BACKGROUND

This hotel originally opened as the One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa but was taken over by Ritz-Carlton in 2014. It joined the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne and the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, which is due to reopen by the end of the year after extensive renovations.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Very luxurious. The entrance drive splits into two, with the right-hand side leading to the five-star One Bal Harbour Place apartments and the left to the hotel. The lobby is spacious with large pillars and sofas. A condominium hotel split across four towers, the 120-plus units are all privately owned, with some 90-plus regularly available as rooms and suites for guests to rent. The hotel levies a US$40 per day resort tax (you can refuse to pay this), for which you get free internet, a beach chair and umbrella service, two cocktails (4pm-7pm), bicycle use and daily pressing of two garments. Marriott Bonvoy gold members and above can also take a daily fitness class at the Exhale spa. The hotel has joined Unscripted Bal Harbour, an arts and culture programme, giving guests free access to museums and galleries.

WHERE IS IT?

In Bal Harbour, the northernmost point of Miami Beach. It’s about a 20-minute taxi ride to South Beach, the party capital of this tourism centre, and about 25 minutes to the international airport.

ROOMS

All are large, with entry-level Partial Ocean View rooms being 48 sqm. These have views of Baker’s Haulover Inlet, a manmade channel that links the northern end of Biscayne Bay with the Atlantic. Oceanfront rooms are the same size but slightly dearer owing to their sea views. Renovated in 2017, rooms are traditional in style with mahogany furniture, granite-tiled bathrooms and leather seating. All include minibars, espresso machines and flatscreen TVs. Bathrooms have freestanding tubs, in-mirror TVs, Asprey toiletries and floor-to-ceiling windows (nothing overlooks the hotel, thankfully). Wifi is free for Bonvoy members; otherwise it’s US$10 per day. Suites have kitchens and range from Partial Ocean View one-bedrooms (107 sqm) to the 261 sqm Presidential.

FOOD AND DRINK

Light and airy, the Artisan Beach House has a terrace overlooking the inlet plus cosy banquettes for more intimate dining. It serves an extensive buffet breakfast and excellent lunch and dinner menus with an emphasis on seafood. Food is available poolside during the day from the Water’s Edge bar.

MEETINGS

There is 750 sqm of event space (220 sqm indoor, the rest terraces).

LEISURE

The pool is large with plenty of loungers and umbrellas, staff on hand to supply towels and limitless chilled water. You can also rent cabanas. The Exhale spa is separately run, with a well-equipped gym that looks out to the pool and beyond to the sea. Classes range from high-intensity training to barre and yoga. There is gated access from the pool area to the beachfront, which is described as “semi-private” – accessed only through hotels or apartment blocks. A jogging trail map is available, or you can cycle along the traffic-free track that runs parallel to the beach to South Beach (about 45 minutes).

VERDICT

A luxurious spot away from the hedonism of South Beach but close enough to spend an evening down there and retreat back to the calm of the hotel.

FACT FILE

  • BEST FOR Families or couples who want to combine relaxation with sightseeing, and the option to dip your toes in either the ocean or the nightlife
  • DON’T MISS A quiet dinner at the Artisan Beach House, followed by a morning yoga class
  • PRICE Internet rates for a stay in November started from US$487 for a Partial Ocean View room, cancellable up to a week in advance and including a US$40 resort tax
  • CONTACT 10295 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour; tel +1 305 455 5400; marriott.com