AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PALM BEACH COUNTY
Explore the glamorous social epicentre of Florida’s Riviera.
Also known as The Palm Beaches, this glorious vacation wonderland stretches 75.6 kilometres along the shimmering Atlantic Ocean coast and embraces nearly 40 cities and towns from Highland Beach in the south to Jupiter and Tequesta to the north.
Palm Beach County is a sporting mecca, a shopping Shangri-la and a culinary Garden of Eden. Not to mention the glamorous social epicentre of Florida’s Riviera, which draws the rich, the famous and the powerful. The area also embraces a staggering cultural scene with more than 200 venues, ranging from the world-class Kravis Center for the Performing Arts to grassroots displays such as Art in Public Places in Boynton Beach and CANVAS, a series of murals in various communities including West Palm Beach and Lake Worth.
But, how can we find the treasures and enjoy a spectrum of price points? Here are some insiders’ tips to the vast and varied playground of Palm Beach County.
WHERE TO SHOP
When in the Town of Palm Beach, look no further than the charming, debonair Rick Rose, author of Palm Beach: The Essential Guide to America’s Legendary Resort Town. He is a historian of posh Worth Avenue and the official tour guide of the famed street.
Everyone who is anyone has shopped on Worth Avenue, including First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Melania Trump and show biz stars Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett and Elton John. Worth Avenue boutiques sell designer clothes and fine jewels, but there are also treasures like the luxe new shop, Raptis Rare Books.
Nearby, the Royal Poinciana Plaza has been thoroughly refurbished to showcase its exclusive boutiques such as Hermès and Saint Laurent. The Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy holds sociable tastings and has a great selection starting at US$40–$50.
West Palm Beach is rapidly emerging as a stylish lifestyle enclave. The new-in-2017 Warehouse District is a cluster of varied, vibrant enterprises such as Kofski Antiques, Grandview Public Market and Elizabeth Avenue Station, a delightful collection of artisans and retailers. Steam Horse Brewing Co. is opening soon.
WHERE TO DINE
The après-sun hot spot is the dazzling 1000 North in Jupiter, a steak-seafood restaurant and private club driven by an all-star team that includes NBA legend Michael Jordan and PGA star Ernie Els.
1000 North is a grand mansion—and I do mean grand—overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and the Jupiter Lighthouse with sunset views and indoor and terrace dining. Patrons enjoy valet parking and superb service, plus a menu of upscale modern Americana cuisine such as luscious USDA prime steaks, she-crab soup, lobster risotto, rack of lamb or Dijoncrusted prime rib.
On the Island of Palm Beach, the Buccan Group operates a trio of exciting contemporary restaurants: Buccan, a modern Mediterranean-american grill; Imoto (little sister), an intimate, Japanese jewel; and Grato, a buzzy Italian trattoria. These are smash hits on the culinary scene and each one has a happy hour with well-priced cocktails and appetizers.
For tantalizing bites, the West Palm Beach Food Tour alights at 13 restaurants for delicacies such as ahi tuna tostada at The Blind Monk or duck confit ravioli at Hullabaloo.
WHAT TO DO
Palm Beach County is home to 160 golf courses, including PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens where fairways and greens were designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Tickets to February’s celebritystudded Honda Classic start at US$20, and children are admitted free for fireworks, concerts and world-class golf.
Spa & Wellness Month in October is a wellness fest of discounted services in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Among the 20 or more participants are The Spa at The Breakers, The Spa at PGA National Resort and Si Spa at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island.
The Palm Beach International Polo season, January through April, features the spectacle of fearless riders astride galloping horses. The US$10 admission offers a world of celebrity-spotting, food, bars, shopping, a kids’ zone and the treasured half-time ceremony of divot stomping.
WHERE TO STAY
Pretty and pink, the aristocratic Colony Hotel recently marked 70 years of superior hospitality with renovations, new features such as bicycles and a lively, fresh look that dances with tropical colours. This beauty is steps from Worth Avenue and a block from the Atlantic Ocean. The Colony is a landmark, renowned for the Royal Room Cabaret and Polo Steaks & Seafood. Friday nights are fabulous Motown parties, with no cover charge.
Reach out, I’ll be there.
TOP LEFT: A sculpture by Isamu Noguchi at The Society of the Four Arts in West Palm Beach. The Society of the Four Arts BOTTOM LEFT: In 2017, the landmark Colony Hotel marked 70 years of superior Palm Beach hospitality with new features and major renovations. The Colony Hotel Palm Beach BELOW: A signature bowl at The Poke Lab in the new Grandview Public Market in West Palm Beach. The Poke Lab
TOP RIGHT: The international Polo Club in Wellington offers social glamour and equestrian thrills. Palm Beach International Polo BOTTOM: Author-historian Rick Rose is the official tour guide along posh Worth Avenue. Missy Janes