|Poolside Lanai Suites have private patios or terraces and easy access to the pool.|
If you’re not paying close attention, there’s a good chance of you whizzing right past The Brazilian Court in Palm Beach. Worse, you might not notice the blunder until you hit the Atlantic Ocean. It happened to us. It also was the only bumpy part of our stay.
The hotel is tucked away behind a residential street, and accessible via a semi-circular driveway where young affable attendants heartily welcome you, whether it’s your first time pulling in or you’re just back from a day at the beach.
Once inside, you quickly understand why the hotel’s been a playground for the affluent and Hollywood’s elite since the 1920s. (We hear that Tommy Lee Jones is a regular, while the hotel was also a favorite of Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper.)
The receiving area is compact, slim with dark-wood paneling and warm mustard and red coloring. We loved the tête-à-tête with the front desk, particularly when they told us we’d be staying in the Brando Suite (yes, the one who played Don Corleone), one of the poolside lanai accommodations.
The suite, No. 125, has a residential feel (no card access here, it’s lock-and-key) and a sprawling cozy layout that whispers, “Stay in.” A small foyer leads to an airy and open living room, which, not unlike the interiors of the rest of the hotel, has dark-wood accents and parquet flooring. Homey touches are everywhere—like a small horse sculpture on a sofa-side table, ceramic bowls, tasteful artwork and other bric-a-brac. Off the living room is a small kitchen area with a stocked fridge.
The bedroom is dominated by a plush canopied king bed that is adorned with tassels to give it a Moroccan feel. Tip: The suite is on ground level, so make sure to flip the Provence-style wood shutters down when changing. There are one-and-a-half bathrooms in the suite; the master bath has a separate tub and shower, along with double vanities.
Note: If you’d rather be on a higher level, opt for the Hepburn Suite (many of the suites at the hotel are named after past Hollywood stars), No. 233, which is directly above the Brando Suite. It’s a two-bedroom suite and has a private terrace overlooking the pool. Other winners here are No. 130, a one-bedroom suite with a view of the Candela Courtyard (there is one other courtyard, the Fatio Courtyard, just behind the main entrance; both are filled with a variety of fragrant plants and trees, from alocasia to jasmine), and any of the third-floor studios, which have private terraces and the best views on property. Note: After a six-year body lift, the hotel debuted 80 redesigned suites in 2008 by interior designer Leslie Schlesinger. Result: You can’t go wrong picking any of the renovated rooms, which combine a bygone-era sensibility with the modern style of today. Questions about room types can be directed to the Hotel Manager Leticia Bilotta ([email protected]; 561-366-4300).
|The Pool evokes a true Old Hollywood aura, lined by palm trees and the poolside lanai suites.|
As inviting as our room was, outside, the rectangular pool beckoned. It screams Old Hollywood and feels like the private pool of some mogul’s mansion. Pristine white reclining deck chairs, oversized white umbrellas and overhanging palm trees fill the perimeter. A strategically placed vertical mirror is placed against a foliage-clad wall, finishing off the effect. A hot tub is paces from the pool.
A note about the property: Watch your step. Everywhere tiny—and not so tiny—geckos flail about, giving the hotel a feral feel. We loved it and, on more than one occasion, yelped out in delight as a small green (harmless) lizard ambled in our path.
You’ll no doubt spy one on your way to Café Boulud for dinner. The restaurant, led by James Beard Award-winner Zach Bell, is the first outpost of Boulud’s Upper East Side Manhattan location. A Must: Snag one of the three tables in the front room next to the window. Hint: To do so, contact the restaurant’s General Manager Laurent Chevalier ([email protected]; 561-655-6060). Once there, settle in for a memorable experience. For starters we had the pâté de campagne, which was accompanied perfectly by homemade pickles and artisanal mustards. A warm chestnut-celery velouté also deserves special mention. For entrées, try the wild mushroom risotto or the veal rib steak. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Note: Make sure to order a side of chickpea fries.
Here’s another suggestion: grow your hair out before your stay. The reason? With a Frédéric Fekkai Salon on the grounds, an haute haircut is an experience to remember. The salon is adjacent to the pool area (it’s a very intimate unimposing space) and often visited by Fekkai himself. Hair technicians split their time between New York and the Palm Beach location during peak season. We hear that Bernard Arapoglou is the top stylist. Make sure to book him early. There is only one treatment room, but massages and select spa treatments, such as aromatic herbal wraps and mandarin body buffs, are available. Contact Spa Manager Denise Marino ([email protected]; 561-833-9930).
Once you are glammed up, the next stop is Worth Avenue, which has a striking resemblance to Rodeo Drive. At your disposal is a panoply of high-end shops: Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton—the list is exhaustive. The avenue is only a short walk away, but you can also have one of the helpful staffers drive you there. Even Better: If you are looking for a day at the beach, the hotel will pack up a Jeep with umbrellas, chairs, towels and other beach necessities; once filled, a hotel staffer will drive you to the beach, then pick you up when you are ready to return. It’s a great option for families.
|A Suite Living Room. Eighty suites were redesigned by 2008.|