Palm Beach is the land of heydays, from the turn-of-the-century tycoon boom to the stylish Sixties and Seventies when women wore their Lillys (short for Pulitzer) while strolling Worth Avenue. It’s always been a destination for sun-seekers, sail-lovers and those who indulge in a certain nostalgia. And the culture, food and shopping is always (always) spot on.
In 2016, The Breakers will be 120 years old. In that
time, it will have rebuilt itself twice, both times due
to fire, but never having lost any of its charm or Old
World sense of service. Henry James once described
it as “cool and fair, friendly, breezy, shiny, swabbed
and burnished like a royal yacht, really immaculate
and delightful.” It still holds true, thanks to its eight
restaurants, two golf courses (including the oldest
18-hole course in the golf-obsessed state) and
enough boutiques to rival those on Worth Avenue
a few minutes away.
The Brazilian Court
A far more quiet, low-key scene than anyplace else in Palm Beach, the lush century-old palm trees of The
Brazilian Court offer its patrons respite and peace. Here, Café Boulud, under the helm of Chef Daniel Boulud,
serves afternoon tea in the southern courtyard and a classic French menu, with a touch of Americana, morning
A fabled history that’s tangled with names as diverse as Howard Hughes, Joan Collins and Rod Stewart and a bar, the Leopard Lounge, that is one of the campiest, most fun after-hours in town. Request the room with the monkey wallpaper and sink into a slice of retro chic.
An ideal place for parties big and small to share Chef Clay Conley’s
tasty tapas. The menu, like the crowd, is exciting and unexpected:
short-rib empañadas, hot dog panini and steak tartare on grilled
bread with black truffle and crispy egg yolk.
Stories still circulate at this eatery about that time Joseph Kennedy and Gloria Swanson were tête-à-tête in the powder room. And Ta-boo claims it created the Bloody Mary to rid Barbara Hutton of a hangover. We know for a fact this is where, every Friday in the late Sixties and Seventies, Dodie Thayer stopped for a buffet lunch with her friends after dropping off her latest lettuce ware creations in town. The fresh stone-crab claws and fried oysters are like a delicious peek into another era.
Pizza al Fresco
Parents and pet-owners love Pizza al Fresco for the friendly atmosphere and can’t-miss pizza. Sit outside year-round under the twinkling lights and amid the bougainvillea, sipping chilled pinot grigio and dining on the house’s classic Italian pastas.
The man who reinvented Bottega Veneta is a die-hard Palm Beacher. He calls the island home and, in 2007, opened his second eponymous boutique here — full of his own body-con swimwear, beachy ready-to-wear and Diptyque-collab candles, along with a mélange of friends’ jewelry, teas and books by and about the great local architects. It’s housed in the former office of Addison Mizner, a founding architect of the city itself.
South Dixie Antique Row
Serious antique hunters and weekend bric-a-brac dabblers
alike mingle on this 14-block stretch of shops. Chanel, circa
1980s, crops up often while rarer finds, like local artist Dodie
Thayer lettuce ware and Verdura cuffs, are snatched up
quickly. Do your research in advance or be prepared to just
take it all in and roll with the crowds.
The Ritz Carlton completely transformed its spa, top to bottom, creating a dizzying menu of treatments in a 42,000 square-foot space. But it hasn’t lost its sense of play and humor, anointing a rubber duck its icon of relaxation. Swing by to touch up your highlights or couples can check in for a decadent four hours of champagne, caviar and treatments.
As much a cultural stop for solo art exhibits
and concerts as it is a look into how the Palm
Beach elite used to live, the museum is housed
in the Beaux-Art manse that was once the
home of Henry Flagler. Flagler was a founding
member of Standard Oil and one of the first New
Yorkers to winter in Florida, sparking the trend
of migrating south.
More to explore in Travel
- Culture 12.7.17 Art & Design Issue: Spotlight on Faena District
- Travel 12.6.17 Art & Design Issue: To Visit, Miami’s Nobu Eden Roc
- Travel 11.30.17 Tastemakers: Alexis Swanson Traina, Thomas Keller & Ken Fulk on the Holidays in Napa
- Travel 11.9.17 Entrepreneur Issue: Hotelier Marie-Louise Sciò on Running Your Own Company
- Travel 10.26.17 To Visit: Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel