enRoute magazine (© ©2009 Spafax Canada Inc.)
Updated: December 31, 2012 | By Jasmin Legatos, enRoute magazine

Mini-Guide: Bal Harbour

Stay: St. Regis Bal Harbour
Miami’s reputation as a growing market for contemporary art takes root at this oceanfront property, located across the street from Bal Harbour Shops. The hotel’s common areas are peppered with large-scale works, such as Kohei Nawa’s crystal-bejewelled deer sculpture at reception and Miami-based graffiti artist Santiago Rubino’s imposing three-piece charcoal mural in the bar. While the Yabu Pushelberg-designed interior is unapologetically grand, the hotel’s spacious rooms, in muted shades of blue and grey with subtle Art Deco touches, are far from ostentatious. Step out onto your room’s oversize balcony for postcard-worthy views of the coast.

Shop: Bal Harbour Shops
Flanked by specialty department stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, this open-air mall is the epicentre of Bal Harbour’s social and economic life. Its corridors are lined with designer boutiques like Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Prada, but the impeccable mall grounds are what make this shopping centre a star attraction. Koi ponds and lush tropical gardens, complete with palm trees and Hong Kong orchids, create a Zen-like atmosphere that’s perfect for whiling away the afternoon with the latest bestseller from Books & Books or with a latte to go from Segafredo Bal Harbour.

Play: Bal Harbour Beach
Unlike the oceanfront in South Beach, Bal Harbour’s shores are comparatively tranquil. And thanks, in part, to a special resort tax, its silky white sands are immaculately maintained, as is the jogging path that winds its way along the coastline. From Thursday through Sunday, start the day off right with complimentary yoga and Pilates classes at the beach’s northern tip. The beach also plays host to monthly movie nights, where residents and guests can snuggle up on plush couches and munch on free popcorn.

Eat: Makoto
Snag a table by the open kitchen to glimpse cooks grilling king crab, short rib and baby beets robata-style at this modern Japanese eatery in the Bal Harbour Shops. Chef Makoto Okuwa, who worked with chef Morimoto of Iron Chef America , is known for both his sushi skills and fusion dishes. Think tender Kobe beef carpaccio drizzled with truffle oil, refreshing watermelon ceviche, roasted shishito peppers and whole roasted branzino with wasabi and chimichurri. Pair your dish with the fragrant Daishichi kimoto plum sake or, if you’re willing to stray from convention, try one of the Japanese craft beers, like the amber-coloured Coedo Beniaka, made from red-skinned sweet potatoes. For dessert, order the fruit toban yaki, where the Japanese method of cooking on a ceramic plate gets the sweet treatment: berries bathed in a warm passion fruit sauce alongside a mango sorbet and topped with pillowy homemade marshmallows and crispy cookie crumbles.

Originally published in enRoute magazine .

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