The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami

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Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour: Be Treated Like a VIP
A while back, when I was completely in the mood to be at the Ground Zero of South Florida’s winter playground, I stayed at the high-energy, centrally located Ritz-Carlton South Beach. A year later I found myself at the other end of Miami Beach, at the very private sanctuary that is the Ritz-Carlton’s Bal Harbour property. This time I was in a state of mind to get away from it all—which I very happily did here.

This luxe resort is nestled on five acres at the spot where the Atlantic meets up with the Intracoastal Waterway, giving me not one but two water views. My room with a view was really a one-bedroom apartment, with a living room/kitchen, balcony, roomy bedroom, and an over-the-top bathroom.

If there’s one thing that defined my stay at the hotel, however, it was being treated like a VIP. I was whisked up to my room in what seemed to be a private elevator (which for all intents and purposes it was, since there are only two rooms per floor). Exiting the elevator, I entered a small foyer that opened directly into my 15th-floor room. For a moment I could imagine I was a president (maybe not ours) or a celebrity (how about Beyonce?). This was a level of privilege and pampering we mere mortals don’t often experience.

Florida in the winter means one thing: The sun. I spent as much time as possible either poolside (taking advantage of the Bistro Bal Harbour) or on the white sand beach that fronts the hotel. Beach chaises and umbrellas are available, and attendants are always nearby to wait on you like the superstar you fancy yourself to be. As I’ve found at numerous Ritz-Carlton properties, the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and professional, yet unobtrusive. Oh, and don’t miss the spiffy cabanas, replete with chaise lounges, personal Jacuzzis, and widescreen TVs (for when you need a break from the sun). Staff is here, too, to make sure you don’t have to get up unless you really want to.

When you’ve had enough of essentially doing nothing, it’s time for a walk along the shaded, beachfront pathway (three miles round trip). After my stroll, exhausted from this exertion, I checked into the Exhale Spa for an invigorating massage delivered by an excellent masseuse (not something that I often find in hotel spas). I skipped the health club and the Bal Harbour Shops (practically across the street), featuring boutiques from top fashion labels. After all, there’s only so much strenuous activity one can perform in one day.

My visit came just weeks before Chef Paula DaSilva was to open the hotel’s new fine dining restaurant, Artisan Beach House, in a completely remodeled ground floor space overlooking the water. DaSilva previously was top chef at 1500 Degrees at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach and she hopes this new eaterie will appeal not only to hotel guests but to locals as well. I was treated to a sneak peek menu—and I’ll just say this: I’m looking forward to coming back for more.

More dinners. More relaxation. More sun. More feeling like Beyonce!




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