Now that we’re grown, with careers and families of our own, my sister Karen and I don’t get away much for girl time. Sure, our families see each other as often as we can living states away, and we treasure that time together. But when it comes to a girls’ getaway, just the two of us, well that hardly ever happens.
Fortunately, the stars aligned and we recently had the chance to spend nearly a week relaxing, recharging and reveling in the warm sunshine and glamour found in Palm Beach County in South Florida. Even more fortunately for us, the MyPalmBeachSummer.com campaign had just begun. We, naturally, opted for Affordable Luxury. After all, who doesn’t want to live in the lap of luxury?
For the first few nights, we stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. Somehow, we lucked into an ocean view room on the Club Level and made ourselves right at home. When we weren’t in our comfortably spacious room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, we found ourselves pool- and beachside. I’d be hard-pressed to think of anything more luxurious than sipping cocktails in such a beautiful setting.
Oh wait. I just did!
Our room on the Club Level gave us complimentary access to the Club Lounge, with its effortlessly chill vibe created by New York City interior designer Eric Villency. Inside the lounge, champagne and wine flow, and the concierges were more than happy to whip up cocktails, just for us, while we nibbled on bites for breakfast, lunch, mid-day snacks, hors d’oeuvres and late-night dessert selections. My favorite feature, though, had to be the giant jar of Smarties just outside the doors. Let’s just say I indulged just a bit!
Karen and I indulged in a little pampering at Eau Spa and made appointments for pedis. What’s best about booking a treatment at Eau is that we could enjoy all-day access to the spa’s “water playground.” Day beds skirt the Self-Centered Garden, the perfect place to soak in the sun’s rays, and we couldn’t resist swaying in the hanging chairs over the shallow pool. We could’ve stayed all day.
Oh wait. We did!
With all of the luxury we found at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, we weren’t keen to leave. For any reason. Fortunately for us, we didn’t need to. When it came to dining (and we did eat outside of the Club Lounge!), restaurants at the Ritz are incredible. We particularly enjoyed the casual elegance of Temple Orange, and had the pleasure to sit outside in the warm, seaside air.
When at last it was time to leave, we made our way up A1A, past some of the most incredible homes we’d ever seen. The Atlantic to the east and the palatial estates to the west made for quite a dramatic and scenic drive.
We’d made our way to the Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club for lunch at Café Boulud. Karen and I instantly fell in love with the charm and exclusivity of Brazilian Court. It was instantly clear why celebrities and dignitaries alike choose an intimate, apartment-like setting when in Palm Beach.
And then there’s Café Boulud. It’s no wonder why Chef Daniel Boulud chose the ambience of the Brazilian Court for his Palm Beach restaurant – the setting is outdone only by the incredible selections found on the menu. What a meal we had! I can only imagine the success that Chef’s Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud will find this summer (open for dinner July 3 – September 2, 2013).
Karen and I had a few more nights to spend in Palm Beach, so we went for something very different from the oceanfront Ritz and stayed at the PGA National Resort & Spa. Instead of sunsoakers, we found ourselves amidst fairway-walkers. Neither of us plays golf, but we were thrilled to make ourselves comfortable at the Spa at PGA National. In addition to myriad treatments, the spa features Waters of the Word mineral pools – each has a different mineral that benefits the body in a different way.
It was here Karen and I wiled away the day, soaking in the rejuvenating minerals of the pools and sipping cocktails. Not a bad way to spend a day at all!
With all of the lounging and relaxing and indulging, we decided it was time to do something active. And so, the morning we were returning to our “real lives,” we made our way to Jupiter Outdoor Center for some stand up paddling and kayaking. It was just the two of us and we had a blast with Rick as he guided us through Jupiter Inlet. The wind proved to be a bit challenging, but we made it without falling in – and our muscles got quite the awakening!
Karen and I had such fun relaxing, recharging and reveling in the warm sunshine and glamour found in Palm Beach County. And now that we know it’s so affordable, we can’t wait to do it again!
Susan B. Barnes is a travel writer and photographer. A proud Army brat, she was born on a military base in Belgium and has been on the go ever since. While Susan has traveled across the United States and into Canada, she has also managed to visit such European cultural hot spots as Paris, London, Ireland, Athens and Rome, and has even explored the second largest reef in the world off the coast of Belize and the cloud forest of Venezuela, among many other exotic locales. Having learned to rock climb in Yosemite National Park, surf in La Jolla and swim with whale sharks in Mexico, she’s always looking forward to her next adventure. Be sure to follow Susan on Twitter to keep up with her latest adventures @travlin_girl.