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When the best holiday locations in Florida are discussed, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale often take the cake, but Palm Beach more than holds its own. It could be its relative obscurity that lends it a slightly more stately and dignified air than its rowdy neighbors to the south. Its hotels feature a high percentage of heritage buildings, classic architectural elements and the best in old-fashioned service. There's an abundance of upscale shopping malls, elegant dining experiences and lively nightlife offerings to tempt visitors away from its more famous competitors, as well as beautiful beaches, which feature the same white sands, sparkling blue waters and warm tropical climate that attracts countless visitors to this stunning corner of the Sunshine State. Read on for the hotels you just can't miss in Palm Beach.
Best Overall: The Breakers
Set within 140 acres of meticulously landscaped grounds and facing the pristine sands of its exclusive private beach, The Breakers is the epitome of elegance and luxury. The magnificent Italian Renaissance architecture of the historic building houses boutique shops, nine restaurants, two fitness centers and a full-service spa. Large open suites are adorned with shades of white and blue, which perfectly complement the sand and sea on view from floor-to-ceiling windows. Alternatively, opulent bungalows with terrace views over the pool and beach are outfitted with teak-trimmed furnishings and comfy day lounges and offer dedicated concierge service. Guests can relax beside five beautiful oceanfront pools, play tennis, soak in one of four whirlpool hot tubs or enjoy a round of golf on two 18-hole courses. A half-mile of private beach offers gleaming white sands and numerous water activities, including snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Most memorable of all, sunset catamaran cruises take guests on a scenic tour of Palm Beach in style and comfort.
Best Budget: Hotel Biba
The historic Hotel Biba provides an authentic, comfortable and luxurious boutique hotel experience for less. The warm earthy ochre tones of the hotel's visage — framed by the ubiquitous palms trees — presents a stunning example of Bermuda Vernacular architecture, which has resulted in the building being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, the welcoming lobby and large clean rooms are styled in a bright minimalist theme, with white furniture and color schemes lending an airy atmosphere. The secluded pool courtyard is lined with attractive stone tiles and edged with colorful flowers, and the large pool is the perfect place to keep cool in the warm Florida sun. A separate shaded courtyard with simple wooden furnishings is a great area to relax with a book amid an abundance of trees and shrubs. The cozy and cheerful hotel bar keeps guests content with fresh Colombian coffee, Cuban pastries and a free continental breakfast.
Best Boutique: The Colony Hotel
Decked out in bold flamingo-pink hues, The Colony hotel soars above palms that line the entrance archways. Inside, the eclectic theme continues in classic South Florida style, with vibrant, clashing colors creating a kitschy and eclectic atmosphere throughout. The richly decorated lobby sets the tone with plush, wavy palm-frond-patterned sofas, a green glass chandelier suspended above a stone fireplace and a giant clam shell centerpiece. The quirky theme continues in guestrooms with vintage décor; in the restaurant with blue-and-white checkered-print tablecloths; and outside with bright flowers in ornate flowerpots lining the swanky hotel pool. Poolside snacks and cocktails are available at the casual and colorful Bimini Bar. The hotel is notable for its classic and sophisticated entertainment hosted in the exclusive Royal Room. There, a varied line-up of entertainers provide musical and cabaret performances in an intimate setting.
Best Oceanfront: Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
At Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, guests sprawled along the sparkling freshwater pool are provided with Evian spritzes and chilled towels while luxuriating in poolside lounges and cabanas. Private surfing lessons, snorkeling expeditions and kayak tours can all be arranged through the helpful concierge service. Guests can keep active with a variety of exercise equipment and social fitness classes in the modern and well-appointed gym and have fun in the sun with beach volleyball and tennis court facilities. Stylish and fashionable beach attire and accessories can be purchased at the Swell shopping boutique while the AB&G restaurant offers fresh local cuisine, including its signature salmon and tuna chirashi, as well as an extensive beer, wine and cocktail menu. Guests can dine within the stately columns of the elaborate restaurant, or in the picturesque dining courtyard, surrounded by coastal vines, sea-grape palms and sweeping Atlantic Ocean vistas.
