Swank you very much: The Regent Bal Harbour
Infinity pool, butlers and a water temperature testing area in the showers. You'll feel fancy just reading this.
By Sara Liss
The Concept: The Bal Harbour hotel is the North American flagship for the Regent brand, which encompasses hotels, resorts, residences and cruises throughout the world. With properties in Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei, and future developments slated for Bangkok, Abu Dhabi and Costa Rica, the hotel group is well-recognized in the upscale travel market.
The Rooms: It's all about the textures: dark mahogany floors, bamboo walls and leather tiles. Privacy-seekers will relish the Regent's lack of hotel corridors, as semi-private elevators open to two rooms at a time. All guest rooms and suites boast ocean and bay views, nicely framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious balconies. Free-standing, egg-shaped bathtubs beckon to be bathed in, while glass-enclosed showers feature a signature Regent touch: the "toe-tap" groove for testing water temperature before entering. One-bedroom suites feature a full-service kitchen including a dishwasher, Subzero appliances, convection oven and washer/dryer.
No need to bring a laptop, as the in-room keyboards connect to television monitors, allowing guests to make use of the free wireless Internet (albeit on massive 42-inch screens). Caffeine junkies can get their fix with in-room Illy espresso machines. High-tech elements like flat screen TVs embedded into bathroom mirrors, iPod docking stations and surround-sound systems give the cushy rooms a futuristic feel.
The Amenities: Tranquility and opulence reign. On the beach level there's an infinity-edge pool, Roman hot tubs and fitness center. Private cabanas come equipped with flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet and minibars as well as Jacuzzis. Also available at the pool deck: portable DVD players and iPods. A giant Ed Moses painting in the lobby exemplifies the resort's unique art collection, placed strategically throughout the property. In addition to the concierge desk, there are four butlers available for personalized concierge as well as programmed cellphones available for butler requests.
The Eats: Impeccable Mediterranean-influenced seafood can be had at 1 Bleu. Helmed by chef Gerdy Rodriguez (Cafe Sambal), the restaurant partners with Le Cordon Bleu to please discerning foodies. The chic View Bar offers ample tippling options with inventive cocktails like the Lavender Sidecar made with lavender honey syrup, brandy and cointreau.
The Shopping: High-end shopping mecca Bal Harbour Shops is a brisk stroll (or hotel-chauffeured car trip) away. All guests receive the perk-filled "Bal Harbour Little Black Book," chock-full of discount vouchers for boutiques including Chloe, Intermix, Neiman Marcus and Tory Burch.
The Pampering: The resort is home to the country's first Guerlain spa. At 10,000 square-feet, there's plenty of space for pampering. Footbath lounges, vichy body treatments, beachfront treatment cabanas and treatment room with private showers and changing facilities add to the posh vibe.
The Bottom Line: Rates start at $750 a night, but from now until September you can get in on the opening rate promotion of $375 per night on weekdays and $425 per night on weekends.
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