Travel

Greater Miami’s Northern Best

On your next visit to Miami, Florida, head north for even more high-end shopping and extravagant indulgences.

Paul Rubio
Mention Miami Beach and images of Art Deco, beautiful people, and raging nightlife likely come to mind. This is all true, but these descriptions simply capture one identity of Miami Beach’s 10-mile oceanfront excess. North of South Beach and Mid-Beach lie several lower tempo villages and cities with fewer crowds, less after-dark hoopla, more wide-open spaces, and stunning feats in modern architecture, plus all the glamour—if not more—of their southern counterparts. Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles Beach are two such towns. Rife with upscale accommodations, superb dining, exceptional shopping, and extraordinary wellness offerings, they are both destinations in tune with the Miami Beach experience that today’s luxury-seeking travelers crave. Here, some of their greatest attributes worth noting for vacation planning.

Bal Harbour Shops


Top fashion brands from Europe’s high streets and America’s most prized shopping avenues converge at Bal Harbour Shops, a palm tree-laced, open-aired enclave showcasing the best-of-the-best in global retail, often in one-of-a-kind spaces. The collection of 100-plus fashion boutiques includes legendary names like Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chanel, Gucci, Maria Tash, and Roberto Cavalli alongside Florida’s largest Saks Fifth Avenue. Many heavy hitters call Bal Harbour Shops home for their flagship locations (hello: double-story, 8,100-square-foot Salvatore Ferragamo) while others carry collections unique to their Bal Harbour outposts. What’s more? The Shops is currently adding to its retail riches via a $550-million enhancement plan, which will add new shops and dining aplenty. (Restaurants Aba, Sant Ambroeus, and Felice are among those confirmed.) balharbourshops.com

Lavish Accommodations and Dining


A billion dollars in the making, The St. Regis Bal Harbour made waves in 2012 when it debuted with its futuristic glass exteriors, Yabu Pushelberg-designed interiors, and world-class amenities. Now, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the esteemed property is unveiling a slew of special culinary experiences and over-the-top packages. One is a multi-course dinner in The St. Regis Wine Vault paired with limited-edition anniversary Champagne; another is an over-the-top Diamond Anniversary Experience, inclusive of private-jet transport and a bespoke diamond jewelry design experience with De Beers. marriott.com


Further north in Sunny Isles, Acqualina Resort & Residences is in the process of revealing the eye-catching results of its latest nip-tuck. First came a newly transformed lobby gallery, underscored by design-rich elements such as convex mirror domes, handcrafted Nepalese rugs, and Fendi Casa furnishings. Now a reimagined Adult Pool with new cabanas, day beds, and loungers is debuting as is a redesign and expansion to iconic restaurant Il Mulino New York. A refresh of all 98 rooms and suites will follow in late summer or early fall. acqualinaresort.com

V Art of Wellness


Power fitness couple, Chris and Tracie Vlaun, are household names with Miami’s style set thanks to their singular beachfront fitness and yoga classes. The duo has a special way of remixing the greatest hits of fitness and wellness, adding a spin all their own. Think: “Beach Cross Boot Camp,” in which the best of cross training and beach boot camp unite, and “The Vlaun Method,” a highly charged aerobic yoga hybrid led by Tracie. The exhilarating, results-driven classes aren’t limited to locals; in fact, the couple works closely with The St. Regis Bal Harbour to provide scheduled classes and private sessions to in-house guests as well as those of neighboring properties. A soon-to-be-released app by Chris and Tracie will allow devotees to stream live classes and continue this special beach fitness experience, from anywhere in the world.
v-artofwellness.com