Bal Harbour Shops is the Bal Harbour of malls. There are no Forever 21s. No Gap. Not even a Macy’s. You will, however, find Gucci. Dolce & Gabbana. Jimmy Choo and Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen. Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
You know, all those designer places you can’t afford.
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Unless your income is a lot higher than ours, you may feel a little nervous at the idea of heading over there. Your scratched 2013 Hyundai Elantra might look out of place in a parking lot full of Benzes, Lexuses and the odd Bentley. You worry the doormen will shun your no-name sunglasses, your off-brand flip flops, your ill-fitting Nordstrom Rack jeans.
Yes. Some stores have doormen. Maybe you should go back to Mall of the Americas, where you belong.
But no! We kid. Forge on. Don’t be afraid. We will guide you. Here are the things you need to know to visit the lovely Bal Harbour Shops.
It’s outdoors so dress accordingly
It’s a known fact that wealthy people don’t sweat, so try and fit in or it’s back to Kendall with you.
Fountains are a big thing here
Rich people love fountains.
Bal Harbour loves fans
We were pretty grateful for them ourselves.
Also there is a koi pond
In Broward, people would be trying to catch and fry these fish. Do not do this. If you have the urge for seafood, head down to Makoto on the first floor for some sushi.
There is artwork to appreciate
You won’t see this at Southland Mall.
Some purses are so fancy they have their own accessories
Purses are very big at Bal Harbour, and some of them cost more than our monthly mortgage payment. If you have to ask what the bags cost, you can’t afford them. At Valextra, the purses are so fancy they have their own accessories, which cost more than $500.
No, we’re not making this up. Look.
The purse on the left has a puffy coat accessory, in case it gets cold. The purse on the right has a raincoat, in case it rains. Does your bag have its own raincoat? No. You just stuff it in the Publix bag you found in your backseat and hope for the best.
There are such things as driving slippers
Tod’s sells driving slippers. We had no idea you were supposed to take off your shoes and slide into something more comfortable to drive. Probably because on Miami roads we have a lot more to worry about, like drivers merging across six lanes of traffic without warning and people clinging to the hoods of cars.
We were afraid to go in here
Everything looks too breakable in Lalique.
And stop staring at these condos across the street
They’re on the beach in Bal Harbour. You can’t afford them.
Even the restaurant in Neiman Marcus confused us
Zodiac is a wonderful little restaurant on the third floor that has been there for more than 40 years and takes you back to the time your grandma needed to rest after a trying day of deciding which Dior beauty products to purchase. (We do mean your grandma. Ours shopped at Kmart.) When you sit down, a server brings you a tiny mug of … something. We thought it was tea. No. It was chicken consommé. What the hell?
Then a guy forked over a huge, airy popover with strawberry butter. All this before we even ordered. Then the waitress suggested we order sparkling wine. You know what? This place is OK with us.
You can buy a special Miami-scented candle*
You know the name Diptyque if you watched the Royal Wedding. Megan and Harry chose the Tubereuse scent to waft about while they were getting ready to shock the traditionalists. But if you ask us, the special, citrusy Miami candle* smells even better. No, it does not smell like traffic and croquetas. What’s wrong with you?
* only $72
Finally, a familiar sight: Books & Books
You can definitely afford to shop here. The store is stocked with tons of gift books and gorgeous Taschen art books and a well-curated selection of fiction and nonfiction.
Of course, the giant David Hockney that comes with its own table may stretch your budget a bit.