At the beginning of the year, Forbes magazine listed what it said were the 10 most anticipated hotel openings of 2012. The first and the last on the list were in Miami, and on Sunday, I got a tour of the first, the St. Regis in Bal Harbour.
The St. Regis, on Collins Avenue immediately across from Bal Harbour Shops, opened a month ago
with 243 rooms in the hotel plus two residence towers. The hotel’s fanciest restaurant is J&G Grill, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, offering Peekytoe crab cake, black truffle pizzas, roasted grouper, and grilled veal chop. The 14,000-square-foot spa (and bathroom amenities) are by Remede. The complex has 1,000 feet of oceanfront beach, two pools and cabanas that run $500+ a day.
Forbes chose the St. Regis, in part, for its glam ambiance. It was hard not to be dazzled by the décor, especially the high-ceilinged lobby with its upside-down-rosebud chandeliers of rock crystal, the faceted mirror walls, and the elegant wine vault that is part of the lobby bar.
Standard rooms run $400-$800; suites run well into four figures or more. Every room has an ocean view from a balcony of about 200 square feet or larger (the presidential suite has a 1,200-square-foot balcony). Marc Rapp, the butler who gave me and another journalist the tour, said the allure of the balconies, with their lounge chairs plus table and chairs, is such that a higher-than-usual percentage of guests order room-service meals. Looking at the view of palm-lined sand and dramatically green water, I could see why.
The other Miami hotel on the Forbes list is the James Royal Palm, a renovation of the historic Royal Palm hotel, scheduled to open at the end of 2012. Click here for the complete list.