Palm Beach, Florida
The Proposition: This classic Spanish Mediterranean-style hotel is practically a South Florida institution. A 2008 renovation freshened the 80 rooms and suites (some bearing the names of famous guests like Hepburn, Astaire, and Brando), but the hotel still offers old-world charm in spades. It's also home to cuisine by world-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud, and a Frédéric Fekkai salon and spa. Prices start at $399/night.
Palm Beach, aka “America’s Riviera,” is a 16-mile-long barrier island 65 miles north of Miami that’s blessed with breezy and mild South Florida temperatures. Extravagant estates abound, and the Brazilian Court was designed to evoke a private Palm Beach residence, with a library of books written by former guests, an entertainment room with five televisions, and lush courtyards filled with cozy nooks for quiet contemplation or canoodling couples. (Back in the day, the manager confided, the hotel was a popular place for high-profile extramarital affairs.)
The swimming pool, surrounded by majestic palms and linen-covered chaises, was the site of a recent Victoria’s Secret photo shoot.
Brazilian Court is ideally situated just minutes from the beach, which is open to the public, and chichi Worth Avenue, which is lined with dozens of high-end shops, galleries, and eateries, including the iconic Ta-boo restaurant (www.taboorestaurant.com), which maintains that it invented the Bloody Mary at the request of one very hungover Barbara Hutton. While you can easily walk the distance, guests can opt to be chauffeured by the hotel’s BMW, which is totally in keeping with the posh and pampered mindset of Palm Beach. (www.thebraziliancourt.com)
Do: Pan’s Garden
It’s just a half-acre oasis, but it’s definitely worth strolling through to see the delightful bronze statue of Pan of Rohallion, mosaics, magnolia trees, and about 300 other examples of native Floridian flora. (www.palmbeachpreservation.org)
Dine: Café Boulud
Dine indoors or out at Chef Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant on such delights as wood-roasted lamb shoulder stuffed with squash or Scottish salmon with black mission figs in a balsamic bordelaise sauce. Afterward, head over to the lounge area for live entertainment on Thursday and Friday nights from 9 pm to midnight.