[NATJA Bronze Prize Winner] There are certain destinations that simply pull you into their world the moment you step out of the car; where you find yourself forgetting any of the stress and headaches from the outside world. Welcome to the world of the Boca Raton Resort & Club… a resort rich in history and traditions, while offering some of the highest levels of amenities and services I’ve seen in some time by a staff eager to not only satisfy the requests and expectations of guests, but to exceed them by leaps and bounds.
I will admit that this resort cannot possibly be fully appreciated in a 24-hour period, but this glimpse into the offerings will leave you wanting to return for an extended vacation; or as many other guests over the years, elect to take full advantage on an ongoing basis by becoming a member of the Club. The resort’s 80-year history and flawless management by the Waldorf Astoria combine to create a heavenly resort destination for the entire family.
To reach the resort, drive past the pristine beaches; through the picturesque town; over the bridges with sights of the many marinas; and onto the vast 365 acres of lush South Florida landscaping. The drive into the resort is an experience all itself. Beyond the gates of the resort, Boca Raton is a destination that has a much more intimate feeling of ‘community’ than many other destinations; where locals and vacationers merge together seamlessly to enjoy this Florida escape. The name Mizner is everywhere around town, so it’s no surprise to learn that this prestigious resort was designed by Addison Mizner himself.
Checking-In: Choosing The Best Room/Suite For You
Another unique feature of this resort are the choices guests have when it comes to accommodations. A total of five very distinctive options offer a variety in terms of budget, location, view, amenities and more. The Tower offers 27 stories of modern rooms and suites; The Cloisters are beautifully refurbished rooms in the historical portion of the hotel; The Boca Bungalows provide a community environment with residential-styled units; The Yacht Club is always a popular choice with sensational views (try to book a room with access to the Commodore Executive Level); and finally my personal favorite, the Beach Club rooms and suites provide the best of all worlds with direct access to the beach and multiple pools. If you’re fortunate enough to get a lower suite with an outdoor lanai, it’s like having a personal poolside bungalow the entire stay…very highly recommended.
Day 1 – Afternoon: The Spa
What better way to unwind after getting checked-in than an afternoon at the spa? One of the larger spas found at resorts today, Spa Palazzo is an oasis of luxury with 44 treatment rooms and over-the-top men’s and women’s locker rooms, lounges and the opulent termes (wet rooms). Inspired by Spain’s popular Alhambra Palace, Spa Palazzo is a palatial sanctuary for the afternoon. If time allows, I would encourage you to allow three-hours for their signature “Renew & Detox” package, which includes an O2 Awakening Facial, Detox Marine Algae Wrap, 50-minute Signature Massage and a Natura Bissé spa gift. Beyond these services, the afternoon must begin with time to enjoy their specialty 50-minute Ritual Bath to receive the full Spa Palazzo experience. If you are looking to have the ultimate afternoon of relaxation, allow time to enjoy the spa’s outdoor pool area that is almost guaranteed to provide you with your very own private courtyard and pool since it’s only available to spa guests. Fully relaxed after four or five hours of pampering, you’ll be ready to further explore the many wondrous surprises waiting to be discovered among this enchanting resort.
Day 1 – Dinner: Lucca
With a host of dining options, Lucca is a perfect solution when wanting a diversity of menu items… all in a beautiful setting overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway. With a modern Mediterranean spin on this inventive Tuscan cuisine, the creative cocktails, and extensive wine list, you will want for nothing while savoring each course of this dining experience. It’s ideal to begin with a few of the antipasti starters, as well as don’t miss out on enjoying one of the wood-fired pizzas to properly begin this culinary escape. (I recommend the Carne pizza for the non-vegans out there) For dinner entrées, Lucca does provide a number of fantastic dishes, but I personally chose the chef’s special of perfectly grilled swordfish and vegetables. Having also seen several of the Bistecca and Lamb Osso Bucco entrees come out of the kitchen, I knew that I would need to have an extended stay the next time to re-visit Lucca on several more occasions.
After dinner, consider a visit to Serendipity for ice cream and coffee; and then complete the evening with a beautiful walk around the grounds of the main hotel. It was only a short ride back to the Beach Club, where the delightful first day was rounded out with a glass of red wine lounging on the lanai. The sweet salty smell of the ocean air and the crashing waves with cool breezes completely melted away any remaining stress I had after the near-perfect day.
Day 2 – Morning: The Resort Golf Experience
There are several places for breakfast while at the resort, but since I was staying at the Beach Club, I chose to venture just upstairs to have the breakfast buffet setup with sensational views out over the pools and beach first thing in the morning. With Toni as my server, there was nothing I needed that early in the morning, as he was always there with coffee refills and a smile to start the day. With my morning caffeine, a delicious omelet and energizing wheatgrass juice enjoyed while taking in the posh beach club atmosphere, I was ready to venture over to the Resort Course, immediately adjacent to the main hotel to tee it up.
While the nicely laid-out locker room and pro shop filled with tempting merchandise are both very enticing, getting through the pro shop and out onto the course was the first priority that morning. With helpful staff at every turn, a short ride over to the practice facility officially got the day started. From the very first tee shot, there’s just something special about this course, and can only describe the entire playing experience as delightful. Being one of the oldest courses in Florida, it has that old-school feel, and is complete with the mature trees and foliage that makes for a scenic round of golf. It’s certainly not a long course, but is guaranteed to keep you on your toes at every shot. After completing the game, I was ready to pick up the souvenir golf shirt and work my way back to Beach Club for an afternoon of doing absolutely nothing.
Day 2 – Afternoon: The Beach Club
Not wanting to acknowledge that my 24-hours at the resort was quickly coming to an end, there was no better place to relax for a few hours than poolside at the Beach Club. This is where you can truly appreciate the level of services and overall exquisite atmosphere of this Resort. I only had a few hours, but elected to take advantage of one of the private cabanas, where lunch could be enjoyed while taking advantage of the Florida sunshine and personable services of the attentive cabana staff. Be sure not to miss the opportunity to enjoy an amazing ice coffee from SNACK, which is next to the fitness center by the main pool.
Whether it is a few hours, or a few days, the Beach Club, and the entire Boca Raton Resort, should be on the shortlist for anyone looking for a charming getaway with a nearly endless list of amenities and services offered to guests with genuine sincerity. The glamorous past and exciting future come together at this iconic Boca Raton property to provide an unforgettable resort experience.