A resort really resonates for me when I'm wowed by its sense of style and service delivery as soon as I walk into the lobby. On a recent trip that took me through Miami, I had the chance to overnight at The Setai, and it passed with flying colors.
The resort is an elegant and chic oasis in Miami’s South Beach, located a few blocks from the heart of the Art Deco district and just off the beach boardwalk. For cultural mavens it’s an ideal location, steps away from the Bass Museum of Art, the Ballet, and a few blocks from the Symphony Hall, Lincoln Theater and Art Center.
The Setai's Tower wing, which has its own street entry check-in area, is the tallest building on South Beach’s eastern, ocean-facing side, with one- to four-bedroom apartment-style units with kitchens and washers and dryers, and superlative views. The art deco building has run-of-house rooms of various configurations, with spacious sitting areas. The bathroom area has two sink areas and rain head showers and a [black stone] bathtub. In the spa rooms, the bathtub is situated in the main room. Toiletries are from Asprey, which has a boutique in the lobby.
The hotel’s influences are Asian with contemporary art flair. Dark woods, black accents and mood lighting set the tone. Service at The Setai was impeccable in every which way. The Grill offers dry-aged steaks while The Restaurant offers authentic Asian dishes featuring a rotating group of international chefs from Asia under the baton of Executive Chef Mathias Gervais. Here one can enjoy curries, wok dishes, tandoori dishes and the like, and the food was delicious. We had Thai coconut soup, scallops gently cooked in a mélange of spices and tandoori-grilled sea bass in kaffir leaves with a tamarind sauce. The restaurants and bar, which creates its own infusions, surround a large pond area, lit up and lined with candles in the evening, where one can enjoy small plates and desserts or dine outdoors.
The Setai has three pools, each kept at a different temperature: 75, 85 and 95 degrees. Large Bali beds are available on a first-come basis (no charge). There’s a pool bar near the beach and pools.
The Spa features Asian treatments and indulgent Oriental rituals, including Ayuverdic, Balinese and Thai. I didn’t have time for the salt exfoliating that included mineral salt combined with peppermint oils in a balm made from oils and almond oils. The Bladderwrak body buff also sounded intriguing… another time.