Southern Hospitality: Amazing Dining Abounds at Palm Beach Hotels
Even if you aren’t lucky enough to be a longtime homeowner in Palm Beach, or to have snagged a residence in the rush of real estate buying that happened in the Sunshine State after the onset of the pandemic, there are countless hotels happy to be your host, and myriad restaurants eager to feed and entertain you. This season, we will keep you up to date with the latest intel and offerings from favorite spots around the county and, occasionally, beyond.
The biggest hotel news is the renaissance of the Boca Resort, which is now called simply The Boca Raton (thebocaraton.com). It was bought by billionaire philanthropist Michael Dell and his MSD Partners, and not only is the iconic resort no longer pink, It has undergone a massive renovation of communal spaces, and a refresh of the guest rooms, along with an overhaul of its more than 10 restaurants.
Gone are Morimoto and Serendipity, but they have been replaced by exciting dining spots, several of which are being conceived and run by New York’s Major Food Group — Carbone, Dirty French, The Lobster Club — and designed by award-winning architect David Rockwell (he has received Emmys and a Tony in addition to national design accolades). Flamingo Grill is a pink and green glamorous take on an American steakhouse located at the golf clubhouse — those who miss the resort’s rosy tones will be happy to see the waitstaff’s pink dinner jackets. Sadelle’s is an outpost of the New York restaurant, a celebration of breakfast items like smoked fish and sticky buns, and this March the group will bring an Italian concept, followed by a Japanese restaurant in April.
The hotel will also open a bakery, Maison Rose, in time for Valentine’s Day; along with MB Supper Club, a salute the Monkey Bar with live entertainment; the fine dining spot Top of the Tower, and a separate fine dining restaurant on top of the Yacht Club, which will exclusively serve that area’s guests.
The Boca Raton has also updated its vast spa and fitness center as well, which offers 50 different classes.
PGA National Resort and Spa (pganational.com) has also also undergone a transformation — this one to the tune of $100 million, including fully renovating rooms, suites and public spaces. There are two new restaurants: The Butcher’s Club, a modern steakhouse with mid-century touches from chef Jeremy Ford, who was a Top Chef winner; and Honeybelle, an all-day dining room from three-time James Beard award nominee Lindsay Autry.
The Colony (thecolonypalmbeach.com), has a new hipness to it. Locals and visitors have always loved the colorful and ideally situated hotel, but the addition of Swifty’s made the pool scene even more fun, and this season, classes from fitness guru Isaac Boots coupled with the opening of the Pink Paradise cafe brought it to a new level.
The Four Seasons (fourseasons.com/palmbeach), which was fully overhauled in 2019, was closed to the public last year because it was privately reserved during the pandemic, and reopened last April. Florie’s a Mediterranean-inspired dining room by chef Mauro Colagreco — who earned three Michelin stars at Mirazur, his restaurant in Menton — is whipping up such offerings as heirloom tomato and seasonal fruit carpaccio; local burrata with citrus salad, honey vinaigrette, pistachio and kuri squash; and lamb shank with sweet potatoes, dates, walnuts and black sesame sauce. For foodie guests who are inspired, the hotel is offering classes in cooking and wine as well as chocolate tasting.
The best place to get high tea in Palm Beach is at The Chesterfield (chesterfieldpb.com), where it’s become a tradition. Loose leaves and infusions along with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones and pastries can be enjoyed in the hotel’s library, the outdoor courtyard or the famous Leopard Lounge.
Calabrian-born chef Ron Rosa has opened a branch of his popular Greenwich, CT Italian restaurant, Polpo, in the luxe Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa (eaupalmbeach.com). Apart from grilled polpo, of course, the menu features whole branzino and Dover sole filleted tableside, as well as local fish, and “angry” lobster cooked with white wine and hot peppers.
There is a lot of action in Delray Beach. The Opal Grand (opalgrand.com), which finished its renovation this year, has added a Tammy Fender spa, the holistic guru’s only other location outside of her West Palm Beach flagship. It is compete with a salt room and such treatments as Tammy’s signature facial, a body scrub, and Thai massage. The hotel has also premiered a stylish Mediterranean restaurant, Drift, featuring such dishes as oven-baked oysters and ora king salmon a la plancha with ancient grains, braised greens and roasted eggplant puree.
The Ray Hotel (therayhotel.com), a tropical modern boutique, opened this past fall with three restaurants and a fourth on the way from star chef Akira Back. Ember Grill, a chic modern American spot is already a hit, Stingers is an all-day cafe, while Rosewater rooftop lounge offers casual global cuisine from sushi to lobster salad. As befitting it’s location in the Pineapple Grove arts district, it has a collection of paintings and sculptures scattered through the public spaces and on the grounds. For the sports-oriented clientele, there is a fitness center, daily workout classes and personal training available, along with surf and paddle board rentals and lessons.
Crane’s Beach House in Delray (cranesbeachhouse.com) has transformed from a casual beachy spot to a wellness escape. Guests can book such services as deep tissue massage and meditation in the room or the property’s gardens, and the hotel will arrange transport to the local Bella Reina Spa for facials, body scrubs and manicures.
Similarly named Meso Beach House (mesorestaurants.com), an offshoot of the Mediterranean restaurant in Rye, NY, has opened in Delray with such dishes as charred prawns; local wahoo crudo with gooseberry, citrus, pickled chilies and olive oil; and spaghetti with sea urchin and lemon zest. The waterfront location is a perfect sunset perch.
Some of the most spectacular rooms in the area can be found at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (marriott.com/singer-island), an all-suite resort just a hop from Palm Beach island. This season, the resort has introduced an oceanfront dining experience, orchestrated by the hotel’s chef, Jeffrey Armusik, who presides over the property’ s signature restaurant, 3800 Ocean. Sipping Champagne on the sand and indulging in his four-course feast is ideal for a festive celebration seating up to 12, or for a romantic couple’s meal.
West Palm Beach is jumping and people from the island are flocking over the bridge to places like Elisabetta’s (elisabettas.com) which has a vast patio and serves up a wide array of homemade pastas, as well as wood-fired shrimp and grilled Australian lamb chops with chili oil.
The Ben (thebenwestpalm.com) which opened in West Palm in 2020, has introduced book butlers, who supply guests with lists of current and classic titles and deliver a book of choice to the room on a silver platter with a custom-designed, tasseled bookmark.
Waterstone Resort and Marina in Boca (waterstoneboca.com), where every room has a balcony and water view, was just purchased by Boston-based Rockpoint Group, and has opened a new restaurant that allows diners to drive their boats right up to the entrance. SeaSpray is focused on local seafood with a creative flair, serving up mahi Reuben sandwiches, burrata with blood orange, hazelnuts, fennel and orange oil. Save room for campfire s’mores.
DC chef Jeff Tunks opened a buzzy new restaurant in Boca. Corvina (corvinabocaraton.com), which has large indoor and outdoor bars and a salt water aquarium, focuses on local catch, but also has a sushi bar and butcher’s cuts for the carnivores.
Fans of Laurent Tourondel’s Sag Harbor restaurants will be happy to hear the founder of BLT, and current owner of the LT brand, opened the oceanfront DUNE (dunebylt.com) in Fort Lauderdale this fall. Alfredo Paredes, former creative director of Ralph Lauren, designed the space, and Tourondel’s menu will include a selection of nigiri as well as cooked dishes like a crispy parmesan soufflé, grilled colossal prawns with caponata, and organic chicken diablo.