How to Vacation Like a Real Housewife in Palm Beach, Florida
We know there can be no summer without winter, no warmth without cold, but forgive us for thinking that perhaps the lesson doesn’t need to be learned for the entirety of November through April. Maybe, to quote Frozen, the snow does bother you, anyway. Enter: Palm Beach, Florida. Cocktails, pastel architecture, elegant interiors, the Atlantic Ocean. What more could you want? Maybe the chance to mingle with a Real Housewife? Well, Palm Beach legendarily offers that opportunity as well. Whether you’re planning a family retreat a la Tinsley Mortimer or a girls trip for one a la Countess LuAnn (preferably with less legal intervention), we’ve got you covered in our guide to the quintessential Florida resort town.
While you’re vacationing like a Real Housewife, why not reenact a Slim Aarons photograph come to life or kick back in a setting that would befit the artwork of Gray Malin? There’s no shortage of luxurious options for the decadent traveler, whether it’s the Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa or the iconic pink hues of The Colony Hotel.
For everyone traveling for the Instagram likes, the pool at The Brazilian Court is just the thing to send your friends back home into a downward spiral of envy. (The steakhouse is very good too, but more on that later). But for those who truly want to see how the other half lives, look no further than The Breakers. The estate once held the private residence of Henry Flagler, though the oil tycoon established a hotel on the property in 1896. It has been a Palm Beach institution ever since, a one-stop shop for date night, cocktails, and the notorious Palm Beach pastime of people-watching.
Of course, if you’re planning on spending the majority of your budget poolside (or beachside… or at happy hour), then Airbnb offers gorgeous homes for rent that, especially when split between you and your friends, are far more affordable than many traditional hoteling alternatives.
What to Do
You may as well dress the part (the part, in case you couldn’t tell, requires a fondness for prints and pastels), so when in Palm Beach, do as the locals do, and shop on Worth Avenue. Truly, any boutique on Worth Avenue is worth a visit, though we recommend going fully native with a visit to Lilly Pulitzer and Stubbs & Wootton.
If your idea of wellness is centered more around outdoor activity than retail therapy, you can rent a boat, sign up for a fishing charter, spend a day exploring Peanut Island, or cruise up the gorgeous Intracoastal Waterway to the dockside bars in Jupiter. Animal lovers should visit Intracoastal Park — if you’re lucky, you might even see a manatee in the wild. If you’re traveling with a regular visitor or resident — and lucky enough to secure a guest invitation — the Sailfish Club and the Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club are amongst the swankiest clubs in the country, so be sure to practice your G&T beforehand (that’s golf and tennis, not gin and tonics — though both come in handy).
Though LuAnn De Lesseps and Tinsley Mortimer legendarily fought over whether or not West Palm Beach counts as part of the real Palm Beach, for our travel guide, we’d be remiss not to include several staples in West Palm. Downtown West Palm Beach transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays, so if you’re visiting in December, be sure to check out the nightly Snowfall on the Square (not to mention the mansions adorned with Christmas lights across all the Palm Beaches). Another must-do during the most wonderful time of the year? Popping into the Christmas-themed pop-up bar Miracle on Rosemary for a drink (or two).
Where to Eat & Drink
Speaking of holiday cheer, you can enjoy festive cuisine and décor at Galley, Hilton West Palm Beach’s signature restaurant. But even if you’re visiting once the festive season is over, you can still get unique dishes any time of year. Go off-menu and put in an order for “The Undecided,” a top-secret dessert that is half-brownie, half-cookie, and served on a cast-iron skillet. Who says it needs to be December for you to treat yourself?
And the Galley isn’t the only restaurant in town with a hidden menu item that’s as sinful as it is a local secret: The fried chicken & waffles at The Regional in West Palm Beach is an off-menu brunch special put together by Top Chef alum Lindsay Autry. If you’re trying to begin your day in a slightly healthier manner, the vegan café Island Bee is just what the (green juice) doctor ordered. Hullabaloo is another brunch option; it’s also a lively choice for drinks and dinner later on in the day, as its outdoor seating in downtown West Palm Beach makes it a perfect place to see and be seen.
Grab a sandwich for lunch at Palm Beach Grill or Buccan (the latter of which also boasts delectable small plates for sharing). Plan for dinner at the legendary Ta-boo on Worth Avenue to restore yourself after that retail sweat, or make a reservation at Café Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel (the restaurant has an outpost in New York City as well).
HMF at the Breakers is another iconic dining landmark in Palm Beach with a glamorous, old-school ambiance that’s perfect for drinks and dinner… and after-dinner drinks. And who says just because you’re in a glamorous city you can’t act like it’s spring break every now and again? If you’re looking to hit the town, you can’t go wrong with any bar on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach — for New Yorkers who’re missing home, there’s appropriately enough an extension of the Upper East Side institution Dorrian’s in West Palm Beach. Finally, Cucina Palm Beach is legendary for late-night.
What are your favorite winter getaways? Tag us in your go-to spots on Instagram @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)
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