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Asian Influence Lives on at Revamped Setai Miami Beach

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  Site Where: 2001 Collins Avenue [map], Miami, Florida, United States, 33139
February 5, 2013 at 11:48 AM | by | ()

Singapore-based GHM hotels oversees some pretty cool properties (the elephant-themed Chedi Club outside of Ubud, Bali is a particular favorite), and The Setai has long been considered the brand's flagship. It's a serene, Asian-inspired sanctuary amid the hub-bub of Miami's South Beach. (Side note: Did you know the word "Setai" is actually a made-up combo of the Balinese words for "south" and "beach", or SoBe? It's the Brangelina of hotel names...)

So as fans, it was with some trepidation we took the news that The Setai had left the GHM roster for the management of Dallas-based Trevi Luxury Hospitality Group. (Especially given the way it all went down.) With all the hotel buzz in Miami—including the arrival of instant-hotspot The James—was The Setai looking to pump up the volume? Were DJs going to appear in its mellow courtyard—or worse, would it make like its neighbors and start charging for beach chairs?

Breathe easy, fellow devotees. On a recent visit to the hotel, we found the essence of Asia alive and well in the MIA. The Setai still pays homage to the Far East in its design, from the lobby flooring (rescued from an Art Deco building in Shanghai) to the Balinese-style pool beds and the Forbidden City-inspired courtyard statues. The Restaurant's open kitchen has separate stations and dedicated chefs for Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisine (there are even dumplings at breakfast), and the spa's most popular massage styles include stretch-heavy Balinese and chakra-centering Kundalini. Most importantly, the service is back to being unobtrusive and on-point; employees you meet will even offer you their business cards with two hands, Asian-style.

The communal mother of pearl table at the re-launched Setai Grill

This isn't to say the new owners aren't making their mark. The most notable development is the recent re-opening of the intimate Setai Grill, which has been re-imagined as a gourmet steakhouse under the direction of newly-appointed Executive Chef Mathias Gervais. Meats are brought in from New York's famed LaFrieda & Sons, and there's an in-house curing room for charcuterie and salumi.

Minor changes are also afoot in the spa. Sunrise yoga is being offering on the beach, and featured product lines now include seaweed-based Voya from Ireland, organic Ila from England, and Ayurveda-inspired Sundari—to keep that Asian touch.

New menu items at The Setai Grill

Also, what has remained the same are the rates. You'll still pay a pretty penny to stay at this Zen paradise. Rates were $775 a night in Feb/March, $675 in April, and $575 in June.

[Photos: The Setai Miami Beach]

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