With a new public art program, notable hotel developments, new luxury boutiques, pristine white-sand beaches and endless relaxation offerings, the well-rounded destination of Bal Harbour offers something for everyone this season – all just a short flight away. Here’s a look at what’s new for winter travel:
WHAT TO SEE: Cultural endeavors in Bal Harbour this season
Unscripted Public Art Program – The second installation in Bal Harbour’s new public art program “Unscripted,” launches in April by artist Christy Gast. Entitled “Self Portrait As a Barefoot Mailman,” this 12-foot high faux bronze sculpture made of fiberglass will be a self-portrait that is wedged headfirst into the ground, as if blown-over. The piece is a testament to the area’s legendary barefoot mailman, a real historic figure who carried the mail from Palm Beach to Miami in the 1880’s before there were major roads in South Florida.
Created to support and challenge the artistic talents in South Florida, “Unscripted” kicked off Florida’s fall/winter season in November with “Pax Americana” by artist George Sanchez-Calderon. Both “Americana” and “Levittown House” are inspired by Bal Harbour’s storied history as one of the first planned communities in South Florida as well as home of the original Americana hotel that hosted many presidents and political events.
Unscripted Limited-Edition Items – Now art aficionados can take a piece of Bal Harbour’s “Unscripted” art home. The public art program has released a series of limited-edition items from the winning artists, which are miniatures of the large-scale installations on display in the destination. These collector’s items are for sale by calling (305) 321-5406 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and profits from sales will go directly back to fund future commissions.
Bal Harbour Art Chat Series – Back by popular demand, Bal Harbour’s exclusive “Art Chat” series features prominent names in the art world. As part of the Unscripted public art program, the featured topic of the next art chat this spring will be “The Economics of Public Art.” Most recently, Dr. William Lawrence Bird Jr., Curator of the Division of Political History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History hosted an Art Chat open to the public to discuss the inspiration behind the first commission, “Pax Americana,” and the importance of the arts. Other past speakers have included the likes of the late Tony Goldman, a legendary Miami developer and visionary behind the evolution of New York City’s SoHo and Miami’s South Beach and Wynwood neighborhoods, and Micky Wolfson, a Miami-based collector, philanthropist and founder of the Wolfsonian Museum.
WHAT TO DO: What’s hot around town
Shop ‘Til you Drop at the Bal Harbour Shops – In 2012 the open-air Bal Harbour Shops added even more cachet to its portfolio with the openings of Alexander McQueen, Canali, Moncler FP Journe and IWC, as well as the first Saint Laurent store in the country. Long known as the U.S. leader in luxury retail sales, Bal Harbour Shops set world records this year – officially named as the number one most productive shopping center in the world by the International Council of Shopping Center’s Shopping Centers Today. With an impressive average of $2,729-per-square foot in sales in 2012, Bal Harbour Shops blows away the ICSC-estimated $451-per-square-foot industry average. As high-fashion labels invest in opening larger stores, Bal Harbour Shops is responding to market demand with the expansion of several brands including Dolce & Gabbana and Tory Burch in 2012 and Chanel, Brioni, Audemars Piguet, Prada, and Loro Piana expanding in 2013. While the waiting list for retail space at Bal Harbour Shops is extensive, this exclusive shopping mecca will welcome such coveted names such as de Grisogono, Scoop and Lalique in 2013.
Movies on the Beach – For an unforgettable outdoor cinematic experience, Bal Harbour offers under-the-stars screenings, complete with complimentary popcorn and plush couches. This year’s features include The King’s Speech, My Fair Lady, Madagascar 3 and The Avengers.
Stick to the New Year’s Resolutions – stay fit in Bal Harbour – Thursday through Sunday mornings, guests and residents of Bal Harbour can take complimentary yoga and pilates classes offered by local favorite Nomi Pilates at the northern end of Bal Harbour Beach. Active travelers can also opt to go for a run along the destination’s pristine $3 million beachfront jogging path.
WHERE TO STAY: The latest hotel happenings
Bal Harbour Quarzo – After achieving much success as a luxurious all suite apartment-style hotel since its opening in 2011, Bal Harbour Quarzo has announced the construction of phase two of this boutique property. The four-story building will add 84 luxurious rooms to the existing 28 as well as a rooftop terrace lounge and a rooftop fitness facility. Phase two is slated for completion at the end of 2013.
St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort – The highly-anticipated St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort opened in early 2012, bringing the brand’s signature white-glove service to the beaches of Bal Harbour. For guests wishing to bring the amenities of their suite to the South Florida sunshine, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort now offers Oceanfront Day Villas, luxurious 600 square-foot air conditioned cabanas. With full butler service, marble floors, plush couches, a spacious outdoor patio as well as a Bose iPod docking station and offerings of Fiji water, fresh fruit and champagne, the villas are the ideal location for a private oasis or special celebration. Rates start at $550.
For more information on all the happenings please visit: www.balharbourflorida.com and check out Bal Harbour on Facebook and Twitter.