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Every summer I am drawn to experiencing a family beach trip at least once. It doesn’t have to be a far flung adventure around the world just to dip our toes in the water, but I have found that we seem to enjoy the white sands and blue water of the beaches that are a little too far from home to easily reach by car. With a one year old along for the ride, we really didn’t want to venture too far from home for a quick end of summer beach trip. So far enough, but not too far.
After a little deliberation between finally visiting Key West and heading to Miami, I came to the obvious reality check that a quick weekend trip via a nonstop flight to Miami was the much better decision over a couple of flights and a ferry ride to get to the SPG property we were eying in Key West. Miami is a pretty easy to get to destination from lots of cities in the south, east, and middle of the country.
SPG Amex Partnership
This particular beach trip was taken as a part of my partnership with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. They have provided the opportunity each summer for the last few years for us to spend two nights at any SPG property in the United States. They cover the hotel costs and airfare for two, and the rest is on us to figure out and enjoy. This partnership is a very solid match since my family has had an SPG Amex for years, and I’m a big fan of using the card to earn otherwise hard to obtain valuable SPG points. The partnership also encourages me to continue to experience and review new (to me) SPG properties that I otherwise might not have gotten to as quickly.
Now you know the long winded backstory of how and why we picked Miami as the city for our Labor Day Weekend summer beach trip, the specific SPG property we wanted to experience within Miami was a very easy call. The St. Regis Bal Harbour was the obvious choice for us because of its beach-front location, its popularity in the miles and points world, and the reality that you can hardly ever go wrong with a St. Regis.
Beach Front Luxury at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
The St. Regis Bal Harbour is located on the northern tip of Miami Beach and was just opened in 2012 after they demolished the previous Sheraton Bal Harbour and built the new 243 room luxurious St. Regis as it stands today. It is 16 miles from both the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and Miami International Airport and directly across the street from the very upscale Bal Harbour Shops.
For a number of reasons, we decided to just bring one-year-old Baby S on this trip and not haul our six-year-old away from home for the weekend just as soon as she was getting in the back to school routine. Even though it was only the three of us, we still wanted to be sure we had enough space for her to sleep peacefully in her crib (fingers crossed!) and for us to have our own space while she is sleeping in her crib. I tried to negotiate a suite upgrade directly with the hotel for a cash co-pay or similar as I often do on our travels, but in this case the only way to get a suite was to pay the full retail price…which was well beyond our weekend budget. We ultimately resigned ourselves to spotty sleep all in the same standard room, but then we arrived at the St. Regis Bal Harbour…
…and our standard room on the 16th floor was anything but standard. It was 650 square feet of the least ‘standard’ of all the standard rooms I have ever experienced.
You entered the ‘room; in foyer with a small table and then there was a hall that leads to the bedroom. Yes, a legit hallway in a standard room. Along the hallway there was a room for the toilet and a sink on the left hand side, as well as a separate large walk-in closet.
On the right side of the hallway there was a huge bathroom with soaking tub, shower, and expansive vanity.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour bedroom itself was decorated in a cool and relaxed style with insanely comfortable beds and solid blackout drapes.
Of course, the highlight of the room is absolutely the balcony and the insane ocean view. All of the St. Regis Bal Harbour rooms have balconies, so you can make use of being in the perfect oceanside location.
Because we had a little one with us, we spent a fair amount of time in our room, but with that view we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything morning, noon, or night.
And fear not as the internet worked just fine to do some early morning work out on the patio.
When we were ready to head down to the beach or pool all we had to do was walk to the elevator and take it all the way down. There’s no loading up in the car, dealing with parking, bringing an extra set of dry clothes, etc. You just go down the elevator. You then walk right out into a very traditionally styled Miami pool that just screamed to me old school cool.
We were there Labor Day Weekend and still didn’t ever have a problem getting a lounger with an umbrella on all of our pool visits. Going earlier in the day helps, but even during the prime-time afternoon hours the presence of ample staff at the pool prevents unused chairs from languishing empty.
The excellent staff at the pool proactively brought us pool toys and floaties for the baby and were at the ready to bring drinks and food if we desired.
