Destinations, The Americas
A Luxurious Retreat in Bal Harbour
By Kimberly Wilson
Simply stated, the Ritz Carlton in Bal Harbour is unparalleled. This is something that I discovered within the first 10 minutes of walking through doors. At first glance, the property itself is a beautiful haven of oceanfront elegance, unwavering taste, and seductive amenities that would attract any type of traveler, and more specifically me, who was intent on a 24-hour reset of relaxation and rejuvenation. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to begin my 24-hour stay at this luxurious retreat.
Once inside the stunning lobby what struck out immediately was the high level of personalized and considerate service. Ready to cater to my every need, the check-in process was seamless, and the staff was ready to cater to my every need.
Formerly ONE Bal Harbour, The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, transformed into the Ritz Carlton in late 2014 in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in South Florida, Bal Harbour Village. Despite being the new kid on the block, the chic resort has become popular for its spectacular views of the Atlantic — it’s nestled along the pristine sands of Miami Beach — and posh amenities, such as the lavish spa.
The 18-story Ritz-Carlton offers 124 ocean view rooms with private entrances, and there are just two accommodations per floor. With the majority of the building occupied by residents and north of the action of South Beach, it’s a low-key destination with a residential feel that’s ideal for couples in search of a romantic escape. The two-story lobby’s jatoba columns, marble flooring, 22-foot ceilings, oversized glass windows, leather-upholstered walls plus a carefully curated international art collection create a dramatic entrance into the luxurious stay that awaits inside.
I was completely blown away was I walked through the doors of my suite. My one-bedroom abode offered some of the most luxurious accommodations I had experienced in northern Miami, furnished in a contemporary residential style with spacious terraces and oversized living room chairs. As I walked from room to room, not only was I pleased with the size of my suite, but also the view of the ocean as I walked onto the balcony, which would later become my haven of relaxation. Of course, the ocean views directly in front my room were the main draw, but the pool would later become my place for making friends, enjoying delicious food, and indulging in added amenities, such as luxe seating along with thoughtful extras such as complimentary fruit, cucumber water and sun care products.
For breakfast, I enjoyed the beach-chic setting and ocean views at Bistro Bal Harbour. I was able to savor South Florida’s finest flavors at Bistro Bal Harbour (chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes, with a side of fresh fruit, and country sausage links to be exact). I salivated over the rest of the menu; disappointed I wouldn’t be able to experience all of my meals at the resort’s fresh-from-the-sea to table dining experience. The menu is indigenous, exotic, and vibrantly a reflection of South Florida’s multi-cultural community.
Though I was just there for a one-night stay, I made sure to indulge in the over the-top treatments at the new on-property Exhale Spa. For one hour, I indulged in a “Fusion” massage, which is a Swedish based therapy that hit all of my problem areas. If I had to describe this experience in a word: amazing. When I finished with my treatment I made sure to indulge in the vast amount of amenities that the spa offered. The stunning waterfront spa features 10 private therapy rooms as well as men’s and women’s sauna and steam rooms, which I made sure to utilize. Overlooking the Intracoastal Water Way, Exhale Bal Harbour offers exhale’s complete menu of award winning spa therapies including massage, facials, acupuncture, healing, waxing and nails.
The Ritz Carlton also has a new fitness center that hosts a full schedule of classes, and a Kids Club for children ages 4-12 with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities planned daily, so parents can get some R&R by the two infinity pools or on the private white-sand beach.
The property is gorgeous, but the location in Bal Harbour isn’t exactly ideal if you are looking to really experience Miami. It’s at least a 20-minute drive to both South Beach and the airport, and the Bal Harbour area is mostly residential, with the Shops at Bal Harbour as the key attraction. That being said, it’s great if you’re looking for a secluded retreat, but not if you’re looking to experience nightlife, parties and the typical Miami “hotspots.”
Simply put: If you are looking for a luxury experience close enough to the action, but not in the middle of it, the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour is a great choice.
Kimberly is a NYC-based editor, writer and social media strategist. She also moonlights as the editor of Travel Noire.