The Acqualina Guide to Bal Harbour Shops

Bal Harbor in Miami, Florida

Miami is many things to many people. It’s a sun-warmed vacation destination. A gourmet’s playground filled with incredible restaurants. A great place to go fishing and boating.

For others, Miami has carved out its own space as a fashion capital. The combination of fantastic weather, beach culture, and vibrant nightlife means that South Florida is one of the most stylish places on Earth.

Fashionistas looking to indulge their taste will find few spots in Miami better suited to filling their closets than Bal Harbour Shops. First opened in 1965, open-air Bal Harbour has been a chic Miami shopping hot spot for the style-conscious for decades. Often compared to Madison Avenue in New York and Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive, Bal Harbour is still Florida’s premier place to find the latest trends from the most exclusive luxury labels. 

Read on for an overview of what you can expect to experience when you visit. 

A Rich History

Upon Bal Harbour’s debut in 1965, many retailers didn’t share the vision proprietor Stanley Whitman had for the property. From the start, Whitman knew he wanted to bring high-end luxury retail to the Florida shopping and fashion landscape. His determined courting of regional fashion retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus enticed them to open some of their first stores away from their flagship home bases. Other big names followed. The investments proved to be shrewd ones for all parties considered. Today Bal Harbour is well known for having the highest sales per square foot of any shopping center in America, and the Whitman family still owns and manages the property.

The Height of Fashion

In the decades since opening, Bal Harbour Shops’ reputation for both excellence and elegance has drawn some of the world’s most notable clothing brands to open locations within its confines (in fact, the shopping center’s extensive waiting list has meant that the property is always at 100% capacity!) Some of the most notable include Giorgio Armani, Prada, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Chloé, and Saint Laurent. Of course, the original anchors (Saks and Neiman Marcus) still operate their original locations at Bal Harbour. 

Accessorize to Amaze

It goes without saying that the ideal ensemble is incomplete without incredible accessories. Bal Harbour has you more than covered on that front. Shoppers will find exquisite jewelry at David Yurman, Harry Winston, BVLGARI, Lalique, Tiffany & Co., DeBeers, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati. Superb designer handbags are on offer at Goyard, Miu Miu, Balmain Paris, Fendi, Akris, and Tory Burch. Exceptional men’s and women’s timepieces can be found at Hublot, IWC Schaffhausen, Tourneau, Panerai, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, and Rolex. You’ll even discover luxury personal-care products and sumptuous fragrances at Le Labo and Santa Maria Novella, seductive lingerie from Agent Provocateur and La Perla, iconic luggage at Rimowa, and expressive eyewear from Morgenthal Frederics.

Fabulous Footwear 

Many might consider the finest shoes an accessory. Even so, at Bal Harbour, footwear is a category all its own. Shoppers can choose from the imaginative designs of long-standing Italian titan René Caovilla, pan-European designs from the famed Salvatore Ferragamo, reimagined luxury athleisure designs courtesy of Golden Goose and Addict, and Alexandre Birman’s lively and color-accentuated South American styles. There’s also the playful, carefree quality of Aquazzura, Gianvito Rossi’s artistic designs, the boundless elegance and creativity of Giuseppe Zanotti, and Roger Vivier’s bold and fearless footwear.

Home Decor

Discerning shoppers won’t just find wearable art at Bal Harbour. Those with an eye for the distinctive, the beautiful, and the conversation-starting will also find some of Miami’s best opportunities for adding interest to living spaces. Independent bookstore Books & Books offers a curated collection of literature, coffee-table photographic essays, and travelogues. Assouline is also exceptionally notable for carrying books on fashion, lifestyle, design, and other artistic expressions. The Parisian silversmiths at Christofle handcraft table settings, dinnerware, and other stunning objets d’art. Artisan-created candles of incomparable beauty and atmospheric fragrance are available at Diptyque. Award-winning artist Michael Aram also operates an outlet at Bal Harbour, where he offers brilliantly unique decorative pieces created using a variety of media, most of which are one-of-a-kind.

Delicious Dining

A day of shopping can really help one work up an appetite. Thankfully, you never have to venture too far to satisfy yourself at Bal Harbour. Bianco Gelato is the place to indulge in the famously rich and decadent frozen Italian confection. Continuing the continental tradition, guest-favorite Carpaccio has a menu full of favorites and has been cited by Zagat as one of Miami’s best restaurants many years running. The also highly decorated Hillstone at Bal Harbour was called “America’s Favorite Restaurant” by no less an authority than Bon Appétit magazine. The most delectable French-Mediterranean fare is plated daily at Le Zoo, where the cocktail program is also beyond exceptional. Modern trends and timeless traditions blend into a delicious experience at sushi-centric Makoto. Finishing your dining tour at Chocolatier Café Au Chocolat will present you with an exquisite array of the finest confections imaginable, from handmade macarons, truffles, and bonbons to melt-in-your-mouth pastries and complex global teas and coffees.  

As one of the most established centers for luxury and fashion in all of Florida, Bal Harbour Shops truly offers something for everyone. As an added bonus, the shopping mecca is just minutes from Acqualina. Don’t miss out on making this incredible experience a part of your visit.