When railroad tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler decided to build the ultimate winter retreat for the wealthy, his choice of location couldn’t have been more perfect. Palm Beach was established on a small, uninhabited strip of land in Florida separated from the mainland by a freshwater lagoon. It’s since become America’s most storied resort town and the seasonal destination of choice for well-heeled types and elite travelers.
The pristine beaches, warm waters and opulent way of life attract supermodels and well-known socialites from all over North America, and this famous clientele is certainly part of the allure. After all, this is a place where 25 living billionaires own homes, yacht slips and club memberships. In addition to the coveted year-round tropical weather, however, our Palm Beach Destination Guide breaks down the town’s glamorous vibe, as well as the extravagant hotel resorts, mouthwatering restaurants and exquisite experiences that await.
Where to Stay
You’d be hard-pressed to find another luxury resort in the country that belongs in the same breath as The Breakers, an iconic property of grand Italianate architecture with an exclusive beachfront experience. On the heels of a $250-million revitalization program, every inch of the 140-acre property embraces guests from around the world with an incomparable blend of luxury and relaxation. This is apparent from the moment you step into the vaulted 200-foot Murano-dripped main lobby that’s based on a Renaissance castle in Genoa.
The luxurious ambiance carries over to the 540 spacious guest rooms, each of which features ocean-inspired décor, soft pastels, dark woods, sumptuous linens, marble bathrooms and private terraces that overlook either the beachfront or the palm-lined Main Drive. Four pools, a private stretch of beach and a stunning indoor-outdoor spa highlight the plush sensory experiences available for guests, while a tennis court and two distinct championship golf courses make The Breakers a truly unforgettable getaway. Situated in a picturesque courtyard, the property also has 11 stylish boutiques on site that feature some of the world’s top designer names.
Our Palm Beach Destination Guide also includes a Luxury Hotel Guide, so you can find your own slice of paradise.
Where to Dine
Under the palms of the Brazilian Court Hotel, Café Boulud is where the Côte d’Azur meets South Florida. Led by Lyon-born chef Daniel Boulud, this award-winning establishment puts forth a menu of traditional French cuisine using the best local ingredients and seafood. The kitchen has a reputation for exceptional standards and quality with refined plates such as red wine-braised shorts ribs and potato-leek soup.
The space itself is a tropical palette of warm yellows and oranges, illuminated by natural light through French doors and windows. Guests can dine outside on the lovely terrace that overlooks a beautifully manicured courtyard, an especially elegant scene when the sun goes down and the courtyard lights up. Café Boulud has been one of the hottest spots in all of Palm Beach, so making a reservation in advance is certainly a good idea.
In addition to our Palm Beach Destination Guide, be sure to check out our Restaurant Guide for a complete breakdown of fine dining establishments.
What to Do
South Florida naturally offers boundless amounts of overwater fun that spans fishing, boating, paddling and snorkeling. Beyond enjoying the soft sands, calm waters and a healthy dose of vitamin D, however, Palm Beach has emerged as a real cultural destination as of late. If you’re interested in a thriving arts scene, Palm Beach County proudly boasts more than 200 arts organizations and more cultural venues than any city south of Atlanta.
Built in 1902 as a wedding present to his new wife, the Flagler Museum is the 75-room, 100,000-square foot estate that now operates as a museum 0f Palm Beach and Henry Flagler himself. Elsewhere, the Botanical Garden at the Society of the Four Arts is one of the most picturesque locations on the island that showcases the diversity of tropical plants native to the area. The garden is open to the public seven days per week.
You haven’t been to Palm Beach if you haven’t indulged in a little bit of retail therapy. For the ultimate window shopping experience, check out the thriving storefront scene along Worth Avenue where you’ll find a plethora of international designer names – from Chanel, Max Mara and Gucci to well-known local boutiques such as Marley’s Palm Beach Collection.
Follow up a morning of shopping with an afternoon of relaxation at the Eau Palm Beach Spa, the perfect place to be pampered like royalty. Designed for playful relaxation, this enormous 42,000 sqft space delivers an indulgent affair that begins with a glass of champagne and ends with pure bliss.
What to Pack
Despite the year-round tropical climate, spring is the ideal time to head down to South Florida as the weather is pleasant throughout the day without the risk of storms. Between enjoying the soft sands and unwinding at an outdoor spa, inject some color into your palette with this Zimmermann Brighton Buckle Bandeau Bikini. The swimsuit combines a retro aesthetic with a vibrant hue and modern flair – featuring a bandeau top with a buckle accent and low-rise bikini bottoms with a high-cut leg. Whether by the pool or on the beach, wear the swimsuit under beach pants or a sarong for a complete relaxed day look.
Between VIP parties and delicious brunches, downtime is certainly important in Palm Beach. To add instant elegance, the Bondi Born Plunge Satin Maxi Dress offers breathable sophistication. Made from sustainably sourced satin with a lustrous high-shine finish, the dress has a loose-fitting floor-length shape that’s defined by a plunging v-neckline. It’s perfect for casual nighttime events, where you can keep it simple with a pair of statement earrings and a handheld clutch.