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As winter woes begin to descend on the East Coast, it's time to start planning a romantic warm weather getaway. For a quick and easy escape, look no further than Palm Beach. The destination — a favorite among snowbird politicians, Fortune 500 CEOs, celebrities, and even royals — is just a three-hour flight from New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., making it both uber-chic and very accessible. And with local residents like Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and Donald Trump (the Republican presidential hopeful owns the hotel Mar-a-Lago there), you never know whom you'll bump into. Here, our weekend itinerary for the "American Riviera."
If you're looking for a quiet spot to call home, there's no better place to post up than the Brazilian Court Hotel. Just steps from glitzy Worth Ave (more on that later), the Palm Beach mainstay is ultra-luxurious, sans any pretension. Eighty guest rooms are spread out around a central courtyard, affording tons of relaxation and privacy, and the service is top-notch, so amenity snobs will feel right at home with perks like complimentary WiFi and beach chair rentals. Whether you're in town to mix-and-mingle with the local population of one-percenters or indulge in some poolside relaxation and pampering à deux (did we mention there's a Frederic Fekkai salon and spa on-site?), it's safe to say you'll want to return next year.
Good news: you don't even have to leave the hotel to experience one of Palm Beach's best restaurants, Café Boulud. The award-winning eatery from top chef Daniel Boulud recently underwent a renovation and expansion, at the center of which is a snazzy new bar and lounge. Specialty cocktails and craft brews are one reason to visit, as is the enhanced bar bites menu (think Cubano sandwiches with house-cured pork, Maine lobster rolls, and the famed CBPB burger). Also of note: Café Boulud's Ballroom and Conservatory — one of Florida's top wedding venues — has likewise received a refresh. The space now accommodates parties up to 150, with eye-catching details like an expanded glass skylight (because who wants their guests to actually step outside to catch a glimpse of that beautiful starry night?).
The "who's who" of Palm Beach are often found along the city's main drag, Worth Avenue (a Rodeo Drive equivalent). Take a stroll to peruse eye-catching window displays at stores like Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, and Chanel (or go inside and shop, if you're lucky). Should mid-market retailers be more your speed, pop into Calypso St. Barth for colorful frocks and delicate jewelry; Vilebrequin for St. Tropez-inspired men's swim trunks; or Jennifer Garrigues for eclectic home décor.
For a low-key meal, request an Uber and head seven minutes north to Rocco's Tacos. The vibrant restaurant and tequila bar is a welcome contrast to the glitz and glam of Palm Beach proper — and the food is just as noteworthy. Here, the guacamole is prepared tableside, corn tortillas are handmade and cooked daily in the kitchen's Comal, and the bar is stocked with more than 425 varieties of tequila (good luck choosing just one for that margarita).
Consider this a warning: If you make it across the bridge to holistic skincare expert Tammy Fender's namesake spa on Flagler Drive, you will be hooked for life. We're obsessed with Fender's custom-blend organic products, so naturally, we recommend you start dropping hints to your guy about three weeks prior to departure that you'd like to book the Signature Facial with Reflexology (75 minutes for $300). It's a splurge, but rest assured, it's worth every penny. Not only with the aesthetician cleanse, massage, and rejuvenate your skin, but you'll also get a full-body energy alignment courtesy of Helya, Fender's unrivaled reflexologist (the tandem face, neck, and foot massages are enough to cure any ailment, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual). Don't walk out without taking home some of Fender's specialty blend products — which are beautifully packaged and filled with essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and natural plant extract — since you'll want to keep all that gorgeousness going once you return home.
Cap off the weekend with a romantic night out at Cucina dell'Arte. Make a late dinner reservation for such home-style Italian classics as Chicken Cacciatore and Nonna's Meatballs. Stick around until 11 p.m., when the tables and chairs are pushed aside and the dance party gets going.