Indagare Matchmaker: Bal Harbour Hotels

South Florida-based travel writer Sara Liss looks at what distinguishes St. Regis Bal Harbour and Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour.

In recent years, the posh, residential enclave of Bal Harbour has become a destination for travelers looking for a beachfront retreat with top-notch amenities coupled with modern swagger. While technically part of Miami Beach, it’s far removed from the fray, and has a pristine coastline, excellent dining and shopping options all within reach. Plus, it’s home to two flagship resorts with five-star service.

Here’s how to decide between the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour and St. Regis Bal Harbour.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Bal Harbour and Miami. Our team can match you with the accommodations, reservations and activities that are right for you.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour

Family-friendly, Removed, Private

At the northern end of Bal Harbour, The Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbor is virtually surrounded by water and features spectacular views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. The spacious rooms, each with a private terrace, are comfortably laid out to maximize privacy, with only two per floor—maximizing privacy. While it’s a large resort, the lack of crowds and personalized service give it an intimate feel, a welcome contrast to the raucous atmosphere of some Miami hotels.

  • Best for: Families who want a quiet escape, with the full-service amenities of a large resort that maintains a boutique feel. The semi-private beach ensures you won’t have to worry about crowds, and the hotel pool hosts kid-friendly activities like swimming contests and smoothie tastings. Travelers’ four-legged babies are also welcome here with a pet-friendly policy and an oceanfront dog park on-property.
  • Rooms to Book: Suites here offer the most versatility, and are worth the upgrade, with full kitchens and dining areas
  • Keep in Mind: The hotel is slightly removed from the “action” of Bal Harbour—meaning the luxury shopping and dining destination Bal Harbour Shops—which is a 15-minute walk (or five-minute drive) south on Collins Ave.
  • Favored Activities: The on-site Exhale spa offers a full schedule of fitness and yoga classes in addition to spa treatments in an oceanfront hall of pampering. And fashion lovers should take advantage of the hotel’s “Couture Concierge,” a personalized shopping experience to Bal Harbour Shops or to one of the many shopping districts in Miami with stylist and editor Elysze Held.
  • Where to Eat: If you want to dine on property, the options are slim but good: a poolside restaurant and the in-house Artisan Beach House, which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine like mezze and brick oven pizzas with a waterfront terrace that feels like you’re on the bow of an ocean liner. Artisan Beach House also hosts live music on the weekends and a sumptuous weekend brunch overlooking the water from its glass-enclosed dining room.
Related: Why We Love Bal Harbour

The St. Regis Bal Harbour

Dreamy Opulence

This glamorous resort is all glitz and gloss, from the shiny black marble floors imported from China to jewel-box like mirrored entry hall festooned with crystal chandeliers. Forget laid-back beach vibes—it’s all about the bling here, and it works. The Bal Harbor Shops are directly across the street in case you’re feeling spendy, and the spa is a 14,000-square-foot temple of pampering. All the hallmarks of St. Regis-level service are on display here, including the daily champagne sabering and toast to the attentive butler service.

  • Best for: Couples and groups of friends who want easy access to Bal Harbour Shops with all the amenities of a beach resort.
  • Room to Book: The suites are spectacular, with full kitchens and living rooms, but even the entry-level standard Deluxe View Room doesn’t skimp on luxuries. These entry-level rooms all have water views, an enormous all-marble bathroom, walk-in-closet and a huge balcony, plus dedicated butler service.
  • Keep in Mind: While this spot is probably the most active in Bal Harbour, it’s still not ideal if you’re looking to experience the buzz Miami. Most nightlife and attractions are a 20-minute drive away.
  • Favored Activities: The hotel’s St. Regis Spa is inspired by icon Caroline Astor, and offers treatments featuring products for luxe beauty brands Sothy’s, Omorovicza and Intraceuticals. The 90-minute 24K Gold Wrap sums up the hotel’s commitment to ultra luxury. Couple’s treatment rooms are also available with a two-person soaking tub, private rain showers and separate treatment areas.
  • Where to Eat: There are two main restaurants on property - BH Burger bar offering casual fare and the Greek-influenced Atlantikos with a gorgeous breakfast buffet of Aegean classics like spanakopita and feta salad. The swanky St. Regis Bar hosts live music seven nights a week (in addition to the complimentary toast during the evening champagne sabering) while the in-lobby La Gourmandise offers French pastries and coffees in a sun-filled atrium.
— Sara LissContact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Bal Harbour and Miami. Our team can match you with the accommodations, reservations and activities that are right for you.This content was created in collaboration with Bal Harbour Village and published by Indagare Travel.

Published onOctober 24, 2023

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