The iconic St. Regis brand is coming to South Florida in the form of an oceanfront hotel and residences in an enviable location, just across from the Bal Harbour Shops. The opening, on January 19, 2012, is hotly anticipated, not only because the property itself promises to be spectacular, but because it is a game changer in Miami's luxury scene.
To be sure, this isn't just another pretty face. I recently went down to check out the construction in progress and was duly impressed. It's a 27-floor, three tower structure--the hotel flanked by two residential towers--with huge expanses of glass. There is not a single room without an ocean view.
The entrance is unusual. Not the typical bank of glass panes stretching across a soaring facade, entry is via double glass doors that make it look more like a city hotel. When I asked about it, I was told they were trying to keep the entrance experience intimate. It certainly does not give anything away. You don't know what to expect until you walk in and are confronted by a high-ceilinged foyer with floor-to-ceiling bleached movingui, an exotic wood harvested in West Africa. The panels will act as backdrop to an art collection, which is not yet on site but is expected to be impressive. Beyond this space is the heart of the public space, defined by towering walls wrapped in a three-dimensional antique mirror treatment. The antique mirror element appears elsewhere in the hotel, though not to this breathtaking extent.
The design is by Yabu Pushelberg, a firm known for its cutting-edge concepts in the hospitality industry. For perspective, the firm designed the St. Regis in San Francisco and the W in Times Square. The interior of the Bal Harbour property is a contemporary design with nods to the Art Deco era, during which Miami came of age. it's unfussy but warm, with luxurious details that will not go unnoticed by those with an eye for true beauty.
The rooms are simply gorgeous, and large—the smallest is 650 square feet. Every one has an enormous balcony. If you're in a suite, expect the elevator to deliver you just outside your room. The presidential suite has its own private elevator—and a whopping 2,800 square feet of living space.
The building of this St. Regis is reported to have cost $1 billion. Even months before completion, it shows. I, for one, can't wait to see it finished.