A Tale of Two Miamis

A tale of two Miamis


I recently had the opportunity to stay in two of Miami’s best hotels: the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, and the Acqualina Resort and Spa.  Both resorts are recipients of both the Forbes Five Star award as well as the AAA Five Diamond award, among the most prestigious rankings in the industry.  These awards attest to the high level of service, quality of rooms and other facilities, and overall atmosphere experienced in both resorts.


The St. Regis Bal Harbour sits at the northern tip of Miami Beach in Bal Harbour Village.  The Village has a great vibe and aesthetic, with hotels and residences along the beach and high-end shopping and dining set further back but still within comfortable walking distance or a short ride in the house car.



At the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, the unique shape and configuration of the building is such that every room is afforded an ocean view from its large balcony.




Rooms start at a generous 650 square feet, and max out with the Grand Palace suite measuring 7500 square feet and featuring two separate media entertainment rooms as well as eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms.



Looking for the ultimate beach-side experience?  Consider one of the St. Regis Resort’s Oceanfront Day Villas.  Measuring at 600 square feet, the Villas sit between the pools and the beach, and feature indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, a private shower, a stocked bar, food and beverage service, and complimentary amenities throughout the day.


Champagne Sabrage is an evening tradition at many St. Regis properties around the world, and can be experienced every evening at 7:30pm in the St. Regis Bar at their Bal Harbour property.  The dramatic ritual involves a specially trained St. Regis butler who, with a flourish worthy of the Three Musketeers, uses a traditional Champagne Saber to remove the top of a bottle of champagne.  All guests then receive a complimentary glass of champagne, and participate in an evening toast.


The St. Regis is located directly across the street from the Bal Harbour Shops.  The chic indoor/outdoor mall contains a garden-like atmosphere with palm trees and waterfalls, and the extensive array of designer and specialty shops is a worthy rival to The Galleria, Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive.


“We refer to our staff members as Dream Makers” says Christof Pignet, the General Manager at Aqualina Resort and Spa.  The staff holds a monthly competition between departments to see how many ways each staff member can deliver an over-the-top experience for clients.  He tells of how Valet Services had initially not won any of the competitions, so they decided to examine how they were doing things and what they could do to improve.  They came up with ideas such as topping off clients’ vehicles with gas before they left the property.  They also now will affix the seatbelt of each guest as they leave the property, whether in their own vehicle or that of a service.  Moves like that have put Valet Services ahead in recent months, though the competition remains fierce.


Acqualina sits several miles north of the St. Regis, on Sunny Isles Beach.  Sunny Isles is a barrier island which sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway.  Luxury residences (including the Estates and Mansions at Acqualina) compete along the beachfront with stunning hotels, of which Acqualina is the crown jewel.


Rooms at the Acqualina start at 600 square feet; the largest are the three bedroom suites measuring at 2375 square feet.  All rooms include a separate shower and Jacuzzi tub (along with the signature Acqualina rubber duck!), as well as a sleeper sofa and private balcony.




Acqualina is a great choice for couples and solo travelers, with its ESPA Spa, Il Mulino Italian restaurant, and its stunning location.  It is also a great choice for families and multigenerational groups:  Acqualina is the recipient of the Fodor’s Choice Gold Award as one of the Best Hotels for Kids and Families in the United States.  This honor is due in part to Acqualina’s AcquaMarine supervised program for children.  Available to guests of the Acqualina on a complimentary basis, AcquaMarine is a supervised program for children ages 5 through 12, with a marine biology-inspired curriculum incorporating learning activities and play.

There is also a Teen Program that offers themed events and fitness training sessions, as well as a schedule of family programs including classes taught by one of the Resort chefs and a chance to encounter and learn about Sea Turtles.

The beach lawn at Acqualina is a unique, beautiful feature; looking out at the pristine white sand beach and ocean beyond, the lawn provides a sanctuary to those who enjoy the look of the beach while not relishing the feel of the sand!


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Both resorts are located 20-30 minutes from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports.  Both airports offer both multiple daily direct commercial flights from Houston (via United, American Airlines, and Spirit Airlines) as well as FBO services for private aviation.

Please contact Andrew Butler Travel to arrange your next Miami stay.  As a member of Virtuoso, I can secure the following amenities at no additional cost to you:

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full Breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests, served in Restaurant ($50.00 credit per person)
  • $100 USD equivalent Spa Services credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, excludes spa products)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Acqualina Resort and Spa:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Through July 31st you can also enjoy a 4th night free (restrictions apply)

In addition, through my personal connections at both properties I can make sure that you are a recognized and treated as a VIP client.

As your luxury travel advisor, I believe that travel should be a personalized, transformative experience that transcends your time and monetary investment.  I would love to get to know you and your family so that I can design custom trips to fit your unique needs and interests.  Please contact me to start planning your next trip!

Andrew Butler

Luxury Travel Advisor

Andrew Butler Travel




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