It is really lovely to see how a mammoth project can enhance a luxury hotel even more. When Qatar’s Al Faisal Holding bought the stunning mirrored St Regis Bal Harbour Resort, the 216-room hotel, which is adjacent to 281 residences, had not only direct beach access and outdoor pool and lounging area – as above – but also slightly too much garden. No problem. A significant all-glass conservatory has been added. This extends the arrival area into a generous reception space, designed by architect Sieger Suarez with interiors by Michael Wolk. It also adds two high-end boutiques, and a bijou pastry corner, sponsored, says the gal, by that exclusive and ultimate fashion brand, Hermès.
Yes, note the S. The pastry corner does serve macaroons but they are not by Pierre Hermé. The charming ladies working here wear Paris-chic black dresses, and Hermès scarves, while their male colleagues have pocket handkerchiefs by that exclusive brand. This is clever, under the radar sponsorship, for a hotel that is already associated with other top fashion brands. Cross Collins Avenue, from the hotel, and you are directly in Bal Harbour shopping. The first store you reach is Neiman Marcus, which runs the hotel’s closet service: before you arrive, they will fill the closet of your bedroom with items you have chosen online and you can then try them on in privacy.
Designer Michael Wolk it was who earlier took out half of the hotel’s Technogym space to form Atlantikos restaurant, such a suitable concept for the spring sun of this part of southern Florida. Outside, diners ate at tables around the pool. Inside, in Michael Wolk’s white creation with such blue highlights as quartz cross cuts for table tops (matching the blue decorations on servers’ white dresses), inside it was calm and cool. I went for chef Tasos Chasekioglou’s comfort-food favourites, crispiest calamari with tahini dip, and a xoriatiki Greek salad with feta, and on the way out, I passed by another favourite, Kohei Nawa’s PixCell-Deer silver polygon sculpture. Once again I thought how necessary it is, as this luxury hotel realises, to have multiple touch points for lasting memory.