There’s a vacation for everyone in the sunny state of Florida. Whether it’s the party beaches of Miami, the tropical beauty of Key West or even the sugar rush joy of Orlando, its no wonder the Sunshine State welcomes over one hundred million tourists a year.
Renowned internationally for its dazzling beaches, its glittering shopping district, and its brilliantly preserved Art Deco architecture, the inimitable Palm Beach has remained a bastion of desirability for centuries now, in which the historical glamor of New England haunts is heightened by Southern Florida’s balmy year-long summer.
And unlike other high-end destinations, Florida’s Palm Beach is not a matter of one story for the tourists, another for the locals. On the contrary, a vacation in Palm Beach invites one to live life the way the dwellers of Palm Beach do, with great sensibility and indulgent pleasure.
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One trip to the close-knit community affirms why those that live year-round in Palm Beach love it so much. One of the most expensive towns in the United States, the streets are embedded with a sense of bonafide luxury, from the designer shops of Worth Avenue to the award-winning golf courses.
Naturally, the luxury hotel scene is excellent, offering some of the best resorts within the state just across this small town. Considerably chicer than the lavish swagger of nearby Miami’s offerings, the best luxury hotels in Palm Beach are classy affairs, but importantly, not even slightly boring: the historical charm and opulent offerings render it anything but. Here are Elite Traveler’s best luxury hotels of Palm Beach.
Set across 140 acres, The Breakers is a flagship of not only Florida’s luxury hotel landscape but across the United States, and one doesn’t need to even enter the hotel to understand why. Built in the Renaissance revival style and framed by swaying palm trees, manicured lawns and a wonderful water fountain set the tone of The Breakers’ timeless glamor.
Having welcomed everyone into its temple of luxury from the Rockefellers and Astors to Sir Elton John and John F. Kennedy, the beach-facing resort includes a spectrum of facilities, from a championship-quality golf course and private beach to 10 restaurants and four ocean-front pools.
The rooms and suites are suitably glam, with a somewhat 1980s Miami aesthetic. You don’t need us to tell you that booking a space facing the Ocean is a good idea for gorgeous vistas across the Atlantic; but do let us nudge you in the direction of the Flagler Club, located atop of the main hotel. Even more luxe than the dwellings below, the exclusive space includes a private lounge and roof terrace.
If you book, don’t be surprised to find yourself booking again; guests return from all corners of the globe every winter to be dazzled by The Breakers’ unapologetic magnificence.
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The Colony Hotel
Painted in that pastel peach pink so synonymous with the Art Deco heritage of Palm Beach, The Colony Hotel feels worlds away from the uber-modern resort culture that sweeps across Florida. And rightfully so: the hotel is timelessly elegant and charmingly somewhat kitsch, leaning into that eccentric old-money style so championed in England and France.
More of a boutique hotel vibe than the aforementioned The Breakers, The Colony is located mere steps away from the beach, and we love its quirky beach service, which sees the hotel’s Beach Butler deliver service within stylish coolers. The spa facilities are run in partnership with celeb favorite Dr Barbara Sturm; the dining options, of which there are five including the beloved Swifty’s, are excellent.
And with 90 guest rooms that sprawl across the hotel’s seven floors, each room is delightfully distinctive whilst being totally The Colony. Just across the road is the hotel’s villa collection, designed for those in residence for over a month to truly enjoy their Palm Beach season.
The Brazilian Court
Quiet luxury is quite the buzzword these days, and The Brazilian Court is something of a bastion of the concept. Dating back to the 1920s – The Brazilian Court counts Greta Garbo and Clark Gable as former guests – glamour of the old-school style feels embedded into the walls of this boutique hotel.
From the vintage tropical gardens to the black-and-white tiles of the dining room, the timeless charm of The Brazilian Court is that it feels like a world unto itself. The rooms, for example, are arranged around the fountain courtyards; the Spanish Colonial style of the interiors are charmingly stylish. We particularly like the luxury guestroom with a terrace or patio, in which the art legacy of Palm Beach is nodded to with framed photographs of Terry O’Neill’s work.
There is a considerable lack of 21st-century flash – if you’re expecting designer names and infinity pools, look elsewhere – which renders the ambiance of the hotel all the more authentic. The dining is exquisite, and the service is some of the best in the state.
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Eau Palm Beach
Located right on the golden sands and azure Atlantic waters of the town’s namesake itself is Eau, indisputably one of the most glittering luxury hotels of Palm Beach. Indulgently spacious and utterly modern, the Eau Palm Beach experience is elevated to an even higher level of hotel utopia with its seven acres of ocean front, including tropical gardens and a private beach.
Naturally, all rooms and suites are exquisite in design and amenities, but its the ocean facing Lanai terrace suites we’re particularly enamored by. Located on the ground floor, these suites come with their own private garden, for true balmy bliss within the privacy of your own space.
The Eau Spa is particularly exceptional. Coming in at 42,000 sq ft, the hotel’s general ambiance of serenity is heightened in the midst of the spa and its gardens. With 19 treatment rooms, several garden spaces and poolside cabanas, Eau Palm Beach is truly one of the country’s greatest spa destinations.
The Boca Raton
You may argue that we’re cheating here: The Boca Raton is a drive away from Palm Beach, so if proximity to the town is a factor, then The Boca Raton resort and private club is not for you.
Yet you’ll be missing out. This is a real classic of the Palm Beach hotel genre; it is both loyal to its Art Deco roots, whilst also incorporating all we love about modern hotels today. With over 1,000 rooms spread across the 27-story tower, the Cloister, the Beach Club, the Yacht Club and the Bungalows, it is an incredulous achievement that not a single detail has been lost in the hotel’s successful pursuit of tropical vacation perfection.
If bedroom views are a priority – which, in all honesty, they should be when vacationing in this part of the world – opt for a suite in the newly renovated Tower, in which beautifully designed windows open to glorious vistas that stretch across the Atlantic Ocean and down the Florida coastline. The Harborside Pool Club is mere seconds away; kids will love it for its two water slides.