drop by the Coast Brewing Company for a sample of Mississippi's first and oldest microbrew. It also offers live music and dancing nightly.

Saturday Sanctuary
Because most spa treatments are scheduled early in the morning (the spa is open all day), it's best to eat in the hotel. Try the Champagne brunch ($14.99 per person) on the first floor where you can get everything from made-to-order omelets to seafood.

After breakfast head to the spa located on the second floor. Relaxation seems to permeate the air at this 20,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Gulf. Visitors may choose from an array of amenities including massage therapy, facials, the solarium, and the salon. For the best way to experience the spa, opt for a Beau Rivage Trio package, which comes complete with a hydrotherapy, exfoliation, and a massage ($170). Or try the Day of Beauty package, which includes a facial, manicure, pedicure, and body polish ($175).

Don't miss the reflexology treatment. Reflexologist Laurie can touch your feet and tell whether you've had back trouble or a sprained knee. The technique involves a deep foot massage from your ankles to your toes. Her witty conversation and helpful insight alone are worth the experience. Word to the wise: She books up early, so ask for her services in advance.

Take in an early dinner at Coral while surrounded by thousands of swimming tropical fish and sharks. The saltwater tank spans the entire restaurant for an intriguing view. Love seafood? Try the Ahi tuna crusted with sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger ($29). Or order the succulent 16-ounce veal chop ($38). You'll be pleased either way.

Beau Rivage books headline acts from across the globe, so get ready for a night of live entertainment. Popular singers such as Julio Iglesias as well as award-winning shows such as Stomp make appearances here. Show times are at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

An Easy Sunday
Checkout early, and explore the coast before going home. For breakfast, try McElroy's Harbor House Restaurant on U.S. 90. Many locals stop by for the amazing biscuits and gravy ($2.95).

Afterward, visit Beauvoir, the illustrious final home of Jefferson Davis. Don't miss the Presidential library and veterans' cemetery. Ticket sales stop at 3:30 p.m.

End your trip with lunch at Tripani's Eatery in Bay St. Louis on North Beach Boulevard. They serve light and tasty seafood, including a new twist on an old Southern favorite--fried green tomatoes topped with lump crabmeat and hollandaise sauce ($11.95). Afterward, cruise through historic Old Town in Bay St. Louis, where you can browse several charming shops. This enchanting coastal town gives off plenty of good vibrations to carry you until your next visit.

For more information: Contact Beau Rivage, 875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39530; (228) 386-7111, 1-888-567-6667, or www.beaurivage.com. Rates: $129-$199.

This article is from the February 2003 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.