A village set at the northern tip of Miami Beach before the Haulover Inlet cuts through, Bal Harbour is a privileged enclave, home to luxury resorts, condominiums and, of course, Bal Harbour Shops. If you’re looking for a lavish retreat where Saks Fifth Avenue is never more than a stone’s throw away, then Bal Harbour is your place in the sun. Here’s how to spend your time there.
Where to Stay
The St. Regis, Bal Harbour is unmatched in its elegance and luxury. This is apparent from the moment you set foot into its intimate, jewel box-like lobby made of mirrored cut glass by award-winning design firm Yabu Pushelberg. The oceanfront resort boasts multiple swimming pools, a fine dining Greek restaurant and fancy burger bar, as well as a daily Champagne sabering ceremony in the lobby. Spacious rooms are plush and luxurious and the level of hospitality is unparalleled. Current rates from $689.
Situated oceanfront at the mouth of the Haulover Inlet, The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour benefits from rare 273 degree glistening water views. It’s home to Exhale Spa for both results-oriented spa treatments and blissful yoga and Core Fusion barre classes. Enjoy Artisan Beach House for fresh, creative farm-to-table fare in a hip and welcoming environment with wraparound ocean views and terrace seating. And spacious rooms are appropriately plush with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies. Current rates from $399.
Bay Harbor (not to be confused with Bal Harbour) is a pair of islands just west of Bal Harbour and home to the newly opened Tryp by Wyndham Miami Bay Harbor, providing a more affordable option to travelers just outside Bal Harbour’s village perimeter. You can still access Bal Harbour Shops and the beaches in a short walk or drive and enjoy the trappings of a stylishly appointed new hotel with pleasant canal views. Current rates from $118.
Where to Eat & Drink
Head to Le Zoo at Bal Harbour Shops to sate your appetite for delightful French bistro fare in an equally charming setting. Think, cozy cafe tables, colorful tile floors and a curlicue neon sign out front. But best of all, indulge in fresh preparations of all of your favorite classic French dishes: oysters on the half shell and seafood towers, steak tartare, onion soup gratinee, escargots, steak frites and a crisp glass of Sancerre or Champagne to wash it all down.
Makoto is the classic Bal Harbour destination restaurant, a favorite of fashionistas and foodies, alike. This modern Japanese stunner is helmed by Chef Makoto Okuwa who practices the Edomae-style sushi tradition. His signature dishes, like the frosty kobe beef fried rice cooked table side, have earned him a cult following. Whether it’s a lunchtime shopping break or a lavish dinner out, Makoto is a must for anyone visiting Bal Harbour.
What to Do
If it’s not obvious by now, Bal Harbour’s culture is centered around Bal Harbour Shops. An independently-owned al fresco mall founded in 1965 by the Whitman family, it’s the epitome of high fashion luxury. Anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, this is where you’ll find the flagship boutiques of Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and the list goes on and on. With a beautiful subtropical layout featuring koi ponds, palms and art installations, it makes for an enjoyable experience whether you’re window shopping or here to spend some serious money.
The other great way to spend your time in Bal Harbour is on its beautiful beaches. Yes, we have no shortage of beaches to enjoy in Miami, but thanks to its privileged perch, the beaches of Bal Harbour are particularly pristine and relaxing. The Haulover Inlet and jetty at the northern perimeter also adds to the natural beauty and uniqueness of the setting.