I recently came back from a rather spontaneous trip to Palm Beach. The idea was presented to me a few weeks ago and I was told that I needed to get away. But I couldn't, I replied ... "too much to do." And then I thought about it, what on earth was so important that it couldn't be put on hold for a few days? When was the last time I got away simply for the sake of getting away? When was the last time I had a few days without any responsibility or worry? I can't even begin to remember. And so I said "Let's do it!"
Soon our flights were booked and so was our room at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa. I must admit that I had never before heard of it. I was familiar with The Breakers and The Four Seasons, of course, but not Eau. (Eau is pronounced "Oh" and is the French word for water.) I decided to do a little investigating and was blown away with everything that came up in my search. Eau, it seemed, was something special.
The luxury resort has seen top accolades in such prestigious publications as Forbes, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel Channel, Ocean Drive Magazine, The Robb Report, The Chicago Tribune and American Spa Magazine. Eau describes itself, and quite accurately so, as "Palm Beach re-imagined, a wonderland of the unexpected, playful and indulgent. A world apart where happiness reigns and coveted moments brim with surprises that will leave you breathless. Little wonder, you were always meant for something extraordinary." It is a luxury 5-Star Hotel in every sense of the word, without the pretentiousness and rigidity found in many. There's a laid back ease about Eau making it the perfect destination for just about everyone. Planning a couple's get-away? A Girl's Weekend? A family vacation? Eau caters to all, making each guest feel singularly special.
After a long, raw, cold winter we couldn't wait to dip our feet in the sand, swim in the salt water and soak up the rays!
Upon arrival we were greeted, as all guests are, with a glass of champagne as we waited to sign in at the front desk.
It seemed that there were quite a few from our flight also checking in. They had known about Eau and we hadn't? There was a line and it was slow moving. I was surprised that there was just one person checking us all in. As I looked all around me the hotel certainly had the appearance of a 5-star hotel but the fact that so many of us were on queue was quite contradictory and voiced my observation to my partner. Finally it was our turn to check in. I could have said something but I didn't. I was on vacation. I wasn't in any rush. I had no itinerary, no plans, no agenda. We were just going with the flow. As the concierge welcomed us he apologized profusely for the wait and as a thank you for our patience he upgraded us to a room with an ocean view. Had he heard my earlier comment? I wondered. We were grateful and blown away. At the height of the season we had been upgraded. My champagne suddenly tasted sweeter. This indeed was 5-star service.
After we got the keys to our room, had our champers refilled we headed to our room.
The sprawling hotel is stunning on all accounts. The main level and lobby area boast a very 19th Century, European influence. Oil paintings by British painters lined the hallway walls with assorted Rocco-style and Biedermeier furniture. While the main level had a very old-school Palm Beach vibe to it, the living spaces took on an altoghether different look.
In a partnership with Eau Jonathan Adler put his signature stamp on the hallways, rooms and bathrooms. Those familiar with his fresh and vibrant style as well as his tongue-in-cheek humor will recognize his touch the moment you step out of the elevators.
We marveled at how new and fresh everything looked. We wondered how recently the collaboration took place and were surprised to learn that it was over 5 years ago. There wasn't a scratch, ding, chip, mark anywhere. All accessories, I would discover, were available for purchase - from the lamps, to the pillows to the planters, coffee cups and artwork.
On every bed, greeting every guest, are flip flops and a pool/beach bag in the hotel's trademark aqua and white. This is genius - not only do these make for lovely momentos but serve as great PR once the guests return home. I, in fact, have recommended Eau to several of my friends since my return.
On the second day of our stay we came up from the pool with a note on our bed. There had been a watermain break in the hotel and we were asked not to drink the tap water for 24 hours. Instead, we would be delivered extra bottles of water. A watermain break? We hadn't noticed - service was, as far as we could tell, uninterrupted and seamless.
The bathrooms defined luxury, modernity and practicality. I'm mad about the navy campaign-style vanities.
One of the things we noticed immediately was just how wonderful and fresh everything smelled. This is not at all by accident. The hotel has teamed up with Votivo candles and had a signature scent created just for them. My greatest regret is not picking up one (or two!) before I left.
Although I was on a mini vacation I did have some work to take care of. This chic Adler desk flanked by a whimsical Slim Aarons photo and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean puts my own home office to shame.
This greeted me every morning. I sat on the balcony every morning with my cup of coffee and surrounded by nothing but ocean breezes, the sound of the waves and a mental clarity I just can't get at home.
Small Jonathan Adler touches everywhere...
But enough about the rooms.... we didn't come to Palm Beach to be inside all day!
Outside one finds all sorts of different seating areas... some poolside, some overlooking the beach, some by the lobby, some by the bar and the two restaurants, Breezes and Temple Orange, in addition to the large outdoor fire-pit which was most welcome in the breezy night air.
The hotel also boasts two outdoor pools. One family-friendly while the other is geared to those seeking peace and quiet.
Even though we were traveling without children, we couldn't help but notice how family and kid-friendly the hotel was, with all sorts of activities for a wide range of ages.
Perfect for families and those with the very young, many of the ground level rooms come with their own cabanas.
For the rest of us, the Tranquility Pool!
