The St. Regis Bal Harbour is one of Miami Beach’s newest and glitziest luxury resorts. Opened in 2012, it stands 27 stories tall and boasts 207 rooms and suites. The property also plays host to two luxury residence towers and a set of condos. With its two oceanfront pools, four restaurants, and a myriad of additional offerings, the St. Regis Bal Harbour was a great location to take a quick, long-weekend dip in the life of luxury.
Booking a Room at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
Lucy and I wanted to take a long weekend away from the cold (and the Atlanta Super Bowl traffic!) to celebrate our anniversary, so we decided on Miami. Because I travel a lot for work, I have saved up quite a chest of hotel points with Marriott. And due to the recent SPG merger and upcoming points devaluation, we wanted to take the opportunity to use some points on a top-end hotel.
Miami Beach contains many Marriott properties, but most are rated Category 5 or higher with Marriott. With this stay, we wanted to get the most bang for our buck, so we scoured the Marriott booking portal for the perfect match of reward availability, value, and reputation.
We found that The Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour, W South Beach, and St. Regis Bal Harbour all had decent reward availability with redemptions priced at 60,000 points per night* with resort fees of $40 per night. We chose the St. Regis because of its incredible reviews and how new the property was. However, I don’t think you could go wrong at any of these properties.
*YMMV – Marriott is now introducing a new hotel tier, peak/low seasons, and a new rewards chart, so you should expect to shell out more for these hotels in the near future.
Check-In at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
Prior to our arrival at the hotel, we were contacted by the hotel to gather some information for our stay, including the occasion we were celebrating, when we would arrive, etc. While this was beneficial, we were contacted three separate times by different parties at the hotel, including the concierge, butler desk, and complex reservation specialists. This is a small nit, but with this level of hotel, this interaction came off as unorganized.
The concierge desk was extremely helpful prior to our reservation, offering to book transport from the airport, spa treatments, and restaurant recommendations. We took prime advantage of the restaurant recommendations and made reservations at restaurants in South Beach in advance.
Check-in itself left a lot to be desired. Communication was once again an issue, as the check-in specialist had to be reminded that we were celebrating our anniversary and stumbled to grab a generic printed card thanking us for staying and offering us our choice of sweet from their pastry shop (a whopping $9 value).
We also were not upgraded at check-in, despite requesting an upgrade through Marriott’s Suite Night Awards program. This was frustrating as, despite my status Platinum Premier Elite status, they only offer Junior Suite upgrades, leaving multiple “Premium Suites” sitting empty during our stay.
After checking in, a bellhop showed us to our room and gave us a tour of the room, which was a welcomed touch.
Food & Drinks at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day right? Well, the St. Regis Bal Harbour nails breakfast, with a full buffet. As a Platinum member with Marriott, I chose the free breakfast for two as my check-in amenity, and that was by far the best choice we made all weekend. The buffet (normally $25 per person) features anything you may want: french toast, hand-made omelets, overnight oats, fresh honeycomb; you name it, they have it. They even offer mimosas, lattes, and fresh juice cocktails complimentary.
Other dining at the hotel is generally average and over-priced. As a result, we decided to stay away from dinners at the hotel and ventured down to South Beach for dining. If you do need a quick dinner option, we recommend the St. Regis Bar which offered free bar snacks and fresh sushi rolls at a reasonable price.
For our dinners, we tried out Byblos, a Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of South Beach. The ambiance at the restaurant was incredible, with beautiful blues, whites, and pastels. The food and drink also shone brightly. We also dined at Cecconi’s at SoHo Beach House. Cecconi’s is a quaint Italian restaurant nestled in the courtyard of the hotel. The food and ambiance here were really impressive. We will definitely visit again on our next trip to Miami.
Drinking at the hotel was also a unique experience. Guests were given one cocktail per person each day at the St. Regis bar that rotated daily. The bar also plays host to the St. Regis’ daily evening ritual: the traditional champagne sabering, after which they pour glasses of champagne for those in attendance. Outside of those experiences, drinks at the hotel are very expensive but are in line with what to expect in Miami.
Service at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
The St. Regis is known for having a very high bar when it comes to service. However, in this instance, the service did not quite meet that very high bar. From the offset, service within the hotel was not top-notch. At check-in, we were informed that we would not be granted a late checkout (despite requesting well in advance) and were offered no reason as to why. After arriving in our room, we called the concierge to request a second robe since only one had been provided initially in the room. The biggest critique for the service within the hotel came from the fact that we were celebrating our anniversary was not recognized by any of the staff after check-in. For a hotel that prides itself in service, it left a lot to be desired.
The service outside the hotel however was top-notch. We could not be any more complimentary of the attendants at the door, the pool, and the beach. Attendants at the beach and pool were at every guest’s beck and call, offering guests water, sunscreen, fresh towels, to open or close the umbrella — whatever you wanted, they were eager to provide it. On our first day at the beach, we met an attendant named Boy who was on transfer from the St. Regis in Bali. His service and his memory were incredible. Running into him two days later, he remembered our names and our favorite drinks and immediately offered to get them for us upon arrival.
Again, we could not be any more pleased with the level of service we received outside the hotel. The stay would have been made even better if that level of service had continued inside the hotel.
Location of the St. Regis Bal Harbour
The St. Regis Bal Harbour is positioned ~20 minutes north of South Beach, right next to The Shops at Bal Harbour. Overall, the location was very good, offering a quiet stretch of beach that felt secluded compared to South Beach. It also allowed us to take a quick Uber or Lyft into South Beach if we so desired. We really enjoyed the location because we felt it provided a great level of flexibility for our stay.
Overall Experience at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
The St. Regis Bal Harbour is a very luxurious hotel that offers a great location, friendly staff, and extremely comfortable beds. For us, the service inside the hotel knocked the St. Regis down a few notches. Throughout our stay it felt that if we were in a Suite or a Premium Room, we would have been treated differently, which was not a great feeling. However, the location is perfect, and the service outside the hotel was impeccable. Lucy and I loved Miami, but we would not pay to stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour again. However, if you have the opportunity to stay with points or for business, we would highly recommend.
Where have you stayed in Miami? Have you had any experiences you’d like to share? Please let us know!