Travel: Palm Beach or Bust!
Creating the perfect weekend getaway in Palm Beach.
Let’s be honest; it’s delightful living in a city known as the vacation capital of the country, if not the world. Orlandoans may have to deal with the traffic on I-4 and the inevitable congestion around the theme parks. Still, Central Florida is overflowing with staycation options and quick getaway fun. From Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and Walt Disney World Resort itself, Orlandoans have their pick of the litter when it comes to an instant retreat; that is until one needs to truly escape the madness.
Before the 1971 opening of Walt Disney World, tourism was already a booming industry in Florida. There were a few established theme parks, like Cypress Gardens, Weeki Wachee Springs, and Gatorland, but the biggest draw for northern tourists wasn’t Orlando. Tourists flocked to the pristine beaches that lined the east and west coasts of Florida.
Tourists and locals seemed to fall into two categories, defined by whether they were an “East Coast” or “West Coast” beach Floridian or visitor. If you chose the east coast, you most likely yearned for a Palm Beach escape. You wouldn’t be alone. From the former Kennedy Palm Beach compound to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s mansion, the Pulitzer family estate to Mar-a-Lago, originally built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, Palm Beach has always reigned supreme as the go-to beach getaway for the elite.
When one thinks of Palm Beach, they imagine a place surrounded by crystal blue ocean views, tropical umbrellas surrounding beach and pools, gilded interiors reflecting a gilded age gone by, a time when the traveler made their way to this very beach town with their steamer trunks and stayed at such classic hotels as The Breakers or perhaps The Colony Hotel.
With the careful preservation of Palm Beach, one doesn’t have to look far to experience that same luxury today. Combining the classic and modern, the elegant Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa doesn’t disappoint. For those of us living in Central Florida, the drive is pleasant enough. No trains or planes necessary, simply pop in a mini playlist or an audiobook in your car, and you’re there quick as a bunny.
Within minutes of pulling up to the valet parking, it’s apparent that Eau Palm is a former Ritz-Carlton property. Located in the quaint seaside town of Manalapan Beach, Eau Palm opened its doors on July 1, 2020, retaining its Forbes 5-star spa rating. The lobby even smells like The Ritz-Carlton, which is done purposely through a partnership with Votivo. This signature scent can only be purchased on-site. Champagne in hand, we had a quick check-in as they whisked us away to our room.
Once we were settled, it was thrilling to throw open the doors to the spectacular ocean and pool view. We received more welcoming champagne and treats, such as chocolates and gifts. I spent most of my time in my favorite new place; a hanging swing chair on the balcony which allowed me to listen to the blustery waves of the Atlantic as my body swung in splendor. I could sit in the fun egg-shaped swing chair for the entire vacation, and that alone would have refreshed my beleaguered soul.
Designer Jonathan Adler carefully managed the renovation of 309 guestrooms and suites of the Eau Palm, which is set on seven acres of private oceanfront with pools, gardens, with amenities galore:
- A fabulous and fun kids and teen program.
- The award-winning 42,000-square-foot spa features treatment rooms with private gardens with Jacuzzis.
- A wishing well where you can light a candle and place your affirmations and wishes.
- A fabulous scrub and polish bar.
- An adult playground for guests 18 and over.
Adult and Family Options
Eau Palm provides several options for their guests and has the perfect programming for you if your goal is to have a quality family experience with children. Family and adult pools are separate, meaning one could vacation at Eau Palm and rarely see a child if that is your goal.
Kids & Teens
When you drop off your child at Eau Palm, you’re getting the best of the best.
If your child is three to 12, Eau Palm will invite them to join Loggers, an immersive experience that lets kids tap into their creativity.
Ages 13-17 are sure to enjoy Hide Away, a new, innovative space devoted to gaming, movies, and sports.
Wherever you have quality children’s services, you have happy adults who can fully relax and unwind.
From Spa services, where I thoroughly enjoyed a full body massage along with releasing my candle affirmation, to the adult-only pool areas, Eau Palm has created two worlds where parents can have their cake and eat it, too. Let’s not forget a little thing like the Atlantic Ocean, which is the original headline attraction.
Staying at the Eau Palm is the ultimate destination as there are many exciting things to do on the property. However, with Palm Beach just minutes away, it’s essential to explore the riches and history of this gilded community. TMW
EXPLORING PALM BEACH-Go For the Green
The Palm Beaches’ cheerful cultural scene is as laid back as a sun-kissed rooftop restaurant. Here, museums, libraries and performing-arts institutions live side by side with natural wonders that abound in the form of lush groves, wildlife habitats and sculpture gardens.
“Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so, learn more about yourself,” states a Japanese proverb. You’ll find that self-awareness easy at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, where the welcome center opens to a large, tranquil lake that inspires quiet contemplation. Take advantage of a bench at the water’s edge and lose yourself in thought.
