All shoppers traveling to Miami simply must make a stop (or spend their entire vacation) at the Bal Harbour Shops. The dream of Stanley Whitman the shops were initially conceived as an outdoor mall with an unparalleled selection of some of the world’s best known and loved designers in a beautiful tree lined tropical location. The Bal Harbour Shops have lived up to the dream and after 40 years they’ve earned the reputation for doing more business per square foot than any other venue.
Although the Bal Harbour Shops have been around for more than 40 years, they’ve been in the works for about 20 years longer as Stanley Whitman needed to purchase the land for the shops and then held out until he could design them according to his grand scheme. He saw an open air space with an inviting ambience and high end retailers. He also broke the mold by requiring guests to pay to park, something unheard of at shopping malls. Another difference is he wanted to open the center without a department store serving as the anchor. It wasn’t until later that Whitman lured Neiman Marcus and then Saks Fifth Avenue to his venue.
The original structure was a one story outdoor mall but even the brochures from 1962 showed two level structures, which was eventually added in 1983. With the addition of two family members to the business a new feel began to emerge. Son Randy Whitman started when the mall began to lure a large number of high end upscale European designers to the mall. And now that Matthew Whitman Lazenby has joined the group a third level may be in the future as well as a 200,000 square foot retail space that targets a younger audience. A hotel may also be in the works.
In addition to Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores there are a huge number of stores in the Bal Harbour Shops filling a variety of different niche markets.
If its women’s fashion you’re interested in (and who isn’t) there is everything at the Bal Harbour Shops from maternity wear to high end designer fashions you can’t find anywhere else. The women’s stores include: A Pea in the Pod, Agent Provocateur, Anne Fontaine, Carolina Herrera, Celine, Chanel, Chloe, Dior, DVF, Elie Tahari, Emilio Pucci, Escada, Intermix, Lanvin, Loro Piana, Luca Luca, Lulu Couture, Max Mara, Mui Mui, Nanette Lepore, Oscar de la Renta, St. John, Tory Burch, Trina Turk, Valentino, Vera, and Wolford.
If it’s the other side of the coin you’re looking for and want some men’s clothing then you’re selections include: Brioni, Domenico Vacca, Ermenegildo Zegna, Galtrucco, Paul & Shark and Vilebrequin. Yes, it’s true, you don’t have as many options as the women do and it may seem unfair but unfortunately that’s the world of fashion. But the good news is, even though the selection is a little bit limited you’re sure to find some incredible clothing of the highest quality available.
Men’s and Women’s Fashions
Okay, so if the men’s fashion stores still left you wanting more there are always the stores that don’t discriminate and bring quality fashion and great looking style to both men and women. The Bal Harbour Shop stores that cater to both men and women include: 100% Capri, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Brunello Cucinelli, Custo Barcelona, D&G, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Fendi, Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hermes, J.W. Cooper, Just Cavalli, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Lulu, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Oxygene, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Thomas Pink, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Adults aren’t the only ones who get the special treatment at the Bal Harbour Shops, there are children’s wear specialty stores but unfortunately there are only two of them at the moment; Bonpoint and Mini Oxygene.
Women’s, Children & Home
Although the children’s wear specialty stores are limited there is another option for children’s clothing, Calypso St. Barth features products for women, for children and for the home, sort of a one stop shopping destination.
What mall is complete without a shoe store, and what shopping trip is complete without at least one new pair of shoes. Bal Harbour Shops doesn’t disappoint with now only more than a handful of shoe stores but by also bringing you some of the best known designer shoe styles around. The specialty shoe stores at Bal Harbour Shops include: Addict, Cesare Paciotti, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, Sergio Rossi, and Tod’s.
Upscale designer fashions tend to draw jewelry stores in just the same way beautiful jewelry draws envious glances from others. The plethora of designer fashion stores at Bal Harbour Shops has drawn some of the best jewelers in the world, including: Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel Joaillerie, Chopard, D’Aven, David Yurman, De Beers, Georg Jensen, Graff, Harry Winston, Judith Ripka, Piaget, Pomellato, Tiffany & Co, Tourneau, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Books, Galleries, Gifts & Home
If you’re searching for something that is not designed to be worn there are a variety of options available from a simple book to a one-of-a-kind gift for every occasion. The stores at Bal Harbour Shops that fall into the books, galleries, gifts & home category include: Books & Books, Christofle, Futuretronics, Opera Gallery, Pratesi, and Santa Maria Novella.
Personal Care & Services
As long as you’re reinventing the new you at Bal Harbour Shops with a new wardrobe, why not go all out and explore the personal care and services shops including: American Express Travel, JMD Salon, Optica, or the Red Market Salon.
With all that shopping you’re obviously going to need to refuel at some point so you can begin round two of your shopping spree. Bal Harbour Shops doesn’t disappoint when it comes to restaurants either, bringing some unusual and delectable eateries to their property, you won’t find any traditional mall chain stores here. The restaurants at Bal Harbour include: Carpaccio, La Goulue, Lea’s Tea Room & Bistro, Santa Fe News & Espresso, Segafredo Zanetti Espresso, Terrace of Santa Fe, The Newsstand by Books & Books, and Zodiac Café at Neiman Marcus.
Photo credit: AchimH