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
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
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’
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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