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Travel Guide of Bal Harbour, Miami for: The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami 4.5

Bal Harbour, Miami, Florida

Bal Harbour Summary

Pros

  • Top-notch shopping at the Bal Harbour Shops
  • Sunny beach weather year-round
  • Large, soft, white-sand beaches less crowded than in South Beach
  • 20 to 30 minutes from both Miami Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport

Cons

  • Few drinking and dining options, especially compared to South Beach
  • 20- to 30-minute, $20 to $40 cab ride to South Beach
  • Suburban feel -- strip malls abound

What It's Like

This is probably the best indication of what you'll find in Bal Harbour: When you Google it, the first thing that comes up isn't the official government site or the tourism home page or the Wikipedia entry. It's Bal Harbour Shops, the shopping center on Collins Avenue. Home to seemingly every high-end retailer in the world, the mall is considered by many to be the most exclusive outdoor shopping destination in the country. (Rodeo Drive? Fifth Avenue? Nope. Bal Harbour.) But beyond the mall there's little else to this posh Miami suburb. The pier down on the inlet is a nice place to people- (and bird-) watch. The locals fish out on the rocks; the pelicans take a more direct approach.

Where To Stay

There aren't as many hotels in Bal Harbour as there are in Miami Beach (to the south) or Sunny Isles (to the north). But the one notable standout is the gorgeous, and romantic, One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa. Its beach is a bit disappointing, but the bathrooms alone are well worth the price.

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