Many years of concierge experience have made Brian Bean an expert on all things Miami Beach. Here are his recommendations for taking advantage of winter in Bal Harbour.
Get ready for the holiday season with a trip to one of Bal Harbour’s many popular boutiques.
For men’s gifts, Bean refers guests to the IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN retailer at the nearby Bal Harbour Shops, the first Miami outpost of the luxury men’s watch emporium. The Swiss watch manufacturers, who have been producing high-quality timepieces since 1868, design their unique watches according to different themes—such as the Portuguese and Da Vinci families. (305-909-6935; iwc.com)
Another beloved local shop is TWINKLES OF BAY HARBOUR, the perfect store to browse for special treats for little ones. Bean suggests guests stop by the unique spot for one-of-a-kind, handpicked children’s gifts. In addition to selling toys, Twinkles offers specially arranged gift baskets and candy cakes year-round. (305-864-1558; twinklesofbayharbor.com)
According to Bean, those who want to start the year off right with a makeover need only turn to STYLE CONCIERGE INC.’s seasoned stylist, Eric Christian. Whether you need help choosing a fashionable outfit for an event or developing your own style, the Style Concierge will make sure you end up looking your very best. (786-797-1320; styleconciergemiami.com)
Enjoy the warm temperatures with Bal Harbour’s first-ever public art project, “UNSCRIPTED.” Two exhibitions were created by critically acclaimed large-scale artist George Sanchez-Calderon and provide interesting scenery for those in need of outdoor time. The first exhibit, “Pax Americana,” is front and center on The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort lawn and is a nod to the iconic Americana Hotel formerly on that site, while the second re-creates a Levittown-style house, referencing Bal Harbour as one of Miami’s first two planned communities in the 1940s. (unscriptedbalharbourflorida.com)
Bean also recommends a visit to America’s premier art fair, ART BASEL. The art show comes to Miami Beach from Dec. 6 to 9, offering exhibitions from more than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. With more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Art Basel is the favorite winter meeting place for the international art world. (miamibeach.artbasel.com)
On Dec. 15, don’t miss the annual WINTERFEST BOAT PARADE. “South Florida’s yacht owners bedeck their boats in holiday lights and decorations, and parade them down the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal,” Bean says. The show, which has been taking place for 41 years, attracts 1 million spectators every year with music, entertainment and—of course—incredible light displays. (954-767-0686; winterfestparade.com)
Wine and Dine
After spending the day out and about in Bal Harbour, Bean recommends guests escape to one of his favorite restaurants for a winning combination of fine dining and ambience.
“James Beard Award-winning chef Norman Van Aken’s ninth floor Miami restaurant, TUYO, offers floor-to-ceiling views of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay,” Bean says. “Add in a full-wall fireplace and you have one of the area’s most romantic restaurants.” On top of the incredible views, Tuyo follows farm-to-table practices to ensure that their food as flavorful as possible, offering innovative dishes like molasses marinated duck breast and foie gras and cornbread-stuffed quail. (305-237-3200; tuyomiami.com)
Another equally breathtaking date night restaurant is CASA TUA, where each dining experience is designed to satisfy not only your sense of taste, but also of sight, sound, smell and touch. Bean says that the Mediterranean villa’s art-filled interior and candle-lit patio are both ideal for an evening with a loved one. The northern Italian menu includes highlights like pappardelle pasta with lamb ragu and a pistachio crumble, and pineapple panna cotta with guava sauce. (305-673-1010; casatualifestyle.com)
To top off the quintessential Bal Harbour day, Bean steers guests toward the city’s top pastry shops—one of which is conveniently located at the resort.
“Wherever you may be in THE ST. REGIS BAL HARBOUR RESORT, you should try the city’s most exquisite desserts by Executive Pastry Chef Antonio Bachour,” Bean says. Bachour, who honed his pastry talents in Puerto Rico, creates a variety of sweet sensations ranging from a cool mango sorbet to coconut arroz con leche. Don’t miss the opportunity to try a creation from one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America, as named by Dessert Professional.
Just down the road in South Beach is a restaurant with such legendary baked goods that even Oprah Winfrey claimed they make the best cakes in America (her favorite is the Chocolate Delight). In addition to its world-famous, all-natural cakes, ICEBOX CAFE offers a full menu with subtle international twists. If you can’t make it to the restaurant, you can always stop by the location in Miami International Airport on your way in or out of town. (305-538-8448; iceboxcafe.com)