As you enter the pool area one of several pool-side workers will set your chair for you. There is fresh fruit infused water set up at the towel stand and you can help yourself to as much and as often as you'd like. The poolside bar opens just before noon. You can order up a virgin or booze infused daiquiri to sip whenever you please. We pretty much stuck to the fruit-infused waters. Lunch can be eaten poolside as well. We ate poolside one day and headed to Temple Orange the next. While poolside we ordered the Mahi Mahi lettuce tacos... I think it was perhaps the best fish taco I have ever had!
Above, the Tranquility infinity pool on a cloudy day facing the hotel.
Below, on a sunny day facing the ocean.
I should note that these are saltwater pools. That's right. The healing powers of salt and none of the harsh and harmful chemicals and effects of chlorine. Salt water pools are my favorites!
Our greatest regret, I think, was that we did not take advantage of the spa and all the spa services offered. But with our stay being so short we really just wanted to take advantage of the warm sunny weather. The Spa itself is beyond. With over 42,000 square feet of space, it is truly a playground for adults to unwind and relax. For images and more on the spa click here. Really do click!
Now to the dining. Temple Orange is where we ate breakfast every morning. Careful to keep our diets in check we ordered egg white omelets twice and created our own. They were divine. To die for actually. There's also a buffet which looked absolutely fabulous, but that was more food than we wanted in the morning. We also ate lunch there one day. I ordered the Salade Nicoise which didn't disappoint, and a healthy portion of seared tuna, and my partner ordered the Ratatouille Bowl with slow cooked veggies, freekeh, chickpeas, arugula and tahini. Also divine. The restaurant is open throughout the day. You're on vacation, after all and shouldn't have to adhere to any meal schedule!
Prefer to eat Poolside, then Breeze Ocean Kitchen is where you'll order from... That sublime Mahi Mahi taco was from Breeze.
The folks at Eau describe Stir as "a relaxing place to enjoy the hotel's atmosphere adjacent to the lobby with a light menu available. By night, experience the transformation as Stir becomes the center of evening activity. Choose your favorite libation to enjoy on the oceanfront terrace around the firepit. Enjoy light bites, appetizers, cocktails and specialty coffees alongside live entertainment on the weekends. On Thursday evenings, enjoy our Butcher's Block featuring indulgent selections of meats and cheeses, and on Fridays and Saturdays, treat yourself to fresh sushi at our weekend social." We enjoyed many of their creative libations and glasses of wine both inside by the fireplace and outside by the firepit.
In addition to the fine dining, the myriad of activities offered to children of all ages, the hotel boasts a state of the art fitness center with yoga, pilates, and sculpting classes for guests at a nominal fee for those who make fitness a priority.
Some of the Eau Palm Beach's personal touches include:
Refreshing Welcome – From the moment of arrival, guests will sense a break with convention. Greeted with chilled oshibori towels and Champagne in a freshly revitalized porte-cochère, guests will enter the resort through a lush outdoor living space and into a relaxing environment with a breathtaking view of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.
Gourmet Picnic A Go-Go – A new fleet of custom designed picnic bicycles, created just for Eau Palm Beach by Republic Bicycles, allow guests to take the Eau experience on the road with a gourmet lunch and beach blanket . A map of local bike routes puts a fun spin on seeing the sites of Palm Beach Island.
Mediterranean Bounty – Embracing both the current trend towards healthy, Mediterranean fare and the melting pot of American cuisine, Eau Palm Beach has introduced a new menu at Temple Orange, beginning with a new signature Mediterranean Breakfast, featuring savory Mediterranean-inspired selections, charcuterie, cheeses and fresh fruits.
Beauty Blueprint – The Eau Spa, a 42,000 square foot award-winning glamour oasis at the heart of Eau Palm Beach, will feature the Detox by Design program. This wellness initiative is a personalized three-day wellness trifecta combatting holiday overindulgence and perfecting guest's red-carpet look by combining a gourmet juice program, fitness and meditation instruction and rejuvenating spa therapies.
Private Splashtopia – Guests relax and renew in oversized soaking tubs in a water wonderland guestroom bath experience featuring a tub-side waterproofed "Water Alive" book, soothing bath crystals, bath pillow, tray and signature candle featuring the Palm Beach breeze scent.
Nightly Lobby Turndown – The Eau Palm Beach team takes their role as curators of fun to a new level by setting the tone each evening with a new Lobby Turndown. As the sun sets, the lobby is illuminated over with 100 candles. On Friday and Saturday, guests are offered complimentary Champagne and invited to toast the new Palm Beach lifestyle. Other new events include "Living Room Session" musical performances; weekend nights punctuated by the electric sounds of the hottest DJ's; Asian street food evenings and hand-rolled sushi paired with expertly mixed Sake-tinis.
Where the Cool Kids Are – From a pint-sized theater and rock climbing wall and create-your-own- stuffed animal workshop for Eau Palm Beach's youngest guests to a DJ lab with turntables and mixing equipment, a mini-spa, photo studio and GoPro camera rentals for the hard-to-please teen set, passions are ignited at Aquanuts kids and COAST teen programs.
Our stay at this fabulous luxury resort was all too short. The staff were courteous, pleasant and helpful. There was always someone on hand to assist us with our every need. The rooms are glorious and pristine. The food and beverage were of the highest quality. While we had not hear of Eau Spa and Resort, it is now on our radar and we look forward to our return to take advantage of all they have to offer!
And for you, the best part, prices are very reasonable off season. I have a BIG Birthday is in June... hint-hint! ;)