Nearby, a beautiful waterfall and babbling brook provide another opportunity for reflection. Close your eyes and listen to the birds chirp while a sense of peace washes over you.
The Morikami is full of such serene spots; amble along its winding paths and discover the one that’s right for you. Don’t leave before visiting the bonsai exhibit and the collection of Japanese dolls.
Another outdoor paradise, the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, is the oldest and largest public garden in Palm Beach County. This idyllic, 16-acre tropical paradise is full of native flora and fauna. When one sits beneath the garden’s royal poinciana tree and looks out over Lake Worth, ease settles in quickly.
Mounts’ mission is to reconnect visitors to nature, local stories and one another. Its new “Year of the Orchid” exhibit does just that, drawing on the history of West Palm Beach, which once was known as Orchid City.
Download the Bloomberg Connects app and search Mounts Botanical Garden to aid in exploration of the 25 display gardens, its exhibits, festivals, nursery and more.
Traditional museums in Palm Beach County also make the most of their space by exploring their connections to nature. Outdoor sculpture at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach is set amid lush grounds and realizes architect Lord Norman Foster’s vision for a “museum in a garden.” The 37,200-square-foot garden mixes mature trees with plants of varying leaf sizes and tropical flowers to create “garden rooms.”
Among the artists you’ll find represented in the garden are Keith Haring, Antony Gormley, Jenny Holzer and Joel Shapiro and many others.
Indoors, there are two exciting new exhibits. “A Personal View on High Fashion & Street Style: Photographs from the Nicola Erni Collection, 1930s to Now” looks at the photographer’s rare vintage prints, large-format photographs, and original collages. It’s on view through Feb. 12.
“Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature” examines the artist’s portrayal of natural subjects. The depictions of flowers, plants and birds is a stunning departure from the futuristic artwork for which he’s known. The exhibit runs through Jan. 15.
Focusing on drama, art, music, and literature, the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach is home to myriad engaging events that connect back to nature. The 86-year-old cultural organization’s latest exhibition, “Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture,” explores the art of lacquerware in East Asia, where artisans use the toxic sap of the lacquer tree to coat and bond together wood, bamboo, textiles and ceramics to make utilitarian and ritualistic items. It’s on view Dec. 3-Jan. 22.
A stroll through the Four Arts’ Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden takes you through another of the county’s hidden gems. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy lunch or bask in a sunny afternoon. Unforgettable pieces include Jim Dine’s “King Parrot,” Beverly Pepper’s “Crispina Senior II” and Lawrence Holofcener’s “The Allies,” perhaps the garden’s most Instagrammed piece.
Home to art in Boca Raton, Mizner Park houses both the Boca Raton Museum of Art and its art school. Creative artistic expression is valued here, and you’ll witness that inside both. At the museum, “Art of the Hollywood Backdrop” preserves scenic backdrops found behind some of the biggest movies ever filmed: “Ben-Hur,” “The Sound of Music” and “North by Northwest” among them.
The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 22, also gives credit to the scenic artists who created those paintings, who received little recognition.
Also, on view is “Black Pearls,” a look into Boca Raton’s historic Black neighborhood of Pearl City, viewed through the lens of Reginald Cunningham. It is the first-ever museum exhibition of the photographer’s work and celebrates the people of this enduring district. The exhibit runs through Jan. 29.
The artwork continues outside in not one but two sculpture gardens, which feature more than 20 works by such artists as Arman, Tony Rosenthal, and Geoffrey C. Smith. JM
BACK TO THE EAU PALM-Dinner is Where the Magic Happens
After exploring Palm Beach, having a fine meal is crucial. There are several excellent dining locations to choose from at Eau Palm. Everything is delicious, from their pizza to burgers; you can’t miss. One can conveniently order food and drinks to be delivered to the pool or to the beach.
Our favorite restaurant was Polpo Palm Beach, where our excellent server, Leroy, gave excellent guidance on what to order. We were delighted to meet Chef Kevin and Chef Jason, who explained their commitment to everything on their menu being natural, local and homemade.
You can’t go wrong starting with the grilled polpo, octopus with cannellini beans with a touch of arugula. This was followed by a sumptuous Raviolo Tartufati, homemade cheese ravioli with a delectable truffle cream sauce. The main course was an expertly prepared Dover sole fillet.
As we awoke to our final day at Eau Palm Resort & Spa, we didn’t want the vacation to end. We took our time packing our luggage but had to take one last tour of the spectacular resort; a blissful walk along the Atlantic, a stroll around the pools, and a peek into the lovely boutiques. We refuse to be melancholy because we will return, and soon. After all, we live just two and a half hours away. It’s comforting to know that when we need an escape from our own paradise, there’s another just down the road to replenish our souls. TMW