If you recall back in April I was named one of American Express’ Star travel bloggers to show the benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. Almost every frequent traveler (including moi) carries one of these bad boys in their wallets since their points can be redeemed for both airline miles and hotel stays. I worked out a deal where they provided me (and a guest!) some really cool experiences like attending The Tribeca Film Festival, The US Open and staying at the new St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Florida.
I was particularly excited about going to The St. Regis Bal Harbour and it had little to do with it’s being one of Starwood’s new flagship properties which they spent close to a billion dollars building. It was really because this is the same land where we spent a few vacations growing up (it used to be the Sheraton) and I was repaying my dad by treating him to a trip for his birthday.
On top of that Starwood is giving me 60,000 SPG points to give away to one of my readers which is enough points to have your own two-night stay here or wherever else you want to use them! The giveaway will be live next week and below are 12 reasons why you would want to spend your 60,000 SPG points at the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour is located on an island 15 minutes north of South Beach. If you get tired of soaking up the rays on a private beach or swimming in the warm Atlantic Ocean then walk across the street to the luxurious Bal Harbour Shops. There they have high end stores like Hermes, Harry Winston, Neiman Marcus and a bunch of fine restaurants.
Good to know: The Miami International Airport is 15 miles (24.14 km) and a $43 taxi / $20 Airport Shuttle ride away, while the Fort Lauderdale International Airport is 12 miles (19.31 km) and a $45 taxi/ $15 Airport Shuttle ride away. More transportation info.
When my dad and I walked into the entrance from the hotel I had no idea this was the old Sheraton. It was completely different and I mean completely. It turns out they imploded the Sheraton in 2007 and the St. Regis just opened in January 2012.
Starwood usually manages their hotels and only owns a few (four to be exact) but this is one of them and it’s a beauty. Just like The St. Regis New York which is their flagship and where Natalie and I recently spent two nights.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour was designed by the famous Toronto design firm of Yabu Pushelberg. Between the hotel and the residences (the buildings next store) it was close to a billion dollar project. BTW: There are 255 apartments in the residences and I was told they range in price from $2.5 million to 20 million and 80 percent have been sold.
The resort features one-of-a-kind materials such as Chinese God Flower Stone Marble and South African Movingue wood which can be found throughout the property. The hotel tower was constructed to allow all rooms to have an ocean view.
Good to know: Every St. Regis entrance is supposed to feel like you are walking into a private mansion – The St. Regis Bal Harbour’s entrance is designed to make guests feel like they are entering a private south beach villa!
The St. Regis Bal Harbour has 243 guest rooms in a 27-story building. At 650 square feet they have the largest standard rooms on the eastern seaboard and the balconies might be too at 210 square feet. Rooms are beautifully designed and beds are super comfortable. Everything from the lights, curtains and temperature can be controlled by the touch of a button. BTW: The blinds are on a sensor so they automatically close after a while of no movement to protect the furniture. The elevator buttons don’t even have to be touched either — just scan your key card and it tells you which of the five elevators to go in and viola.
Good to know: Thanks to my friend who works in their PR office we got upgraded to a two-bedroom suite with a full size kitchen and three balconies. The suite was sweet and the elevators have a rear door so they open to a private nook to let us suite guests get off right in front of their door.
The bathrooms are wall-to-wall marble and come with double vanity sinks, rainforest showers, and a separate deep soaking tub. There’s even a TV built into the mirror and the bath amenities are by Remède.
5. Butler Service
Each room has 24/7 butler service. They are not in your face and in fact I only met mine once on arrival since I never called to arrange for any of their services like free packing and unpacking, pressing, or shoeshine. We could’ve also ordered juice, coffee or tea at no charge and brought on demand.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour has three restaurants, including the J & G Grill which is their signature restaurant developed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It features his favorite dishes of all his restaurants worldwide and is beautifully designed. The 100-seat restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows with pool and Atlantic Ocean views.
Next door is Atlantico which is open for breakfast and offers inside or outside seating (one of their specialties is Huevos Rancheros). Near the pool is the casual Oceanside Restaurant and Bar that serves South American-influenced cuisine. Of course, room service is also offered 24 hours a day.
7. Champagne Sabering
When my dad found out this was the old Sheraton he said we used to call this place the cemetery by the sea. Not anymore. The St. Regis Bal Harbour is filled with young affluent people — especially by the bar. The St. Regis Bar has live jazz every evening and a Champagne Sabering at 7:30 PM in which guests get a free tasting.
Good to know: The Bloody Mary was invented in The St. Regis New Yorkand each hotel has their own signature Bloody Mary. The St. Regis Bal Harbour’s is made with a Key lime ice cube.
8. Art work
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort has an expansive art collection and my favorite piece is a mural by local artist Santiago Rubino entitled “Eyes of the Stars.” It’s located in the bar and offers guests an eye-catching visual experience. It’s so beautiful that the nightly chocolates the housekeepers leave during turned down service have the mural featured on the wrapper.
You can’t have a five star hotel without a five star spa so be sure to check out the hotel’s 14,000 square foot Remède Spa. It features relaxation areas, steam and sauna rooms, cold and hot plunge pools and twelve treatment rooms. There’s a comprehensive menu of unique customized treatments which can be found on their website.
10. Working out
Before you hit the hotel’s Spa be sure to visit either their state-of-the-art Athletic Club or better yet take one of the daily wellness classes led by husband/wife team of celebrity trainers, Chris and Tracie Wright Vlaun. The classes are on the beach and are a unique but memorable workout. To learn more check out their website V Art of Wellness (FYI: “V” stands for Vibration to raise the body’s vibrational energy and overall health).
Good to know: There’s a one mile jogging path that goes the entire length of Bal Harbour — the city spent $3 million to build it.
11. Free rides in a Bentley
You can’t stay in a stylish hotel without having a sweet ride and the St. Regis Bal Harbour offers free rides in a Bentley from 10 am to 6 pm. Must be within a six mile radius.
12. Beach/Pool Cabana’s
Of course, one of the main reasons you want to come here is for the beautiful soft sand beach and warm clear blue waters of the Atlantic. What’s nice to know is the hotel doesn’t try to nickel and dime you with beach chairs or umbrellas – they are free just like the internet.
What’s not free is the 29 Royal Cabanas ($150 a day) and 9 private Presidential Cabanas ($550 a day) equipped with wet bars, full bath and showers, days beds, flat screen TV and butler service.
Good to know: Cabanas are available from 9 to 6 pm and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to reserve one. Pools are open 24/7.
As you can see there are tons of reasons to stay at The St. Regis Bal Harbour and I didn’t even get into all the details like the five Les Clefs d’or concierges so you will just have to experience it for yourself.