12/02/2015 06:10 EST | Updated 12/02/2016 05:12 EST

Florida's Bal Harbour Makes A Heavenly Winter Getaway

City and coastline of the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
fallbrook via Getty Images
City and coastline of the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Miami's little sister boasts pristine beaches, world-class shopping and luxury resorts -- all within two walkable kilometres.


Swipe your room key in the mirrored lobby of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and the elevators whisk you to your floor -- no buttons to press. This elegance and efficiency imbues the hotel where everything is, quite literally, elevated. The landscaped grounds and pools are immaculate, and service is perfection. The famous bar has a Bloody Mary menu (the New York St. Regis is said to have invented the drink) and there is a nightly Champagne-sabering ritual. You'll understand why families travel from Russia and Eastern Europe and check in for a month.


Right across from the St. Regis, the famous Bal Harbour Shops have everything a fashion maven could want, from Balenciaga to Bonpoint. Start at The Webster -- the outpost of the famous Miami store where the best items from all the collections are curated together like at a fashion shoot (a Chloe sheepskin jacket hangs next to a Stella McCartney jumpsuit and Chanel cardigan).


Be a movie star for a day and book one of the Oceanfront Day Villas at the St. Regis. You'll have a butler who arrives at the push of a button, private loungers at the beach and pool, an indoor daybed, minibar, flat-screen, a full bathroom, dining area for four and a bottle of Dom. You'll wonder what the other 99 per cent are doing. Insider tip: book the cabana custom-decorated by the stylish folks from The Webster (see Shop).

Work out:

Once the season is in full swing in November, Exhale Spa at the newly refurbished Ritz-Carlton Hotel offers yoga, Barre and Pilates classes you can book online. Stop by the pool bar after for delicious marinated shrimp lettuce wraps.


The Rèmede Spa at the St. Regis is about as luxurious as it gets, with every last detail attended to (they even had complimentary contact lens cases). The customized massage includes a foot paraffin treatment and aromatherapy scalp massage.


The Bal Harbour Shops outpost of Toronto's Gee Beauty does a great 30-minute oxygen facial. Do pre-book a make-up session afterward for your evening out.


Do like the locals do and dine long and late at the Japanese Makoto, where families in their Miami-style finery sip champagne and dine on sashimi and charcoal-grilled beef. Do make a reservation--even in the off-season it's fully packed.

--Sarah Bancroft


Photo galleryFive Florida Beaches to Truly Treasure See Gallery