I know one of the biggest complaints some have at luxury beach resorts is having to line up early and almost fight for a good spot to relax outdoors, but that really did not seem to happen at all the St. Regis Bal Harbour. There wasn’t a shortage of places to relax in the shade.
If you want a kid-free pool experience you can head up a level to the adult tranquility pool.
The also offer oceanfront day villas for those interested…but I didn’t even have to ask to know that they were probably out of our budget, and also unnecessary since a push of an elevator took us straight up to the comforts of our room.
The beach was located just behind the pool area with only a $3 million dollar jogging track separating the hotel from the beach. For what it’s worth, that track is perfect for stroller pushing, too!
Just like at the pool, there wasn’t a shortage of St. Regis provided places to lounge by the ocean.
And since this is the St. Regis, you can of course enjoy your hand crafted cocktails and mixed drinks right next to the water.
We had never experienced a trip with just our youngest daughter, but the St. Regis Bal Harbour turned out to be the perfect spot for that big “first”. Even in a standard room, it was large enough to spread out at night and all rest comfortably – thanks to this #1 baby travel tip of strategic crib placement!
The five star view from the room didn’t make us feel like we were wasting time when we relaxed indoors with the baby, and the hotel just made everything effortless. They provided beach toys, pool floaties, poolside lounger set-ups, and we were literally just an elevator ride away from the pool and beach.
Using Points at the St. Regis Bal Harbour
As I’m sure you have guessed, a St. Regis property on Miami Beach is not cheap. In fact, it is pretty expensive. Cash rates can easily hover in the $500 – $700 range per night and go up from there. If you have a way to book where the third or fourth night is free, that can help nudge the average down a bit, but it will still be pricey.
If you have SPG points available from getting and using the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex, actual Starwood stays, or wherever then this might be a good time to use them. Not only is the standard room in fact a large 650 square foot “deluxe ocean view” room, but 30,000 points is probably more budget friendly than $700 cash per night. If it is available on your dates, you could also do a cash and points rate to pay 15,000 points per night + $275. For longer award stays remember that the fifth night is free bring the average to 24,000 points per night.
None of those are “cheap” options, but the St. Regis Bal Harbour isn’t a cheap destination. It is instead a very luxurious and over-the-top easy way to take in all that the Miami Beach has to offer. If beach luxury is what you want from your SPG points, then the St. Regis Bal Harbour makes it completely possible. Whether you want to bring the family as we did, or you want to just have a trip away for the two of you, this spot has the amenities and service to meet your needs and then some.
Because this is a family travel site, I do want to acknowledge that some parts of Miami are under a CDC warning for Zika virus transmission. You should take that into consideration when selecting your vacation destinations, especially if you or your partner are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. We did not get any mosquito bites while at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, but we also largely avoided going outside in the highest mosquito activity periods of morning or evening other than briefly to take a few photos. Still, if I was pregnant or trying to have another baby I would probably hold off heading to Miami and areas with active Zika transmission.
It is a lot of effort to pack up a baby and fly away for the weekend, but it didn’t feel like a lot of work this time because once we arrived at the hotel everything was luxurious, comfortable, and right at our fingertips. We returned home feeling like we had actually been on a vacation, which is pretty rare when babies are involved. If you want beachfront luxury where you can use or earn SPG points, then I absolutely recommend a few nights at the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
Win 5,000 SPG Points:
Finally, because I want to “pay forward” some of the amazing opportunities we have had via the SPG Stars program, I am offering one randomly selected winner 5,000 SPG points to use however they wish. This giveaway is exclusively provided by Mommy Points, and is not sponsored or sanctioned by SPG, American Express, or the SPG Amex.
To enter to win simply tell me which SPG property is your favorite for a late summer getaway. A randomly selected winner will be chosen from all entries received before 11:59PM Central on Monday September 12, 2016 (one entry per person, must be 18+, void where prohibited). You must have been a SPG member for at least 14 days in order to be able to receive the points, but I’m happy to allow those 14 days to elapse before sending you the points if you wish to sign up as a new member and subsequently win.
Good luck to those who enter and thanks for allowing me to share our summer travel experience at the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.