Palm Beach Panache

Florida’s iconic resort town has perfected the art of old-school glamour.

There are certain destinations whose name alone evokes luxury. Palm Beach, Florida, is undoubtedly one of them.

It all began in 1911, when American industrialist Henry Flagler founded the town as a well-heeled retreat for socialites and politicians. As it continued to develop, Palm Beach served as a winter haven for iconic American families, such as the Vanderbilts and the Kennedys, and can more recently count design mogul Jonathan Adler among its seasonal residents. There’s enough star power—past and present—to put it on par with nearly any high-end resort town in the world.

As soon as you arrive on the 16-mile isle, you get the sense that Palm Beach moves at a different—and decidedly luxurious—pace. Palatial homes are cloaked by towering hedges and curtains of cascading bougainvillea. Visitors are invited to taste a slice of Palm Beach opulence at any number of first-class hotels, such as the historic Brazilian Court hotel. A favorite of many Palm Beachers since 1926 (including Hollywood legends Greta Garbo and Cary Grant), the lush enclave feels both serene and exclusive. Stone courtyards and a stunning garden pool are tucked among a canopy of palms and other tropical flora that shield views of the town, thus offering the illusion of a private paradise.

The hotel’s recently refurbished interiors are equally appealing. Blending old-world Spanish style with Dutch Colonial—a nod to the area’s architectural history—rooms have a cozy yet elegant vibe. Each is equipped with a jetted soaking tub and stocked with products from the hotel’s Frédéric Fekkai Salon & Spa.

Once you are able to pull yourself away from Brazilian Court’s luxe digs, the beach beckons. A quick call to the concierge desk will have a Mercedes town car ready to whisk you away to warm blue waters, complete with chair-and-umbrella service and a tote bag full of beach essentials. If retail therapy is more your speed, The Brazilian Court resides just a few high-heeled taps away from Worth Avenue, an immaculate quarter-mile of stylish shops such as Chanel, Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo.

No matter how you spend the day, most nights end at chef Daniel Boulud’s newly renovated spot, Café Boulud, inside The Brazilian Court. A place to see and be seen, the restaurant’s new contemporary design matches the chef’s fresh take on French cuisine, which showcases locally sourced seafood and produce. The sleek 15-seat bar serves up equally smooth cocktails—white cosmopolitans are poured over orchid ice spheres, and sugar cubes give Champagne an extra dose of decadence. This is Palm Beach, after all.