Luxury Palm Beaches

Expert View Column , Inspiration
Luxury Palm Beaches
By ATD’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
Explore a different side to Orlando with a Palm Beaches getaway...

Champagne in hand, we watched lazily as a warm Atlantic breeze gently fluttered the luxury yacht Arcadia’s signature flag, and a series of multi-million dollar homes slipped by as we made our way out to the ocean. Championship Polo, the country’s most prestigious car auction, magnificent shopping and dining, and a bit of twilight croquet were yet to come.

Being a full-time travel writer is difficult. It involves 12-14 hours days in front of a computer, 7 days a week, watching your waistline expand and your muscles contract. But every now and then an assignment comes along that renews the spirit and makes the pain fade. Our recent visit to The Palm Beaches on the Atlantic coast was one such trip, packed full of all the things that make a visitor feel truly spoilt and utterly pampered. Come with us for a quick tour, then make The Palm Beaches part of your next Orlando twin-centre holiday.

Palm Beach

Our 4-day trip with Discover the Palm Beaches and Visit Florida began with chilled champagne at check-in when we arrived at Eau Resort (pronounce it, “Oh”, as in “Oh my stars, I never want to leave”). Situated oceanside, the resort is a confection of contemporary chic with a soft approachability that pulls you in and whispers, “Stay a while.”

Palm Beach

Dinner at the Meat Market in Palm Beach proved steakhouses can be glamourous as we indulged in hand-crafted cocktails, Kobe filet mignon dripping in designer butter, and Seabass so succulent we couldn’t help but make ‘yummy’ noises.

The next morning’s massage at Eau Spa, winner of too many awards to list here, soothed away our workaday worries and set a tone of unabashed pampering that would carry on for the duration of our visit. Even the relaxation courtyard’s name—The Self-Centered Garden—insists its visitors indulge in ‘me time’, no excuses necessary.

Palm Beach

Then we were off for a tour of boutique Brazilian Court Hotel, so intimate and laid back you would never know the man on the sun lounger next to you dabbles in billion-dollar business deals while the bauble around his wife’s neck cost more than your car. But there is no sense of pretentiousness here; the atmosphere is relaxed, and lunch at Café Boulud proved another delve into culinary refinement, with white-glove treatment minus the white gloves. Celebrity-spotting your thing? It’ll happen here.

Palm Beach

We couldn’t move with the movers or shake with the shakers, but an afternoon visit to Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Car Auction, allowed us to rub shoulders with those who could. Each time the hammer came down and the shout of “Sold” rang out, no-one flinched at the ending price, but even more interesting action took place outside the bidding arena. Tent after tent filled with rows of gleaming automobiles attract visitors of every bank balance, and it was a pleasure strolling around, window-shopping. We each partook of the Drag and Drift Thrill Ride for a high-speed lap around a track with a professional driver in a 5-litre V-8 Mustang, and slipped easily into our temporary lifestyle of privileged experiences.

The World's Greatest Car Auction

The evening was spent at the National Croquet Center, with croquet master Bill Meade teaching us everything we needed to know about the simplest form of the game. We cheated like competitive children, of course, when game time came, then finished with wine and pretty little nibbles, and declared it a blissful—if hilarious—end to a perfect day.

National Croquet Center

Hedonism kicked into high gear the next day with breakfast and an excursion on board 85ft luxury yacht Arcadia, compliments of HMY Yachts. So opulent it was almost—but not quite—embarrassing, our morning voyage was the epitome of leisurely extravagance, and we could have sold everything we owned and drifted off on Arcadia to live our remaining years out in sumptuous seafaring style.

But lunch at BiCE was calling. We dined on Frittura De Calamaretti, spinach and ricotta-stuffed zucchini blossoms, and Mediterranean Seafood Salad, then took an organised Historical Walking Tour of shopping mecca Worth Avenue, lined with boutique and designer shops that would rival any big city, all mere steps off the beach. With credit cards tucked firmly in our wallets, we soaked in the European ambience and vowed to return with our Christmas wish lists, convinced that Worth Ave truly is one of America’s ‘most iconic’ shopping venues.

Our tour expended just enough energy to warrant dinner at The Four Seasons Resort’s Jovè Kitchen and Bar, where the wine flowed as a collection of appetisers found their way to our table, followed by superb entrees of Branzino with micro vegetables and porcini dry rubbed Prime Teres Major. A selection of elegant desserts provided “just a taste” to satisfy our sweet tooth, guilt-free. After all, there’s no room for remorse when the object of the exercise is self-indulgence.

The next morning we departed for The Breakers, the jewel in Palm Beach’s crown and a testament to vacationers’ right to enjoy the finest things in life. From the breathtaking hand-painted frescoes covering the reception lobby ceiling to the magnificent gathering places that encourage pleasant conversation over a fine wine, industrialist and oil baron Henry Flagler’s masterpiece has redefined gracious holiday-making, honing it to a fine art, with 119 years of gentile hospitality under its stately beams.

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship lured us away for an afternoon of big hats, sleek-haunched horses, a gourmet buffet spread and the continuous pop of champagne corks, our only exertion being the half-time “divot stomp” to re-level the playing field.

U.S. Polo Championship

Our final dinner was spent bonding over an exceptional meal at The Breakers’ “HMF” restaurant, and our final morning found us relaxing in a poolside bungalow, complete with private outdoor shower and a dedicated concierge. Yes, it was a work trip, but we left fully revived as we bid the Palm Beaches a fond farewell, knowing we would definitely return to enjoy her indulgences again.

Envious? Don’t be. It can be yours too, picking and choosing what appeals to you, following in the steps of our full itinerary, or just lounging by the beach with the odd break for a sumptuous meal and a glass or two of something interesting.    

For the full luxury experience, check out our Palm Beaches Facebook album, here.

Palm Beach is just 2 and a half hours drive from the Walt Disney Resort and makes a great luxury addition to your Orlando holiday. As part of a twin centre break, you would also be able to benefit from our exclusive, limited time deal 2-day Disney ticket, if booked before July 31 for travel this year. Sit back, relax, and add happiness! 

Expert View Column , Inspiration