Posted by Ric Garrido

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort property is a high profile luxury hotel and residences a few miles north of Miami Beach. I visited the hotel last week for a two night stay courtesy of SPG American Express. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort hosted its grand opening gala in March 2012.

This is part two of a three part post on St. Regis Bal Harbour. The first post is an introduction to Bal Harbour and Miami Beach for travelers unfamiliar with the area. This post covers the hotel property and the third post covers the hotel room.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Transportation

Taxi from the airport is around $43 + tip based on a fixed flat airport rate.

SuperShuttle shared van is $23 + tip.

Public transportation is not really a good option for Bal Harbour. There is the Route 150 Miami Beach Airport Flyer express bus to Miami Beach for $2.35 each way with stops available from 44th Street south to South Pointe in Miami Beach.

A taxi to St. Regis Bal Harbour on 96th Street from a hotel like the Fontainebleau or Four Points by Sheraton around 43rd Street and Collins Avenue might be under $15.

Parking

Valet only parking is $38 per day. Most guests appeared to have cars when I passed through the St. Regis Bal Harbour entrance and crossed the driveway. Mercedes, Jaguar, Ferrari and many high end machines were visible in the driveway of the St. Regis. The Bentley and Rolls Royce were parked down below at the ground level parking area. 

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St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort front lobby entrance is located at second level driveway.

Parked Ferrari sportscars along the upper level looked to create a bottleneck with only one open lane at times as valet cars and taxis arrived for loading and unloading guests.

I was probably the only guest who arrived that day at the St. Regis Bal Harbour in a Super Shuttle shared van from the airport. The other two international riders from MIA both exited at a youth hostel in South Beach.

Lobby Entrance

The high ceiling lobby from the entry parlor looks down a long, narrow corridor about 200 feet along the Hall of Mirrors from the art work at entrance to the two hotel restaurants.

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Fashion show is an appropriate art piece adjacent to the promenade along the Hall of Mirrors.

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Entry parlor hanging art. I have pictures from different angles. I have no idea what it represents. Kind of looks like a wave in this photo.

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The floor is composed of single quarry Chinese God Flower Stone Marble.

Hall of Mirrors

The Hall of Mirrors walking into the hotel is a promenade to the elevators and restaurants. The Wine Vault and St. Regis Bar are located on the right and Reception and Concierge are to the left.

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At reception I was offered a glass of champagne, almost as an afterthought.  I observed guests at the other two reception tables were offered champagne. I was rushed off to my room having the opportunity to gulp down only half the glass.

Internet is complimentary for all guests, so I received 250 points for my Welcome Amenity as a SPG Gold elite member.

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J&G Grill restaurant and Atlantico are located to the left and right of the St. Regis promenade. Restaurant reviews are good. These restaurants offer 10% dining discount and points for SPG members.

Elevators

A unique feature to me of the St. Regis Bal Harbour is the elevator design and key card access. Elevator access to room floors is only by key card. Wave your key card in front of the elevator pad and a screen directs you to one of four specific elevator numbers. Elevator 3 and 5 were on one corridor side and Elevators 2 and 4 on the opposite corridor wall on Floor 11. There are no floor buttons inside the elevator. The elevator is programmed to go directly to your room floor. This also means you can’t access other room floors not keyed into your card from the elevator. If you step in an open elevator with another guest rather than the elevator designated for you, then you will find yourself riding the elevator to only that guest’s floor.

Going down to lobby or ground floor pool, spa and fitness rooms from guest room floors does not require a key card.  Simply use the touchpad on the wall of your room floor to select the public access floor you desire.

St. Regis Bar and Wine Vault

There are no coffee makers in the St. Regis standard rooms. Guests staying in suites receive butler service with complimentary morning coffee service. Otherwise, if you are not dining for breakfast at Atlantico, coffee in the St. Regis Bar during morning hours runs $5.08 per cup.

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‘Is it me? For a moment’ – Dr. Jimmy, Quadrophenia – The Who

Paying for coffee is my pet peeve with many luxury hotels. I had to enter the promenade to get a cup of coffee. The Hall of Mirrors is great to watch a reflection on dozens of mirrored spaces in the hallway when it is not my reflection. Someone on TripAdvisor.com wrote coffee makers are available at the hotel upon request. 

For my three stays at St. Regis hotels in December 2012 (courtesy of SPG American Express as part of the 2012 SPG Amex Stars blogger campaign),  St. Regis Princeville Kauai had an in-room coffee maker, but St. Regis San Francisco and St. Regis Bal Harbour did not have in-room coffee makers in the standard rooms.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour Bar with pay coffee service available in the morning hours.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour Wine Vault

The bar has an evening champagne saber opening performance from what I have read after my stay. I didn’t hear about that while at the hotel.

