The Vibe: At the heart of the beautifully manicured village of Bal Harbour is the iconic Bal Harbour Shops — and directly across the street lies The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort. Its prime location to both the shops and on the beach, draw in fashion-forward travellers in search of exceptional service and amenities, who would prefer to avoid the party scene of South Beach. Drawing in a crowd that doesn’t bat an eye at price tags, the lavish setting attracts everyone from young families to honeymooning couples. With an expansive layout, and beachside setting, it’s easy to find your own slice of paradise.
The Facts: Since opening its doors in 2012, this $1 billion property has received numerous awards and accolades, mostly recently the Forbes five-star and AAA five-diamond awards for 2015. With rumoured celebrity guests and a highly coveted address across from the luxurious Bal Harbour Shops, this 227-room exclusive resort is made for those with a refined palette and appetite for style.
Featuring extremely elegant accommodations, the guest rooms are spacious by any hotel standards and all offer glass-enclosed balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic ocean views (no Instagram filter needed). Decor-wise the rooms have a soft, pleasing palette, and feature gorgeous marble bathrooms and an extremely spacious walk-in closet, meaning you don’t have to edit your travel wardrobe. Not to mention the intelligent in-room technology — which let’s you control the lights, temperature and even call for your butler.
The resort also boasts A-list amenities to help elevate your stay. Dining-wise the J&G Grill is a must, a creation of world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, that not only features stunning ocean views, but creative and delectable cuisine.
Activity-wise, the best way to keep your body in bikini shape is to either head over to the St. Regis Athletic Club, where you can join in on a yoga or cardio boxing class (many classes are held on the beach), or take advantage of the extensive top-of-the-line equipment. Better yet, get one of their celebrity trainers to help you blast calories in a personal training session.
Lounging pool-side or on the beach is probably the most important activity you’ll want to participate in. Rent a private cabana for the ultimate experience or escape with a book beside one of the two tranquility pools (one of which is adults only). There are also fun complimentary poolside offerings throughout the day like smoothie tastings, sunscreen spritzing and foot reflexology samplers.
Another resort highlight is the 14,000 square foot Remède Spa. A tranquil escape from the action on the resort, you’ll find 11 treatment rooms, Finnish saunas, and aromatic steam rooms, plus there are also private spa cabanas allowing you to enjoy the ocean breezes and sunshine.
The Experience: Breezing past the Bentleys, Mercedes and Ferraris parked outside, everything about The St. Regis Bal Harbour isn’t like your typical hotel. Before reaching the check-in area, you’re first stunned by the gallery-like lobby that leads into the sparkling Grand Hall of mirrors. Feeling more like an incognito celebrity as the staff kept in-the-know with their discreet earpieces, first was the champagne check-in, before being whisked up to the stunning Ocean View Room.
For what is considered one of their smaller rooms, by any other standards this room was extremely spacious. A large marble washroom with a huge walk-in shower and deep soaking tub, plenty of mirrors for wardrobe checks, a massive walk-in closet and an oversized glass balcony with two loungers overlooking the turquoise ocean — perfection. Another detail I appreciated was the in-room technology seamlessly integrated into the room. Everything from opening the curtains to adjusting the temperature was easily controlled by a bedside control station.
After settling in, I had some time to kill before my spa appointment, so I headed down to the pool. Plucking a sunny seat at the Fresco Beach Bar & Grill, I was delighted to see plenty of healthy options on the menu. I started with a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail (remember I’m heading to the spa soon!) called Beach Break and opted for the Quinoa Garden Salad with chicken. The server was delightful and the poolside setting was a fun people-watching location.
After some lounging at the adults-only Tranquility pool it was already time to hit the spa. The Remède Spa is a destination onto itself and it worth coming early to take advantage of the amenities inside. You’re instantly transported to a world of relaxation the moment you pass through the doors to the reception. Greeted by a lovely staff member, I was presented a refreshing towel and sip of fresh juice before being escorted inside. The women’s change room has every extra you could want (from razors to hair products) and if you don’t see it? They have a sign that says to just ask. Wrapping myself into an ultra-plush robe, I headed to the relaxation room. A spread of teas, fruit-infused water, nuts and dried fruit, and Jacques Torres truffles were all at my disposal, but I kept it light with a tea. Grabbing a cozy cashmere throw and magazine, it wasn’t long before I was greeted by my massage therapist. Booked in for their signature Customized Massage ($229 for 60 minutes), I left feeling completely relaxed and my knots gone. I dare say it was the best spa experience I’ve ever had.
Dinner reservations were for 8 p.m. at the J&G Grill, so beforehand I decided to enjoy some live music at the bar with a cocktail. Selecting Blackberry Bubbly, a Champagne cocktail that was infused with Belvedere Vodka, Chandon Brut, elderflower and fresh blackberries — it was oh-so delicious!
Not wanting to be late for my reservation, I headed to the impressive dining room of the J&G Grill just in time to see the sun fully set. Sat in a cozy booth facing the ocean, I was recommended the Tasting Menu complete with Wine Pairings and I happily obliged. As you would expect the best part of opting for the Tasting Menu is it allows you to fully experience the beautiful creations you couldn’t possibly try in one sitting otherwise. Each dish wowed more than the previous, and their sommelier took things to the next level with his exquisite pairings. Even if you aren’t a guest at the hotel it’s completely worth it to make it an occasion and plan a dinner here.
Though the prices are steep, you certainly get what you pay for and more. Every staff member was extremely pleasant and quick to meet every need. The property itself is not only stunning, but has every amenity you could want as a beach-hungry vacationer in search of relaxation and fun. Plus if you are hoping for a little South Beach action, it’s just a short Uber drive away.
Good to Know: There are no in-room coffee machines, so plan to get your java fix at breakfast. Also, if you’re driving there is only valet parking, which will cost you $40/night.
Room to Book: Hard to believe, yes, but view-wise there isn’t a bad room to book thanks to the angled design of the hotel. For longer stays or those with families, consider booking a Suite which includes a kitchenette.
Where to Find:
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
9703 Collins Avenue
Bal Harbour, FL 33154