Miami Has It All

  By Sandy Katz

BAL HARBOUR VILLAGE

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

Few places in the world have it all. But greater Miami and its beaches may be close. There’s the big city excitement with international restaurants, non-stop nightlife, an arts and cultural scene and blocks and blocks of open-air shopping paired with enormous malls and marketplaces featuring dining and entertainment. Then, there are miles and miles of beaches which lure sun-worshipers to salty, sandy vacations by the sea.

Miami Beach is almost exclusively tourist-oriented, consisting mostly of condos and hotels. And the building goes on and on! Old established out-dated hotels give way to modern hotels and condos improving the quality of accommodations and beautifying the strip immensely. The famous Miami Vice Inter-coastal waterway area never looked so good.

Charmed by the look and Miami’s affordability, vacationers, retirees and Northern transplants flocked to the area in the 1930s and 40s. The ‘50s were heydays, as Arthur Godfrey and Jackie Gleason televised nationally from Miami studios and high fashion swept into Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller and Cartier. Ladies and gents were at those times dressing to the nines to be seen.

And it’s amazing how the trend came back to the area in this new century. However, on South Beach, less is more. People- watching is the supreme phenomenon, especially from the open-air restaurants that are established on the streets. You can see everything from the most sophisticated to down-right beach-bum attire. All cultures seem to get along well. Having a good time is thematic to the overall psyche of the area. Bring them on! Where else can you see an unending parade of people that are so entertaining?

Linked by causeways and an easygoing lifestyle, Miami Beach is an energizing mix of natural beauty and contemporary entertainment.

BAL HARBOUR VILLAGE

The luxurious Bal Harbour that we know today was once just 245 acres of submerged mangrove swampland. In 1929, however, three Detroit automotive industrialists planned a community on a barrier island at the northern tip of Miami Beach. It’s on the Atlantic ocean-equidistant from Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Today its 3/10 of a square- mile is considered the glamour-capital of southeast Florida , just minutes from south Florida’s renowned nightlife and cultural attractions.

Incorporated in 1946, Bal Harbour Village is south Florida ’s most stylish beach community. It’s a “must see” for celebrities and jetsetters alike (plus vacationers in the know).This tropical oasis features two full-service oceanfront resorts, the Legendary Bal Harbour Shops, pristine beaches and a dining people-watching scene that rivals Beverly Hills and Monoco

LODGINGS

One of the first structures built along the Bal Harbour ’s coastline, the European-style Sea View Hotel Bal Harbour has been a family favorite for generations.  It features 220 newly renovated guestrooms; an intimate private beach; 50 key West-style cabanas surrounded by a heated Olympic-size pool and several restaurants offering contemporary and international cuisine.

You can enjoy its timeless hospitality, casual elegance and European ambiance enhanced by custom French furnishings. The atmosphere is soothing, revitalizing and memorable as you sit under a swaying palm tree or walk the beach and let the sand run through your toes. Each of my meals delighted my culinary fancy as I enjoyed the delights of the chef, who presented his fare so well. Many of the guests are repeat visitors, which attests to the importance of treating your guests well.

The Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort, just across the street from the Bal Harbour Shops is where one goes for spa treatments .The Deluxe massage was just what a vacationer appreciates to relieve any stress.

The Regent Bal Harbour, the first new hotel to be built in Bal Harbour Village in 50 years, is scheduled to open December 2006. The 18-story property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean Haulover Inlet and Inter-coastal Waterway, hosts 124 suites including a Presidential suite. This property will feature a 10,000-sq. ft. L’Institut de Guerlain of Paris Spa; fitness center with personal training and plasma TVs; fine dining, and oceanfront swimming pool.

SHOPPING

Created in 1965 by luxury retail visionary Stanly Whitman and situated directly across the street from both hotels, Bal Harbour Shops is  ranked the “number one shopping center in the U.S.” by Woman’s Wear Daily. It’s  the home to 100 flagship stores including Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Bal Harbour Shops is a favorite playground for socialites, fashion-conscience and celebrities. Recent celebrity sightings include J-Lo and Marc Anthony, Beyonce Knowles, Cindy Crawford, Cher and Lenny Kravitz.

As Bal Harbour Shops celebrates its 40th (or Ruby) anniversary, it continues to lure its international and fashion-forward clientele interested in one-of-a-kind collectibles. Here you can find the highest concentration of world-class jewelers and watches in the U.S.

Bal Harbour Shops offers a unique combination of glamour and relaxation that is conducive to a considered purchase. The sensory cues, from the foliage to fountains, provide a particularly luxurious atmosphere.

DINING

Bal Harbour Village offers a diverse selection of restaurants including The Sea View Hotel’s Terrace Room overlooking the ocean. At Bal Harbour Shops complex you can find charming al fresco cafes including Carpaccio, an Italian eatery where shoppers congregate to see and be seen; the Zodiac Café at Neiman Marcus and Lea’s Tea Room. Each had there own special atmosphere and cuisine, which complements your shopping experience. One seeks refuge from the pace of serious shopping at a dining establishment that offers relaxation and wonderful cuisine as you recharge your batteries so you may continue to shop until you drop!

My next fashionable cultural experience was attending the eighth Annual Fashion Week festivities.

In May 1999, the first Miami Fashion Week was presented to an international audience of buyers, media, celebrities and special guests. This event was created to provide a forum offering international exposure and promotion specifically for the designers of Latin America and the Caribbean with a special interest in establishing bridges and opportunities between the designers of this region and the world’s fashion industry.

During the past eight years, Miami Fashion Week has developed into one of the world’s premier fashion events spotlighting designers from Europe, USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia as well as largest showcase of  Latin American designer talent in US.

The 2006 Miami Fashion Week audience was dazzled by signature designs on the catwalk by 36 international designers from all over the world including North and South America, Russia, Spain, Italy, Egypt previewing their Spring 2007 collection to over 6,000 guests during the week at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The Fashion Prelude, which I attended included Camilo Pardo/ Colombia for mercury Milan Swimwear Showcase, Arianne Lingerie/Canada and Satillan San San/Argentina  featuring sunglasses by Cartier. Jewelry and accessories were on display at the Trends Display.

Miami Fashion Week has been an integral component in the Miami fashion industry, bringing the city to the forefront with international press and attracting select designers from all over the world.

The Opium Garden kick-off party for Miami Fashion Week was a special treat. This open-air club, with strict door policy, makes you feel like one of the beautiful people as you get picked to enter. House and hip-hop music dominated in separate rooms. The upstairs lounge had a more exclusive door policy for celebrities and A-listers, which you may was neither. But, nonetheless you would enjoy all the festivities, noise and mingling with those who were lucky enough to be jammed into the first floor of the famed Opium Garden . Nightlife in Miami was fun-filled and memorable!

 


Sunset 

 

Bar Harbour Village Area

 

Sea View Cabanas

 

At the Zodiac Cafe Nieman Marcus

 

Dessert Tray at Lea's Tea Room

 

IF YOU GO

Accommodations: The Sea View Bal Harbour www.SeaView-Hotel.com; 800-447-1010; 305-866-4441

General Information on Bal Harbour Village:  www.BalHarbourFlorida.com

www.BALHARBOURSHOPS.com   www.regentbalharbour.com

Miami Fashion Week: www.miamifashionweek.com

www.MiamiandBeaches.com  800-933-8448

Visit Florida 888-735-2872   www.visitflorida.com

 

 

 

 

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