I did hear live music in the evening at the bar. The equipment set unaccompanied in the bar during the day.

Swimming Pools

Two pools are accessed from the ground floor beach side, one floor below the Hall of Mirrors entrance of the St. Regis Bal Harbour. Remede Spa is near the elevators. Two small fitness center rooms face the Family Pool.

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The ground floor promenade seemed cavernous and unappealingly stark to me. 

Remede Spa is off to left and the lightness and art in the reception area of the spa is an inviting space in this ground floor cave. The end of the hallway has fitness exercise rooms on the left and right with pool views.

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Looking to pool doors from elevators area of ground floor St. Regis Bal Harbour.

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Family pool early in the morning before the children arrived. There were always children in this pool. You can pay St. Regis Bal Harbour to take kids off your hands. Open air cabanas are visible in the background. Pool café dining tables are out of picture range to left and in front of pool in the foreground. The photo was taken from stairs to second floor, lobby level adult pool.

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Family pool in the evening. One of the fitness rooms with exercise equipment is seen on left next to the pool. J&G Grill is second level windows.

The Family Pool area was busy during the day for my stay. Children, sunbathers and diners filled the space around the pool.

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Family Pool reflecting full moon light, St. Regis Bal Harbour – Dec 27, 2012.

St. Regis Bal Harbour has an adults only pool on the second floor level.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour adults only pool on left seen from room #1110 around 5pm. The pool on right is exclusive use for St. Regis Residences.

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This pool was seldom used even though there were at times more than a dozen people lounging in chairs during the day. There was really only good sun from 10am to about 3:30pm before the sun goes behind the buildings. The weather was sunny five of six days in mid 70s and low 80s for the daytime highs in late December and morning lows in the high 50s to low 60s.

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Liquid, food and sunscreen station. There were a few of these set up around the pools with one at the beach hut. JohnnyJet’s blog indicated the beach hut is a remnant from the Sheraton Bal Harbour days. I highly recommend you read JohnnyJet’s review of the St. Regis Bal Harbour with a cache of great photos from his November 2012 stay.

The lounge chairs around the pool had magazine selections and even a thick book or two on the towels for your engagement during the day. Drink service available.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour adults pool. Music plays through speakers set up all around the outside pool area. 

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Fountains and lights provided a beautiful space to enjoy on December nights when there are 13 hours of darkness.

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Cocoplum Oceanfront Day Villa

Oceanfront Day VillasLuxurious 600-square-foot air-conditioned cabanas are elegantly decorated, complete with marble floors and walls, antiqued mirrors, plush couch, wet bar, bath and shower, flat screen TV, movies on demand, a Bose iPod docking station and mini-fridge. A spacious patio offers a daybed, umbrellas, dining table and privacy hedges. Amenities include fresh fruit, Fiji water, champagne, Hampton Sunscreen and after burn, terry robes and slippers. Featuring full Butler service, only nine Oceanfront Day Villas exist and are perched just below the Tranquility pool with beautiful ocean views for enjoying a private oasis or special celebration. Starting at $550. St. Regis Bal Harbour

The Beach at Bal Harbour

St. Regis Bal Harbour has about 1,000 feet of beachfront. A battalion of staff man the beach chairs, repositioning them throughout the day for sun exposure and retoweling chairs for guest changes.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour beachfront at dawn’s early rising.

The workers start early in the morning, smoothing out the sand by tractor, laying out an array of lounge chairs, positioning cushions and towels.

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And the staff break it all down again in early evening.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour seen from the beach. Residential units in left building and hotel is right building. Other residential tower is blocked by hotel.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel room balconies.

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St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort.

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Bal Harbour beach.

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9 out of 10 seagulls selected Bal Harbour for a brief stay December 28, 2012.

 

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

5 Responses

  1. ROFL. I think that 10th seagull went to the youth hostel.

  2. How did the experience at the hotel all come together? Did you enjoy your stay? Was service effortless? From the read, you sound unenthusiastic at best.

  3. @Tom – the hotel is a decent experience, but not the kind of hotel stay I particularly enjoy. I am too independent and prefer privacy when this place is filled with staff waiting to address your every whim. The staff were responsive and pleasantly handled all my needs, which were few.

    The room was very comfortable and probably the largest non-suite room I have stayed.

    I would have likely enjoyed the hotel more if my wife’s travel arrangements had not been mishandled preventing her from flying to Miami with me. The trip was specifically scheduled for late December so she could accompany me to the St. Regis Bal Harbour and somehow a travel agent incorrectly spelled her first and last name on her flight reservation preventing her from being able to board the plane in Monterey.

    As it was, I was just looking forward to getting back home to California.

    The Miami Beach area had little appeal to me. I prefer our beaches around my home in Monterey, California where there are no skyscrapers and plenty of sea life hanging out close to shore.

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