Best for Singles: Hilton West Palm Beach
Gazing out over blue Atlantic waters and just steps from the bustling action of downtown Palm Beach, the Hilton West Palm Beach is ideally situated. Here, guests can enjoy tranquil days in the Florida sun as well as fun-filled evenings exploring the nightlife of surrounding streets. The expansive sun deck adjacent to the palm-lined pool is the perfect place to mingle with fellow guests while catching some rays or enjoying a cocktail from the poolside Galley bar. The central location offers spectacular views of city and surf through the airy room's large windows. In-room amenities include a minibar, flat-screen TV and marble bathroom. The modern gym is filled with aerobic and resistance training equipment and offers views onto the pool courtyard. Visitors can dine on fresh seasonal fare at the Manor restaurant, and friendly and personable staff are on hand to provide recommendations as to the best bars, cocktail lounges and nightclubs in Palm Beach.
Best for Romance: The Chesterfield Palm Beach
The traditions, comforts and intimacy of an English bed and breakfast suffuse this boutique hotel built in the understated grandeur of traditional European architecture. Guests are greeted by warm and personable staff bearing freshly-baked cookies and a smooth glass of sherry. Vintage décor with unique personal touches lend each of the plush rooms individuality and character. The impressive Leopard Lounge restaurant features elaborately detailed ceilings, gleaming dark lacquer furnishings and a baby grand piano in the corner. In the cozy courtyard, guests dine under gentle light surrounded by leafy palm fronds, with views of the pool illuminated by lanterns. Dinner can be followed by sophisticated cocktails and premium spirits at the marble-top bar. For a classic and romantic experience, a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce will escort guests to landmarks and attractions in the local area.
Best for Business: PGA National Resort & Spa
As one might expect, the stately PGA National Resort & Spa is nestled on rolling golf greens, with five 18-hole courses providing the ultimate in quality championship fairways. Colleagues, partners and associates can retire after a relaxing round to the colonial-style clubhouse and Ironwoods Steak & Seafood to discuss business over succulently grilled steaks and an impressive wine selection. With 15 indoor meeting rooms, as well as an assortment of pavilions, event terraces and gardens, the PGA National can host engagements and conferences of any size, from private boardroom meetings to events of up to 1,190 guests within the grandiose ballroom. Audio-visual equipment and technicians are available to ensure sleek and efficient presentations impress attendees. Events can be fully catered with gourmet eats distributed by professional and attentive staff, and afterwards, guests can relax in the large hotel pool or enjoy a variety of health, beauty and massage treatments available at the relaxing resort spa.
Best Luxury: The Brazilian Court Palm Beach
With wooden balconies, a terracotta shingle roof and marigold walls embracing a fountained courtyard, the Brazilian Court Palm Beach evokes the luxurious charm of a traditional Spanish villa. Carved mahogany furnishings and exposed ceiling timbers add to the air of rustic elegance and comfort, while the marble baths and walk-in showers allow for indulgent pampering. French doors open onto furnished terraces facing the lush gardens and tranquil pool with plentiful lounges and sun umbrellas. Chic Café Boulud serves gourmet French cuisine such as steak tartare and pumpkin veloute in a sophisticated dining room and refined outdoor terrace, and the Frédéric Fekkai salon provides hair styling, manicures, facial cleanses and a range of other beauty and body care services. The concierge is permanently on hand to facilitate the needs and desires of guests, including personalized chauffer service to private beach retreats and impeccable in-room dining service.
Best for Families: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
At Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, guestrooms are swathed in a calming palette of cream and blue and full-length glass doors lead onto furnished balconies that face an expansive pool courtyard. Cheerful oceanfront cabanas line the generous hotel pool and sun lounges dot the private beach area. A range of water-based activities offers fun for the whole family. The interactive kids' zone keeps children entertained in an underwater-themed adventure playground while parents can play tennis or attend yoga and pilates classes in the fitness center. The lavish Eau Spa is an opulent oasis of tranquillity and indulgence, where guests can relax with champagne on curved marble benches, soak under rainfall showers within the deep plunge pools or laze about in plush cabanas in the serene courtyard. Guests can choose to dine on butter poached lobster in the glow of candles and mirrors in the Angle restaurant, enjoy Mediterranean flavors on the scenic dining terrace or snack on salads, tacos and gourmet sandwiches on the casual beachside sun deck.