When picking hotels I was well aware that as a city built on tourism, Miami has shortage of amazing beachfront properties which tick all the ‘great holiday’ boxes. However, since I was travelling with my mum, I was looking for something that little bit more special.
The St Regis Bal Harbour opened on the 19 January of this year. Located in one of Miami’s wealthiest neighbourhoods it is a 15 minute drive from the pulsing mayhem of South Beach. If you’ve ever stayed in a St Regis you’ll know that apart from the amazing rooms and service there are the little extras that make any trip unforgettable.
As I'm typing this Tyler my personal St Regis Butler is wrapping my dresses in tissue paper, folding my purchases and packing everything neatly into my suitcase. And in the morning the complementary St Regis chauffeur driven Bentley is unavoidably going to ferry me on a last minute dash to the shops. Oh, and before bed there are the delicious handmade gourmet chocolates that send me off into a sweet satisfied slumber. Holidays don't get any better and it is these little gestures which made me choose the St Regis.
The moment I walked through the doors, I thought 'wow' and I am not easily wowed. The hotel was designed by Seiger Suarez Architectural Partnership with interiors by renowned studio Yabu Pushelberg. There is a delicate balance of beautiful luxury but that doesn’t descend into tasteless over-the-top opulence. Marble, mirrors and handcut crystal chandeliers. Lilac coloured blooms which bring the spaces to life and friendly, sunny staff. Many of the other hotels in Miami were built in the 90s or early noughties and don't necessarily have the same 'wow factor' you expect when shelling out for a five-star.
We stayed in a deluxe oceanfront room on the 21st floor which opened up onto the most gorgeous azure view of the Atlantic Ocean.
All rooms at the St Regis are 'smart'. There are no switches to flick on or off. Everything can be done from the comfort of your bed or from super simple touch panels on the walls. Want to draw the curtains? Swipe your finger. Switch on the lights? Swipe your finger. Play moody jazz or classical chill-out? ... yup, you guessed it; swipe your finger. It's a bit like having a magic wand.
Everything in the rooms is designed for ultimate comfort. The beds are like everything else in America, supersized. There is a nightly turn-down service (remember those chocolates?) and bottles of Fiji water for every guest. Slippers, bathrobes and a million goodies in the bathrooms to perk you up after a long soak in the massive marble bath. An ipod connecter and stereo system mean you can bring the party back to yours after a night on South Beach. And if you can't face the beach in the morning you can collapse on the sofa-lounger on the balcony and still catch the rays.
As a five star the St Regis has everything you could want. There are two swimming pools, jacuzzi, beach, spa, state of the art gym and two restaurants. The food throughout the Hotel is delicious and I've posted a review of breakfast here, if you are interested.
I've now moved from my room to the bar. It’s a balmy evening and there is a quartet of musicians playing live Latin jazz and couples dancing the salsa cheek-to-cheek. It could aptly serve as the setting for a modern day Casablanca, except that there's no Bogey making sultry chocolate eyes at me from across the room, which is about the only thing the St Regis can't provide.
As I sit here, gently swaying to a jazzy improvisation of Louis Armstrong's 'It's a Wonderful World' (no really!) I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness to be leaving this beautiful little haven of tranquility and all the happy memories its given me. However, can't shake the feeling that it's Hasta La Vista, Baby.... I'll be back.