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Florida Guide > Shopping

The Mall at Millenia

The newest and most stunning mall of all, the Mall at Millenia is one of our favourites – even if we can only ‘window shop’! It is spacious and sparkling, with huge areas of glass, marble and palm trees. Whilst it is not an outlet, so prices are a little higher, it is worth visiting it just for the sheer beauty of its stunning entrance and pristine shopping avenues within.

Newly completed and situated close to the Belz Outlets, it’s still a well-kept secret, with few signposts to tell you of its existence.  Whilst Belz and the Premium Malls are heaving with ‘Brits’ struggling under the weight of their designer carrier bags, here, for the time being, you will be in the minority. Built on a huge site, where parking is easy, this magnificent mall is set on a slight incline. Rows of soaring palm trees line the entrance, together with cascading water and fountains. The entrance is a medley of glass, marble and metal, with a sweeping foyer leading to a simply enormous food hall called the Orangerie Cafes.

As you walk through the glass doors you will enter a vast area, totally devoted to food. On two sides there are café’s and take-aways, whilst in the middle there are dozens of seating areas. As always in America, there is no litter, and the tables are continually cleared and cleaned. If you look up to the vaulted ceiling you will see rows of lights, extraordinarily reminiscent of the booster rockets to be found on US spaceships. Here you can choose from 19 different café’s and restaurants, and sample (literally) every type of food you could wish for – from fantastic ice creams and fresh fruit ‘smoothies’ made to order, to Oriental food or fast food outlets.Whatever your taste there is something for you – from Chick-fil-a (try their scrumptious brownies for a mere dollar!) to the Californian Pizza Kitchen (huge portions of freshly baked pizzas), Chinatown or NorSushi and Grill to Cajun Grill – try the free samples they proffer as you stroll past, before making your choice. They all try to outdo each other in their efforts to persuade you to buy your meal from them – ever anxious to make a sale they will offer you ‘tastes’ of all of their dishes. In fact, you could almost fill up on the free samples! Don’t be embarrassed – take the samples and try the delicious variety of tastes – you may even end up buying a meal here.

Walk past the amazingly vast array of fresh fruit on display at Fruit’n Smoothie Sensations and select your own special drink, freshly made – here, again, there are usually free samples – it is one of the most colourful displays of fruit that we have ever seen. Or perhaps your downfall is ice-cream? If so, then don’t miss the selection of mouth-watering Haagen-Dazs’ ice creams – they are more than happy to give you a taste of any of the flavours on offer – and what a range! Flavours we’ve never seen before – totally self indulgent, monstrously high in calories – but what the heck – you are in America! In fact, when you have worked your way through their full repertoire you may not have room for one of their huge cornets!

Johnny Rockets is where you can get a hamburger and fries, served to you at your table, on a china plate, by a smartly dressed waiter who even squeezes out your ketchup onto a little cardboard dish. It’s a step back in time – all the benefits of fast food with personal service.  If you are lucky, you may even be treated to the staff stopping whatever they are doing and lining up to dance in front of you – amazing, unexpected and for some cool teenagers,  a little embarrassing!

Our favourite is Panera Bread, a bustling bakery café with outdoor tables and chairs. Find it on your right as you enter the mall. Don’t leave without trying some of their delicious huge Danish pastries (try the delectable peach one – a bargain at approximately $1.45 or just under £1) or perhaps a slice of walnut brownie.  If you are hungry there are huge sandwiches bulging with fillings – you can mix and match – choose a sandwich with some soup, or one of their hot panini sandwiches with salad. If you happen to be there as the shop is closing you may even be offered some free Danish pastries to take home – they just throw them away at the end of the day!

If you want something a little more up-market then take the elevator down to the lower level and try The Cheesecake Factory, or the elegant waiter service Brio Tuscan Grill. If you’ve never been to the Cheesecake Factory, its not all cheesecakes – there is a range of food – huge portions, freshly prepared, and great service. But you really can’t leave without sampling some of their amazing desserts to die for – incredible portions, inches high, of high calorie confections, smothered in cream. Here is certainly the place to put the diet on ‘hold’. Anyway – follow your cheesecake extravaganza with a couple more hours of retail therapy and you will soon walk off all those extra calories! There’s McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant or P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. There’s something for every taste!

Of course, there are dozens of shops, too, along elegant marble walkways with soaring vaulted glass roofs, comfortable carpeted seating areas, original sculptures, and marble staircases. At the end of the food hall there is a circular area where you can look down to the lower level. It is surrounded by huge plasma screens which project ever changing pictures linked to music – there is even a tribute to the Brits, with stirring patriotic music. You can walk down the escalators, or travel in the glass elevators – I’d suggest you do the latter as you can look out at the beautiful water feature as you slowly descend to the lower level. It is particularly stunning at night as the fountains dance and splash, and a tall glass sculpture changes colour in the background. In fact the whole mall is simply wonderful at night, with its trees lit with hundreds of tiny lights.

The shops are wide ranging, and luxuriously fitted. Sandwiched between the two major department stores, Macys and Bloomingdales, there’s Gucci and Giorgio, Tiffany and Cartier with their security guards, Banana Republic and Gap, Burberry and Morgan, nearly 50 clothing shops alone!  There are 22 shoe shops, as well as beauty and health, optical, leather goods and luggage, home furnishings and gifts, cards, books, stationery and much more.  Whilst for the electronically minded there are some of the most futuristic electronic retailers such as Bang and Olufsen and Futuretronics. There’s even a Body Shop!

And should you need to visit the ‘Powder Room’ then even that is an experience in itself – situated on the left hand side of the food hall, next to Chick-fil-A, it is a spacious area with leather seats where the family can wait in comfort. Spotlessly clean, and constantly cleaned it puts our ’conveniences’ to shame!

With something for everyone, if you love shopping, you’ll love it here! Don’t miss this wonderful mall – you may not buy anything, but even the children will enjoy its great facilities.

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Page added on: 20 July 2004
Viewed 5264 times since 1 September 2008.

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