Palm Beach

[ CULTURE | SHOPPING | HOTELS ]
[ SCHOOLS | RESTAURANTS ]


Palm Beach: around the world it means beauty. The aura and mystique of Palm Beach are renowned all over the world. For more than a century, the island has been the favorite "winter playground" of high-society socialites and celebrities. This legendary tropical paradise continues to lure the international jet set with its palm-fringed beaches, opulent resorts and lifestyle.

It all started in February, 1878, when the Spanish brigantine Providencia, bound from Trinidad to Cadiz with a cargo of coconuts, washed ashore on an unknown island. The strewn coconuts propagated and caused a wild growth of palm trees-hence the name "Palm Beach."

But it was Henry Morrison Flagler who is credited with launching the legend. Flagler's dream was to build a grand hotel for the passengers of his Florida East Coast Railroad, and he selected Palm Beach. In 1894, his Royal Poinciana Hotel became the largest resort hotel in the world and reputedly the largest wooden structure ever built. Flagler's own marble mansion, "Whitehall" (1901), is now a museum bearing his name; it is open to the public for a fascinating look at turn-of-the-century life in the tropics.

The legend of Palm Beach lives not only in its historical landmarks, but also in the architectural wonders of its contemporary mansions. From traditional Mediterranean-style homes designed by Addison Mizner to sprawling oceanfront compounds, Palm Beach real estate is among the most prized in the world.

The island's cosmopolitan population, which swells from 10,000 in the summer to 25,000 in the winter, has inspired a profusion of exclusive lodgings, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping districts, including world-famous Worth Avenue and couture boutiques.

For the sports-minded, deep-sea fishing off the Palm Beach coast yields spectacular game fish. Diving, too, is particularly rewarding, with sightings of shipwrecks, coral reefs and teeming marine life. One of the islanders favorite pastimes is bicycling or in-line skating along the Palm Beach bike trail, which winds past the Intracoastal Waterway, offering a glimpse at multi-million-dollar yachts and mansions.
by: Daphne Nikolopoulos

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CULTURE

Henry Morrison Flagler Museum

The "Taj Mahal of the South," this is the house that Flagler built. A tour gives you a taste of sheer luxury with the white and gold Louis XVI ballroom; the table where Rockefeller, Astor and Woodrow Wilson dined; and, you can peer through the windows of the rail entrepreneurs own private railroad car. 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach (561) 655-2833

Hibel Museum of Art

The museum houses 380 works by Edna Hibel, famous for her oil glaze and gold-leaf paintings. Shes also worked in sculpture, Japanese rice paper, lithographs-on-porcelain and painting on glass. 150 Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach (561) 833-6870.

Palm Beach Invitational
International Piano Competition

Each spring the Flagler Museum resounds with the playing of world-class pianists. The 11th prestigious three-day event is in April. There's so much to attract lovers of fine keyboard music, and for the performers, themselves, the attraction is a tempting first prize of $15,000 along with a recital at Lincoln Center in New York. The Piano Competition Guild also presents Sunday concerts at the Four Seasons Resort. P.O. Box 3094, Palm Beach (561) 833-8817

Lois Pope Theatre Company

Louis Tyrrell has been running this innovative 250-seat theater since 1987. It aims to bring to South Florida the highest quality productions of challenging new American drama. Last spring, the Pope Theatre Company was one of the first theaters in the country to stage Jack and Jill, the latest comic work of the enigmatic writer Jane Martin. 262 S. Ocean Blvd, Manalapan (561) 585-3433

Royal Poinciana Playhouse

Perhaps the most glamorous theater in Palm Beach County, the historic playhouse hosts top stars, performing hits from on and off-Broadway. Top touring productions come here like An Inspector Calls, with its self-destructing doll's house set. 70 Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach (561) 659-3310

Society of the Four Arts

Exhibitions at these Mizner-designed buildings have included a fascinating collection of American paintings, sculpture and furniture from the Colonial era to the early 20th century. A concert season extends from December to February, as well as a distinguished lecture series (speakers have included Sir David Frost and General Colin Powell), film screenings and an annual flower show. Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach (561) 655-7226

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HOTELS

The Breakers

The Breakers, currently celebrating its centennial year, sits directly on the ocean surrounded by a swimming pool, 21 tennis courts, two 18-hole golf courses, a putting green, croquet courts and The Breakers Beach Club. Inside, the resort has 572 guest rooms, the Florentine Dining Room, several bars and an elegant ambiance. One S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 655-6611

Chesterfield Hotel

In the center of Palm Beach lies the Chesterfield Hotel, a charming European-style four-star hotel with 53 rooms and suites. Featured in the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel is the home of the famed Leopard Lounge, where nightly music and dancing is a Palm Beach tradition. 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach (561) 659-5800

The Colony Hotel

A prime location virtually on Worth Avenue and one block from the ocean makes the intimate Colony Hotel an extremely attractive destination. Another of Palm Beach's four-star hotels with 91 rooms and a meeting facility in a quiet, private atmosphere, complemented by the Polo Lounge Bar, two restaurants and a tiki bar. 155 Hammon Ave., Palm Beach (561) 655-5430

Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach

A classic marriage of Four Seasons and Palm Beach styles makes the Four Seasons Resort one of the most elegant. With 210 rooms that feature spectacular views and individual terraces, the oceanside resort offers a pool; tennis; piano bar/lounge in the lobby; two acclaimed restaurants; and, a complimentary children's program. 2800 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach (800) 432-2335 / (561) 582-2800

Heart of Palm Beach Hotel

The name says it all-the Heart of Palm Beach Hotel is just steps away from the beach, shopping and sports activities. All 88 rooms have refrigerators for snacking, in addition to two restaurants, The Old Town Tavern and an outdoor pool. 160 Royal Palm Way, Palm Beach (561) 655-5600

Palm Beach Hilton

The Palm Beach Hilton has 134 rooms, many overlooking the ocean. Water sports, sailing, meeting facilities, a pool, tennis courts, sauna, Sandcastles Restaurant and the Beachside Bar and Grill help define the Palm Beach experience. 2842 S. Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach (800) 433-1718 / (561) 586-6542

Palm Beach Historic Inn

One of the few bed-and-breakfasts in Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Historic Inn is true to its name-a preserved landmark building full of charm and island elegance. The Inn's nine guest rooms and four suites are filled with modern conveniences including cable TV and private showers. Guests are presented with complimentary in-room continental breakfasts, making every morning a bright one. 365 S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 832-4009

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach

Carrying on the legendary Ritz-Carlton tradition of impeccable personal service and comfort, The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, on the ocean, has 270 guest rooms and suites, 10 meeting rooms, three restaurants, a pool, seven tennis courts, windsurfing, sailing and a fitness center with spa services. 100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan (561) 533-6000

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SHOPPING

Worth Avenue One of the best-known, exclusive shopping streets in the world, Worth Avenue easily could be deemed a "shoppers paradise." More than 200 internationally renowned shops, galleries and restaurants line the street and fill the numerous Vias, not to mention the presence of the prestigious Esplanade. (561) 659-6909

The Esplanade

The Esplanade, Worth Avenue's own Mediterranean-style jewel box, is an open-air shopping plaza with a variety of upscale European and American shops, anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue. Shoppers are greeted with convenient valet parking before encountering the exquisitely tiled fountain and tropical atmosphere, leading into and interspersed with the shopping area. 150 Worth Ave., Palm Beach (561) 833-0868

Plaza Del Mar

Located directly across the street from The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Plaza del Mar is the place to shop in South Palm Beach. Shops, restaurants and galleries make up an upscale outdoor, but covered, plaza. (561) 586-6447

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SCHOOLS

Palm Beach Day School

A challenging academic and artistic education (Kindergarten through 9th grade) has been the hallmark of this institution since 1921. The student-teacher ratio is 6-1 and average class size is 11. The school's stated goal is to prepare students to succeed at the best independent high schools and universities in the country. 241 Seaview Ave., Palm Beach (561) 655-1188

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RESTAURANTS

264-The Grill Veal, burgers, meats, seafood, pastas and a full bar in traditional Palm Beach style. 264 S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 833-6444

Amici Ristorante Bar

One of the best people-watching spots in Palm Beach, as well as a favorite place for antipasti, wood-burning oven specialties and homemade pastas. 288 S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 832-0201

Bice Ristorante

World-class Italian cuisine carried out in the legendary tradition that began in Milan in 1926. 313 1/2 Worth Ave., Palm Beach (561) 835-1600

Cafe L'Europe

A new location and updated menu bring Cafe L'Europe into the 90's while continuing a 15-year tradition of excellence in contemporary French cuisine. 331 S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 655-4020

Casablanca Cafe Americain

A creative Mediterranean-style menu in a delightful bistro setting. Open for lunch, dinner and cocktails. 101 N. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 655-1115

Charley's Crab

See Palm Beach Gardens listing. 456 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach (561) 659-1500

Chuck and Harold's

Classic Palm Beach, served Chuck Muer-style. Fresh seafood, salads and pastas, presented on the patio or indoors, with a hopping bar. Always a favorite for Sunday brunch. 207 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach (561) 659-1440

Cucina Dell Arte

Innovative Italian cuisine grilled seafood; fresh, imported pastas; and a dynamic wine list. 527 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach (561) 655-0770 (Additional location in West Palm Beach.)

Jo's Restaurant

In a new, expanded location, serving fine wines, Thai with a twist, and classics of continental cuisine. 375 S. County Rd., Palm Beach (561) 659-6776

Ta-Boo

An American bistro and bar with a coveted Worth Avenue view. Great for lunch, dinner, dancing or cocktails. 221 Worth Avenue, Palm Beach (561) 835-3500

Testa's Restaurant

With a 75-year history of Palm Beach favorites-steak for two, raw fries, seasonal stone crabs and strawberry pie. Great for breakfast, late-night snacks and anything in between. 221 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach (561) 832-0992

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