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Royal Poinciana Plaza


Palm Beach Perspective

By Charlotte Otremba and Luis R. Rigual

Royal Poinciana Plaza photo courtesy of Royal Poinciana Plaza


It’s winter, which means Palm Beach awakens from its summer nap—just in time for a quick weekend escape. Here’s what’s new since last season.

With a history that dates back to 1896 and a guest register that links it to the 20th century’s most prominent families, The Breakers is by far Palm Beach’s main attraction. Setting foot in the hotel’s 200-foot-tall main lobby, with its intricate ceiling frescoes and crystal chandeliers, is witnessing what unapologetic luxury is all about. There’s a lot to love about this tribute to Villa Medici: Florida’s oldest 18-hole golf course, nine dining establishments, 11 boutiques, 10 tennis courts, four pools, a spa offering Guerlain treatments and 538 rooms awaiting check-in. The best way to process this five-star spectacle is during Sunday brunch at The Circle, an elaborate feast of pates, beef tenderloin, Alaskan crab legs and Champagne with just the right amount of pomp and circumstance. Rates from $659 per night, 1 S. County Road, 561.655.6611

As picture-perfect as shopping gets, Worth Avenue (561.659.6909) remains Palm Beach’s epicenter of retail excess. November brings a new boutique from Lilly Pulitzer, the women’s resort brand synonymous with prints and pastels. Not far from there, Royal Poinciana Plaza (340 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, 561.440.5441) is smaller, but no less impressive with Saint Laurent (561.614.3900), an Assouline (561.791.6061) book shop that’s ideal for gifts and a mammoth outpost of Hermès (561.514.0288).

There’s no shortage of dining options in Palm Beach, but Café Boulud remains one of its most consistent. Menu staples like the peanut-charred duck breast don’t hurt. This month, the eatery is bringing back its wine dinners. On Oct. 4, wines from the Alsace region of France will be paired with foie gras Mirabelle, pheasant and savoy cabbage salad, red wine-braised monkfish Matelotte and quince tatin. On Oct. 14, the evening belongs to Domaine du Castel, the Israeli vintner widely credited with launching that country’s wine revolution. On the menu for that supper? Stuffed vegetables, spice-braised barramundi, wood-roasted leg of lamb and vanilla mousse with jasmine cream for dessert. $115 per person, The Brazilian Court, 301 Australian Ave., 561.655.6060

Once industrialist Henry Flagler’s winter retreat, the Flagler Museum is a Gilded Age testament to how the other half lived (and oh, how well they lived). The proper way to see the place is by joining one of its guided tours, which offer insight not just about the property but also juicy tidbits about Mr. and Mrs. Flagler’s marriage. This month, the museum opens a new season with an exhibition that’s right up its alley. Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography (Oct. 16 to Jan. 6) offers up 74 dramatic black-and-white portraits of celebrities, actors and fashion models from the 1920s and ’30s, most of which have rarely been exhibited. Among the notables featured are Fred Astaire, Noël Coward and Gloria Swanson, the kind of folks who might have joined the Flaglers for a weekend of gin and shenanigans back during the property’s glory days. 1 Whitehall Way, 561.655.2833

With signature cupcakes, Champagne upon check-in and a garden where cocoon-like hammock chairs hang above a shallow pond, the 42,000-square-foot Eau Spa does right by “me” time. This soul asylum (in nearby Manalapan) features the kinds of amenities that instantly denote serious pampering, including his and hers DIY scrub bars and custom pedicure thrones. For the ultimate in indulgence, book The Perfect Day ($675), six and a half hours that include a 30-minute body scrub, 90-minute massage, 60-minute facial, manicure, pedicure and blowout, plus a complimentary bottle of bubbly and 10 percent off any retail purchases. 100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan, 561.540.4960

When a free-spirited Lilly Pulitzer opened her first store on Via Mizner, just off Worth Avenue in 1959, it was to sell fruit juice, not clothes. In need of dresses to hide the stains her oranges and grapefruits were producing, she designed simple shift dresses in bright, colorful patterns made of simple cotton. As more friends and customers began requesting “Lillys” instead of fruit juice, the iconic dress business was born. Sixty years later, Lilly Pulitzer is now a preppy-chic staple in closets from Chicago to Palm Beach. Better still, Lilly Pulitzer is about to open a flagship company store on Worth Avenue. “It’s an exciting time for the brand to be returning to Worth Avenue and celebrating our 60th anniversary,” says Michelle Kelly, CEO of Lilly Pulitzer, adding “it certainly feels like a homecoming.” 240 Worth Ave.