Palm-adorned streets and greenways frame Mediterranean revival and art deco edifices for a warm welcome to South Florida’s oasis that is Palm Beach. Reverberating an unequivocal sense of place, there’s no question as to where you are, the only question is where to begin.
Where to Stay:
The Colony Hotel
Identifiable by its pale pink hue, this unmissable boutique hotel is a Palm Beach icon, so much so that in 2020, it was deemed a national landmark. The whimsical color palette extends into the lobby and guest rooms where vibrant, floral wallpaper wraps guests into its tropical paradise. Only steps from the beach, the hotel offers beach butlers to ensure you’re never far from their gourmet culinary and beverage options.
White Elephant Palm Beach
While many East Coast visitors may be familiar with the original White Elephant on Nantucket, this 32-room boutique was designed to provide northerners with familiar quarters when flocking south for the winter. The signature black and white of the brand accents the Mediterranean building that dates back to 1924 and was renovated for the opening of the property in 2020. It’s a quick stroll to the beach, where there are complimentary towels, loungers and toys and there is a courtesy car available to zip you around the neighborhood.
Where to Eat:
There’s nothing better than rounding a group together for a reunion over shared dishes and that’s Buccan’s motto, citing “small plates with big flavor.” The menu advertises inventive American cuisine, but international flavors surely play their part, like in the Hamachi tiradito featuring Peruvian chilies, mojo onion, lotus root and yuzu vinaigrette. Other highlights include the Japanese-native Kumamoto oysters, Rohan confit duck leg, grilled Australian lamb chops and handmade Udon noodles.
Table 26° Palm Beach
Across the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm is Table 26°. Arrive at the nautically themed fine dining restaurant early to catch happy hour and jump ahead of the crowds ordering the limited availability fresh catch of the day (it always sells out!). There’s also a variety of rotating fish specials, labeled under “water” as well as “land” and “field” entrees worthy of a repeat visit.
Where to Drink:
The Living Room at The Colony
Every day around 5 p.m. this casual coffee lounge transitions into a buzzing cocktail hub, where a live Flamenco guitarist plays seven days a week between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mingling is encouraged with the open seating plan and it’s a social scene that’s become synonymous with the area. Signature cocktails are all a play on the hotel’s history, so dive out of your comfort zone and try a Pink Paradise, Spicy Socialite or Monkey Business.
Where to Visit:
It goes without saying that a destination bearing the name “Beach,” means a visit to the ubiquitous sandy shores is a must. Though the eponymous Palm Beach is a starting point, it’s worth venturing to other nearby inlets like the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in West Palm, Lake Worth or Peanut Island, a manmade island with boat–friendly sandbars.
Often referred to as the Rodeo Drive of South Florida, Worth Avenue is the place to see and be seen. With some 250 shops ranging from designer labels to local high-end boutiques, this four-block stretch runs from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean, so you can tackle your shopping and beach lounging in the same day. Realistically, though, dedicate an entire day here for eating and shopping on repeat. Start with lunch at Cafe Via Flora, a gorgeous courtyard locale serving up traditional Italian and strong espresso. Enjoy window shopping past the likes of Chanel, Gucci and Bottega Veneta and make time to stop into regional favorites like Milou, Leggiadro and don’t forget Il Papiro, the only remaining American outpost of the Florentine paper store.
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
When it was finished in 1902, the New York Herald declared that Henry Flagler’s gilded-age Floridian mansion was “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.” Today, the sumptuous 75-room estate is a historic landmark that’s available to tour. Design and history lovers alike will be happy to learn that lots of the original artwork and furniture remain.
A scenic drive across the waterway, West Palm entices with its yacht-lined harbor yet more laid back charm. Clematis is the main street here that really enlivens as the night falls, and on Saturdays, the weekly Farmer’s Market is filled with international cuisine from falafel to frittata and not just flowers but fresh plants to bring home a token of greenery as a reminder of its grand presence here.
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