Jon Landau famously once said “I have seen the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen.”
With all respect to Landau and the Boss, I have seen the future – and present – of resort luxury and it’s The St. Regis Bal Harbour. The 243-room resort on Miami Beach doesn’t just raise the bar on luxury, it lifts it into the stratosphere – appropriate considering the hotel is touted as the new flagship property of the posh St. Regis brand.
In an era (and area) of style over substance, The St. Regis Bal Harbour delivers style and substance, from the personal butler service that comes with each suite, to the exquisite wall of mirrors in the lobby to celebrity chef chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grille. (Don’t miss the truffle pizza).
The St. Regis Bal Harbour (http://www.stregisbalharbour.com/), across Collins Ave. from the trendy Bal Harbour shops, is more refined in setting and service than most of its South Beach neighbors a few miles away and perfectly fits the high-end Bal Harbour lifestyle.
This place is so cool its house vehicle is a Bentley.
Opened this past January at a cost of approximately $1 billion, The St. Regis Bal Harbour sits on the property that was the Americana hotel, at one time a favorite Miami Beach hangout of the Rat Pack. The Americana became the Sheraton Bal Harbour, which closed in 2005. Starwood Hotels & Resorts bought the property, razed the Sheraton and built the three towers that comprise the St. Regis hotel and condominiums.
Designed by the firm of Yabu Pushelberg, The St. Regis Bal Harbour is as much an experience as it is a destination. There’s Godflower marble (dark marble framed by white marble) quarried in China specifically of the hotel, in the public areas of the ground floor; West African Movinque wood, antique mirroring and ceiling rosette detail, a signature of Yabu Pushelberg; a private wine vault featuring more than 2,500 bottles; and modern pieces from Sawada Hirotoshi, Candida Hofer and Miami-based artist Santiago Rubino, among others.
The centerpiece of the S. Regis Bal Harbour’s art collection is Rubino’s ““Eyes of the Stars,” in the St. Regis Bar.
All of the resort’s art work and design seamlessly blends together – nothing is forced and nothing seems out of place or over the top.
The guest rooms and suites, with their Art Deco elements, pay subtle homage to Morris Lapidus, the legendary architect of neo-baroque modern Miami. Each guest room and suite is features “intelligent control,” butler service whereby the lights and curtains can be operated from one command station.
Actually the intelligent control begins before you get to the rooms. Touch the key pad to any of the five lobby elevators and you’ll be directed to the one that takes you to your floor.
For guests staying in one of the guest suites, which range in size from 675 square feet to the 2,721-square-foot presidential suite, an elevator takes them directly to their front door.
The butler will unpack your bags on arrival on the suite and re-pack your bags when you’re ready to depart. It’s quite a show.
Even a standard guest room at The Regis Bal Harbour is far from standard. Each guest room, decorated with Art Deco elements, is oversized by – 650-square feet – and features a long hallway entrance and two well-appointed bathrooms.
Each guest room has floor to ceiling windows and a large, furnished patio with marble flooring. The suites have two balconies – one off the living area and off the master bedroom.
It’s not unusual these days for high-end hotels and resorts to have televisions in the main bathroom. The St. Regis Bal Harbour) takes it up a level with a TV in the bathroom mirrors. Except for a small red dot that triggers the remote control – that you have to look for to see – the TV is virtually invisible when it’s not on.
The resort’s 14,000 square-foot Remède Spa matches the resort’s elegance with 11 treatment rooms and special features, including a Vichy Rain Shower room, Finnish sauna facilities, and a VIP couple’s suite.
Outside in the midst of the lush landscaping, The St. Regis Bal Harbour has two pools, including and adult tranquility pool – poolside cabanas and nine air conditioned Ocean Front Day Villas that feature a plasma TV, mini refrigerator, shower and bathroom and a personal cabana butler who is happy to fix a Bloody Sunrise and Mojito. Villas guests also can order from the nearby Fresco Beach Bar and Grill.
In addition to Fresco and J&G Grill, the resort has Atlantico restaurant exclusively for breakfast. The St. Regis Bar and Wine Vault is great for afternoon drinks and snack and the gathering place for the daily champagne sabering that takes place at 7:30 p.m. – just one more reason why The St. Regis Bal Harbour is at the top of its class.