By Jody Robbins
If a warm-weather getaway is what you’re after, hoping on a private jet from Toronto to Florida is as much of a breeze as the saltwater tinged air you’re about to inhale. Touted as America’s first resort destination, The Palm Beaches is a glamorous enclave, oozing with historical splendour, championship golf courses and one-of-a-kind experiences. Here’s a game plan for navigating its palm-shaded shores.
Where do you start when you have 75-km of Atlantic Coastline to explore? Begin by picking your on the water adventure, choosing from sailing, jet skiing, kayaking or snorkelling in the warm Gulf Stream waters. Here, you’ll find the country’s only private scuba diving country club. But if you want to do more than simply admire the marine life, anglers can catch trophy fish in Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake in the United States.
On Dry Land
Over 200 museums, galleries and gardens make The Palm Beaches Florida’s cultural capital. The recently completed $100 million expansion of The Norton Museum of Art features additional gallery space with eight new exhibitions, plus the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Restaurant.
With over 160 public and private golf courses to chose from, teeing up is top of mind for many. Five championship course can be found at one resort - the famed fairways at PGA National Resort & Spa. For something new, hied yourself to Banyan Cay, where Jack Nicklaus’ 300th Signature Golf Course is now open to members and their guests.
There are 23 golf courses in West Palm Beach, Florida and 3 are municipal courses. There are also another 77 golf courses within 20 miles of West Palm Beach, including 14 public, 7 municipal and 56 private courses.
Those looking to perfect their swing can do so at the Drive Shack, an all-in-one 60,000 sq ft golf and entertainment destination. Golfers tee off around the world on virtual courses housed within expansive, climate-controlled bays.
There’s no shortage of luxury dwellings to rest your head at. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a private residence at recently opened White Elephant Palm Beach, the sister property to Nantucket’s iconic resort. The 32-room and suite property boasts private outdoor space for each accommodation type. Perks include complimentary use of BMW vehicles, plus access to Barton & Gray yachts.
Pink is synonymous with Palm Beach and The Colony Hotel is enrobed in the most delightful shade of shell pink. Being within easy bag carrying distance of the shops on Worth Avenue and mere steps away from the ocean, means it’s perfectly positioned to soak up the best of both worlds. The Living Room, the hotel’s newly renovated lobby, offers all-day beverage, cocktail and light-bite service, while the hotel’s beach butler ensures gourmet goodies are delivered to your sweep of sand.
The Worth Avenue clock tower is an iconic landmark in Palm Beach, Florida and the sophisticated Worth Avenue is one of the world’s most renowned destination shopping locations in the country.
The only five-star, five-diamond resort in the region, the Four Seasons is currently offering a complimentary fourth night, luring you to stay a little bit longer. You won’t need much arm twisting, not with tennis clinics, complimentary access to the spa’s eucalyptus steam room and a house car available to transport to you to and from local attractions.
More than 2,000 dining venues span The Palm Beaches, with a well balanced fusion of classic masters, edgy newcomers and celebrity chefs.
Settle into the bistro ambiance at Le Bilboquet, a newly opened, New York-born French restaurant. Dishes favoured by its well heeled clientele include caviar with the appropriate accoutrements, signature foie gras and le poulet Cajun.
Though Todd’s is under the helm of famed chef Todd English, dining here is a relaxed affair with an airy main dining room and sculptures laced between garden seating. Standouts include the house-made pasta and an indulgent bread pudding.
If alfresco dining is what you’re after, the landscaped outdoor seating area at BiCE Ristoriante is a lovely spot for a languid, rosé-fuelled lunch. The 14-oz grilled free-range veal chop is worth the splurge, but so too is the risotto.
For a more relaxed vibe, you’ll find spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway from the multi-tiered patio at Elisabetta’s Ristorante. This sprawling, 300-seat eatery sports a bocce ball court on its patio, vintage gazebos and an indoor/outdoor bar. For more privacy, reserve the 12-seat private dining room and make your way through the 400-bottle wine list, featuring lesser known, Italian wines.