It's a mega-splurge that felt on par with what a week in Europe would cost, but nonetheless, we absolutely loved our stay at the St. Regis during the week between Christmas and New Year's and will absolutely stay there when we head back to the Miami-area.
It's about a 45 minute drive to the most southern restaurants in South Beach (about 20 minutes to "The Dutch" at the W; about 15 minutes to "Cicconi's" at Soho House; and literally a one-minute walk to Bal Harbour Mall).
The resort itself is designed with a contemporary glam beach vibe with gorgeous etched mirrors covering the walls, marble floors and a state-of-the-art security system where you're required to scan your key card before you can take the elevator to any of the guest floors.
The Accommodations: We've been lucky enough to have stayed in A+ rooms and suites before, but the St. Regis Bal Harbour gets an A++ from us. These were absolutely the nicest, most well-appointed rooms we've ever stayed in. Period. They are all brand new (contemporary glam décor) with smart panels controlling all lights/drapery, etc. The closets are enormous and all suites and rooms seem to have the same type of covered loggia patio set up with double safety lock devices for the kids (deep patios with room for regular lounge chairs). Our suite 905 was ocean front with a gorgeous dining room, great room set up with a small kitchenette. There was an additional semi-private sitting room with a fold-out couch that was perfect for our 4-year-old son (this room had its own bathroom). The master suite had an additional smaller terrace and the largest resort-suite closet I've ever seen --- absolutely gorgeous mirrored doors with tons of functional closet space. The en suite master bath was enormous with double rain shower head, deep soaking tub and separate WC. All marble. Due to the weather in NYC, we had to extend our stay by one night and needed to transfer into a regular room due to capacity --- we ended up in what was supposedly the lowest level room in the place: Room 1509 with ocean front views, similar marble bathroom set up, beautiful closets and a sleeping area that was just as comfortable as the suite. Also, a wet bar. These rooms were just out of this world and the linens were absolutely top notch. We've never slept better.
The Service: A++. You could want for nothing at St. Regis. You're paying top price, and they deliver with top service.
The Beach: Sometimes a soft sandy beach in Miami is hard to come by at a resort, but the beach at St. Regis is pretty deep and very well cared for. They have complimentary loungers and 'clam loungers' with canopies for $50/day. Extremely good beach service with cocktails and beach bar food menu. Excellent.
The Pools: We spent most of our time at the family pool, which is wonderful. This pool doesn't have a gradual entry, but other than that, it's great. We were never in a hurry to save loungers in the mornings, even though the property was 100% sold out during our stay.
The Cabanas: The cabanas (aka "Villas") were $850/day and come with an unnecessary magnum of Veuve and complimentary fruit/sodas/water and a butler. These cabanas have a large flat screen TV, daybed, marble shower, marble WC, a patio dining table that seats 6 and two loungers. All of the staff that helped make our Cabana days great were exceptional. One stand-out would be Jefferson; he went above and beyond to make every penny we spent totally worth it. The cabanas are are a huge splurge and not necessary, but we found the cabanas particularly great on the rainy days and the super sunny days…allowed us to hang outside longer. Also, no one seemed to notice or be bothered by the fact that we had non-hotel guests in our cabanas on three different days. We were discreet about it and our guests/kids were all very well behaved, but it didn't seem to be an issue.
The Spa: Expensive but fabulous. My husband claims he had the best massage of his life by "Claudia." My mani-pedi was great.
The Turtle Club: This is the Kids Club. The actually "club" is a pretty small room with several games/puzzles and computers, but there's no rec center that is for families. They do a very nice job hosting camp activities and providing things for the kids to do. Daily, there were activities like sand art, hat decorating and cookie decorating (each for $10/child). It's adequate but not abundant ---- the St. Regis is meant to be an adult five star resort with stuff to do for kids; it's definitely not a kids resort.
We loved our daily happy hours in the lounge bar. The childrens menus were more than adequate and the service was incredible. We ate three dinners in the lounge; live music and our 4-year-old was very happy/comfortable here.
St. Regis vs. Aqualina: The bottom line for me is if you're looking for a five-star resort that is family friendly in the Miami area (and are willing to really splurge), the St. Regis Bal Harbour actually beats the Aqualina and any other resort you're considering in the Miami/South Beach area. Aqualina service, rooms and facilities are incredible; the Aqualina staff are extraordinary. However, 'access' to the facilities are more abundant at the St. Regis vs. Aqualina. The residents and hotel guests of Aqualina have to share facilities; and this is not the case at the St. Regis (each of the two St. Regis residence towers has their own gym and pool). The only separation Aqualina residents will have from hotel guests is if the residents live in the now-under-construction "Mansions;" otherwise, the many 'non-Mansion tower' residents at Aqualina will continue to fight over cabanas, lounge chairs and fitness facilities with the hotel guests and that became a big awkward problem for us at our last stay there, considering how expensive it is.
I absolutely feel St. Regis Bal Harbor is the #1 choice in the Miami area; no contest and we'll absolutely stay there again. However, even though our stay at the St. Regis was fabulous and we love the Miami scene (and being amongst friends who also vacation in the area), I think if we decide to head down to South Florida again with our four-year-old, we'll probably opt for The Breakers in West Palm Beach. Even though it's a much sleepier town, we feel for the same price point, they offer the most stimulating and best-run children's programs making it slightly easier for kids/parents while still giving the parents a real grown-up resort-like vacation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience an exclusive enclave in Bal Harbour with luxury oceanfront accommodations, quiet unwavering taste, anticipatory service and seductive amenities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The St. Regis Bal Harbour Hotel Bal Harbour
- The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort Florida