5 Tips for Staying at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
As a part of the Amex SPG Stars program, we recently spent Labor Day Weekend at the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami, and I shared a pretty extensive review and write-up of our room and time at the hotel here. However, in the interest of not writing more than anyone would care to read in one setting, I drew the line at "just" 2,000 words and 35 pictures in that post, but I still have a few tips to add for those considering a similar trip.
Budget a Lot for Food and Drinks or Eat Elsewhere
Even if you are staying at the St. Regis Bal Harbour on points, you may still end up spending a fair amount of money as food and drinks at this property are pricey. As Exhibit A I give you the $25 burger and its $21 vegan cousin at the Burger Bar inside the St. Regis Bal Harbour. Fries not included. The burgers, zucchini fries, and parmesan tots were certainly good, but hitting close to $100 for a burgers and fries lunch does not feel very good.
We were hungry and desperate upon arrival to the hotel, so this was as good as it was going to get for us, but we did suffer from lunchtime sticker shock...and decided that meal counted as both our late lunch and dinner which was good for our budget and waistline.
One night we did enjoy a comparatively fairly priced three course meal at the St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge by having the $39 Miami Spice special through the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, so look for that if you are looking for a little more than a burger without going totally broke.
Thanks to having a baby along for the ride, and mainly my own totally poorly planned poison ivy outbreak that did not do well out in the Miami heat, we didn't leave the property very much to source cheaper food. However, there are cheaper spots (even a Subway Sandwiches) within a few blocks of the hotel, so you can venture elsewhere for some meals even without using a car if you want to keep costs down or just experience more that the area has to offer.
Splurge on the St. Regis Buffet Breakfast
Now that I have hopefully sufficiently prepped you for the mealtime sticker shock at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, I will say that the buffet breakfast is absolutely worth the financial and caloric splurge at least once on your stay. Breakfast is served overlooking the ocean in the same location as the J&G Grill that is open for dinner. Hopefully you have SPG Platinum elite status or booked via a rate or program like the Amex Fine Hotel and Resorts program that includes breakfast for two, but if not it is $39 for everything from mimosas, to a fresh fruit bar, to egg whites, to insanely fresh fruit, to a handmade omelette station, to fluffy bagels with smoked salmon, and so much more.
Taking our own advice from the day before, we decided to have this meal count as two meals for the purposes of budget and health...and it was worth it.
Seriously, this was not a breakfast buffet where anything was filler. It was all top notch and so good. The service and view in the restaurant were also very good. I obviously wouldn't want to spend that much per person on breakfast every day, but if you are going all out to stay at the St. Regis, you might as well go for the full over-the-top breakfast experience once, too.
Take Advantage of the Freebies
While the things you have to pay for at the St. Regis Bal Harbour probably aren't going to be cheap, there are plenty of included perks to take advantage of. This includes things like free champagne at check-in and in the evenings at the daily sabering, free quality coffee and tea in the lobby each morning, free bottled waters in the morning by the pool and in the fitness room, kids beach toys, and more.
The St. Regis Bentley House Car is also available on a first-come, first-served basis for complimentary drop-offs within a 6-mile radius of the hotel. Why Uber when you can take the Bentley for free?! Those included "nice to haves" do help a little bit make the overall experience a bit more affordable and enjoyable.
Use the On-Site Kid's Club or Babysitters
The St. Regis Bal Harbour has a just expanded their kid's club, aka the Sea Turtle Club, and they offer childcare for children 4-12 via fun programs and half-day or full-day sessions. This starts at $55 for half-day sessions, but I believe I saw it was included with some suite reservations.
Our littlest one wasn't old enough for that service yet, but we were able to hire one of the staff to do private babysitting for four hours so we could enjoy a little time on the beach and at dinner with friends without Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I know not everyone is comfortable using services like this at hotels, but we checked in on our babysitter many times and our little one was always having fun and never unhappy to see me leave. I personally prefer to use babysitters as connected to the hotel as possible for various reasons, and in this case everyone had a great experience.
Relax and Soak It In
This may be the most obvious of the five tips, but it is also the most important. If you are going to splurge on points or dollars to stay at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, do it when you have time to enjoy just being there. This isn't the kind of place to stay at when you want to just drop your bags and head off for the day with a packed agenda. There are far more affordable and less luxurious places to stay in Miami for that sort of trip.
This is the kind of place where you wander the few yards from pool to ocean to pool and then back to your room before doing it all over again.
Budget enough to enjoy a cocktail or two served oceanside (about $20 each) and then just soak in the moment and exhale. You came here to relax and be pampered for a couple of days, so keep that high on the priority list.
Even though our two-night stay was provided by the Amex Stars program, our weekend was still far from free because simply being at the St. Regis Bal Harbour doesn't come cheap. However, I think it was worth it as we left after our short stay actually feeling like we had been on vacation, which is a rare thing when traveling with a baby. I'd love to hear your tips if you have also stayed at this St. Regis!