Once a sleepy suburb for wealthy Golden Girls, this little slice of Atlantic oceanfront is in the middle of a resurgence as South Florida’s most exclusive beach enclave. Luxury lovers, take note.
The St. Regis Bal Harbour
9700 Collins Avenue,
Opening 19 January, every one of the 243 rooms have ocean views and the elegant interiors by Yabu Pushelberg are as soothing as they are decadent. Expect to see Bal Harbour’s most glamorous residents at the hotel’s Remède Spa.
290 Bal Bay Drive,
If you can live without butler service, try a suite at Quarzo - a more laidback, boutique hotel with a modern beach style, full kitchens, and patios overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Avenue,
Even if you can’t bear to look at the price tags at Lanvin, Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga, et. al., consider it theatre and watch others scoop up South Florida staples like Pucci dresses and Trina Turk bikinis. Take refuge at the wonderful Books & Books and stop in for a bite of caviar at Savarin.
This year, the most coveted tables will be at J&G Grill at the St. Regis, the latest outpost by star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You’ll find plenty of ladies who lunch and delicious food at Mister Collins (10295 Collins Avenue), which serves traditional American dishes built around seasonal ingredients, and at Makoto (9700 Collins Avenue), which specialises in sophisticated Japanese. Its sushi bar may just be the busiest spot inside Bal Harbour Shops.
To see how Bal Harbour ladies keep their bodies in label shape, hit the north end of the beach for a free Pilates class.
Held four times a week, the classes are complimentary for Bal Harbour residents and hotel guests. Supplement the yoga poses and mat work with a jog along Bal Harbour’s beachfront path for one of the prettiest workout views in Florida.
Bal Harbour is a 30-minute drive from both Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. If you’re heading here from South Beach, take Collins Avenue north, the drive is 15-20 minutes.
A free shuttle bus
to and from South Beach runs Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11am-8pm, with pick-ups at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, W South Beach, Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels.