Dolphin Mall ready to cater to Spanish-speaking tourists
By Marilyn Bowden
The 250-store Dolphin Mall, preparing for a March 1 grand opening, aims to capitalize quickly on its airport proximity by already luring the tourist consumer.
This week tourism specialist Lucia Plazas-Clamp joined a promotional junket arranged by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to Peru's annual Visit USA Show. She said it's the fourth Latin American capital she's visited to promote the mall since November.
"We've made luncheon presentations in Brazil, Argentina and Chile," Ms. Plazas-Clamp said, "to tourism professionals, representatives of airlines, car rental companies anybody who has anything to do with traveling to Miami.
"We explain the amenities for visitors and put on mini-fashion shows using local models. They've been very successful."
She said a closing night party for La Cumbre, a Latin American trade show meeting in Miami in September, will be held at Dolphin Mall.
Ms. Plazas-Clamp said she'll also be promoting Miami-Dade's newest shopping destination in Europe and the Caribbean as well as domestic locations.
The mall is 5 miles west of Miami Internation Airport, at Florida's Turnpike and State Road 836. The project is a joint venture between Broward County's Swerdlow Real Estate Group and Michigan-based Taubman Centers, a real estate investment trust specializing in regional shopping centers.
Amenities designed with international shoppers in mind, Ms. Plazas-Clamp said, include a multilingual staff and a currency exchange, lockers large enough to hold suitcases and four unisex bathrooms.
"The family bathrooms got an incredible reaction in Latin America," she said. "A parent can escort a child of either sex. Husbands and wives can both use them, which is especially convenient if one is handicapped."
The oversized lockers make it easier for visitors between flights to hop on a bus to the mall, she said. They can store suitcases and pack new purchases.
"Hotel checkout is usually before noon," Ms. Plazas-Clamp said. "Most flights to Latin America don't depart until 11 p.m. or midnight. Nobody wants to sit in the airport for 12 hours.
The mall's interior, designed to "reflect Miami's Latin heritage," should also make visitors from Latin America feel at home.
Walkways will be called paseos. The three main zones actually zonas will be named Playa for beach, Moda for style and Ramblas for walk.
"The style is very Latin," Ms. Plazas-Clamp said, "but it will appeal to other cultures as well."
The mall's roster of stores and restaurants includes a number of Latin American retailers entering the continental US for the first time, she said. They include Mario Hernandez designer leather goods; Basico, apparel and accessories for girls and young women; Bosi, high-end shoes and leather goods for men and women; Chispa de la Vida, formal wear for women, and ChurroMania, a pastry shop.