My wife & I just returned from a two night stay at The Setai and we had an amazing time. The hotel is wonderful - unlike anything on South Beach. The hotel doesn't try to impress with trendy features or flashy gimmicks, but it wins you over with understated elegance and over the top service. The scale is perfect, an intimate setting, but with all the necessary amenities. There is a open common area just off the lobby with comfortable pod seating around a reflection pool with amazing cool breezes even on an 89 degree day. The Fung Shui atmosphere is very natural and relaxing.
The rooms are awesome - large and comfortable with several unexpected features (e.g. Bose speakers for music or the TV). The rooms are well insulated - despite our neighbors having a party until 6:30 AM the first night and a lot of construction going on in the area, the room was quiet.
The Beach & Pools:
There are 3 lap length pools set to different temperatures (75, 80 and 85 degrees), the warmest of which is for families. The pool/beach service is great - attendants setup your lounge chairs or bed and provide you with bottles of cold water and cold face towels. Every couple of hours, they bring you fresh towels and offer food and beverage service.
"The Restaurant," is the main place to eat all meals. The breakfast buffet ($36/person) is as good as it gets. Everything you could want and very fresh. Have a late breakfast and you won't want to eat again until a late dinner. Dinner was very good (although selection is limited) and the wine list was nice. The beach front restaurant is great for lunch - cool breezes and ocean views, but does have a limited menu. There is a small steakhouse, but we didn't get a chance to try it. There is a nice bar with many creative drink selections (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
Spa & Gym:
While not bad, this was my biggest disappointment. The gym is fine given the scale of the hotel. you can get a good workout, but the equipment is limited. The spa seemed like an after thought. The message rooms are very nice, but I was surprised at the limited services. The locker rooms were small and only a shower and small sauna were offered. Surprisingly for a luxury spa, there was no "quiet room" to chill in before or after your treatment. My therapist was average.
WOW - with only a couple of exceptions, the staff was amazing. Everyone was incredibly friendly and almost everyone greeted us by name. The staff to guest ratio is very high.
Would definitely recommend The Setai!