This well-to-do island on Florida’s Gold Coast provides a plush refuge from global pandemonium.
While much of the world continues to suffer indoors, due to quarantine restrictions, sunny Florida is operating under one of the country’s more liberal lockdowns. The mild winter weather, salty sea breeze, swaying palm trees, and fragrant flora serve as a vibrant backdrop for socially distant patio cocktails and picture perfect picnics on the sand.
Like in many American cities, hotels, restaurants, museums, and retail shops in the area are taking precautions to keep patrons safe and sound. Here’s how to make the most of America’s playground for the well-heeled.
WHERE TO SLEEP
If preppy-chic is your thing, this is the hotel for you. Following recent renovations, this Island icon is open for business and remains as adorable as can be. Palm tree leaf wallpaper lines the first floor’s hallways leading to the retro-cool pool area, where you’ll find a flamingo float perfect for posing with. Though not on the water, just ask the front desk to call for the property’s fully decked-out golf cart to take you to the beach – the ride there is half the fun!
The White Elephant
Sister to the famous Nantucket property with the same name, this New England transplant is small, cosy, and oozes with modern luxury. Make sure to have a meal on-site at Lola 41 and feast on globally inspired small dishes that are made for sharing. Their wine and bubbles list is also one of the best around. For a little self-guided mansion gawking adventure, borrow one of the hotel’s house BMWs for up to four hours – free of charge.
SHOP, REFUEL, REPEAT
Royal Poinciana Plaza
Hermès, Saint Laurent, Badgley Mischka, Kirna Zabête, Roller Rabbit, Asprey London, and Assouline are among the brands you can shop in this lush outdoor shopping plaza. But shopping is only part of the appeal; the mix of dining options are just as fun. Choose from the fast and casual South Florida Mexican fare staple, Coyo Taco, or head to the swanky, yet affordable Honor Bar for happy hour. Alternatively, try out the absolutely decadent Sant Ambroeuse for a real-deal Italian dinner and/or desserts; once here, sip, nibble, and try not to stare as Palm Beach royalty pass you by. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the upmarket art galleries Pace, Acquavella, Paula Cooper Gallery, and Lehmann Maupin, as well as Sotheby’s large viewing room.
Impeccably manicured Worth Avenue resembles the piazzas and covered walkways of Italy. Lined with both internationally recognised brands (Chanel, Escada, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Van Cleef & Arpels et al.) and quaint local boutiques – Aerin Lauder’s namesake boutique (Aerin) and Jennifer Miller jewellery are always worth a visit when in the area. This gorgeous street spills out onto the Atlantic Ocean marked by a stunning, landmark clock tower lies. With some great old-school fine dining options along this stretch it’s worth (sorry) factoring lunch into your afternoon plans.
WHAT TO DO
One of the area’s best-kept secrets happens to also be Palm Beach’s oldest house of worship. The Gothic, Revival style Episcopal church is a majestic work of architecture which surrounds an impressive stone courtyard. Around the back is a small secret garden with fragrant flowers, a quaint water fountain, and long rectangular Koi pond – bring a quarter for fish food to feed the dozens of Koi fish with. Fun (or frightening) fact: Donald and Melania Trump were married in the church in 2005.
Opened in 1926 by rail magnate Henry Flagler, this Italian, Renaissance-style resort has a private beach, two golf courses, nine restaurants, and four pools. No shortage of things to do so. The mega hotel (with over 500 rooms) is particularly beloved by moms thanks to their roster of activities for kids. While little darlings are otherwise distracted mom can indulge in some pampering and take full advantage of the property’s luxurious indoor/outdoor spa.
The Leopard Lounge
Located inside the iconic boutique hotel, The Chesterfield, this classic spot is tapped as a favourite amongst celebrities like Rod Stewart and Jimmy Fallon. Dated in the most charming of ways, pull up a stool and transport yourself to a bygone era where guys and dolls sipped on Martinis to the thrum of live piano music.
Society of the Four Arts
Home to beautiful gardens and two libraries, The Four Arts is one of Palm Beach’s oldest and most-respected cultural destinations. For a big helping of much-needed serenity, stroll through the glorious Four Arts Gardens. This green oasis is home to The Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden and Four Arts Botanical Gardens. Explore numerous works by renowned sculpture artists, magnificent floral paths, ponds, fountains and more.