Shopping and Dining in Bal Harbour

The laminated bag ladies who shop and lunch have certain buzz words that define their style. Mention the Bal Harbour Shops and there are knowing looks. One hundred fine stores in a landscaped garden include Valentino, Chanel, Lanvin and Van Cleef and Arpels. The casual Carpaccio and La Goulue, a study in art deco, are celebrity-sighting eateries that also serve some inspired dishes. A five-minute complimentary limo ride away, or a 15-minute walk if you’re wearing the right shoes, is the newest member of the neighbourhood, The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour. Continue reading “Shopping and Dining in Bal Harbour”

Palm Beach Stories

Palm Beach was created by men at the turn of the last century who had the foresight to buy up a tiny island of swampland. They had princely tastes and built majestic vacation homes. It was a hedonistic time of extravagance and partying—until the ’30s, when the whole world tanked. Continue reading “Palm Beach Stories”

The Biltmore, the Grande Dame of Coral Gables

The Biltmore, the Grande dame of Coral Gables, is still a stunning beauty—sometimes impoverished and sometimes in the chips. That’s life. Oh, she has had a few face-lifts and some full body restoration/preservation since the Roaring Twenties, occasionally reinventing herself with multiple personality changes and often empty and abandoned. It was not until 1984 that money and the ability to visualize spoke up. The Coral Gables Biltmore Corporation took over and changed history. Continue reading “The Biltmore, the Grande Dame of Coral Gables”

Wellness and Luxury at Mandarin Oriental Spa in South Beach

South Beach rocks all night long. The bold and the beautiful, the young and the restless, old money, new money and no money, meet to eat, drink and hang out in this hub of social intercourse. The official designation of this 6.9 square mile tract of land is Orchid Island in Indian River County. For people watching, the view is sublime. Continue reading “Wellness and Luxury at Mandarin Oriental Spa in South Beach”

Miami Heat

Oh Florida, dear Florida, we love you. We are sun-worshipping transients, fugitives from a cold and unforgiving climate. We appreciate that you are user-friendly to us Canadians. We eagerly pay our way and contribute handsomely to your economy every year. In fact, according to StatsCan, 3,099,300 of us spent more than $3.5 billion in Florida last year. And worth every penny, we say. Miami is our Mecca, and it has wondrous enclaves for us to explore. Each one is different, yet they showcase their one commonality: The warm and all-embracing sun. Continue reading “Miami Heat”

The Siren Call of the Sun

Winter has its charms, but they tend to fade after a blizzard or two, and those of us who have a low cold-weather tolerance yearn for the sun. Like moths to the flame, we head for our South. Florida. Because, as Sara Waxman says, resistance is futile. Continue reading “The Siren Call of the Sun”

South Beach Dining

In any given week, the world’s foodies converge on this tropical mecca, seeking out new dining concepts, new flavour fusions and seasonally changing menus. There are two seasons: Warm and Hot. High above the skyline and a block from Biscayne Bay is the glamorous Four Seasons Hotel. An imposing glass and granite 70 floor structure, it houses the hotel in spacious luxury on floors 20-29 and offers two acres of pools and cabanas that seem to float on its outdoor terrace. Continue reading “South Beach Dining”

Bienvenudo a Miami

Again, it begins: snow, sleet and black ice. Like migrating birds, we answer the call of the South: blue sea, white sand and stone crab, snorkeling, scuba diving and Pina Coladas under an ocean front umbrella. We want to sail, sky-dive and walk the beach at seven a.m.

In Canada’s South (Mexico and Florida) they wait for us, knowing we will be there. They call it “high season” when prices are doubled and tripled. Airlines too, enjoy this “high season.” Ah me, it’s a compromise we make for living in the best country in the world. Continue reading “Bienvenudo a Miami”

By The Sea…In Fort Lauderdale

There is an illicit thrill to landing smack into summer from snow and freezing rain. We’re thumbing our noses at Mother Nature.

Driving along the lively, café-society stretch of N. Beach Boulevard to the Atlantic Hotel and Spa just before sunset, I see hardliners still cavorting on the white sand at the ocean’s shore, clinging to the last carefree minutes of the day. I smile with anticipation. I will be joining them on that beach tomorrow. Continue reading “By The Sea…In Fort Lauderdale”

I’m In A Miami State Of Mind

Sun and sea, surf and turf—the stuff that dreams are made of. As the first feathery snowflakes hit the ground, more than four million Canadians begin their annual winter migration to Florida and, according to Statistics Canada, we spend more than $5 billion a year. This is our sybaritic playground. It is in our DNA. Continue reading “I’m In A Miami State Of Mind”