One of the best times to go to Palm Beach is at the end of spring, but to have one of the best times, go for a bachelorette weekend! Just one hour north of Miami, the tiny island has historically hosted high society (think of the Kennnedys) for more than a century and is now home to the likes of Bill Gates and Bruce Springsteen.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE HISTORY
It all began when oil tycoon Henry M. Flagler opened his Royal Poinciana Hotel in 1894 and the railroad two years later. Then in 1959, Palm Beach hostess and socialite Lilly Pulitzer opened a juice stand just off Worth Avenue. Yet it was her colorful, shift dress uniform that took off more than the freshly squeezed, and American resort wear was forever changed.
From Addison Mizner’s Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style to waterfront pastels that serve as the backdrop for all the best Instagrams, history and a good time will not be lost on those who choose Palm Beach as their pre- “I do” destination. So make like C.Z. Guest in all of those famed Slim Aarons’ photos, and pack your white linens and espadrilles, ladies, cause we’re going to Palm Beach!
WHERE TO STAY
The Breakers is the staple in Palm Beach. Some more good news: it’s walking distance from shopping destinations, Worth Avenue and Royal Poinciana Plaza. Stay here, and you’ll be resting your head where Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan once did. Rooms are equipped with crisp, clean, and comfy bedding with pops of jewel tones in botanical prints. With four pools, 25 bungalows, complimentary fitness classes, an indoor-outdoor spa, 10 tennis courts, and chauffeured Tesla house car service, what more could you want for a getaway with the girls?
A little backstory: The hotel burned down twice in the 20thcentury, but with each renovation it’s become even more impressive. The last upgrade resulted in the newly added hotspot, HMF—the new place for pre- and post-dinner sips. The Circle’s brunch is also a treat, especially on Sundays.
If banana leaf print and pink and green chandeliers are a draw (which they 100% should be!), The Colony, which recently underwent a five-year $18 million revamp of its 90 accommodation options, might be more your speed. Artist Kate Schelter helped the hotel create a new logo and introduced a cheeky rendering of Johnnie Brown, Addison Mizner’s playful primate from the 1920s. Rooms are tricked out in classic Palm Beach style with contemporary twists that include marble and tile bathrooms with glass walk-in showers and luxurious bath amenities—getting ready to go out at night has never looked so good. And with complimentary white sun umbrellas and striped beach chairs an iconic selfie-sesh is born.
WHERE TO SHOP
Of course, no visit to Palm Beach is complete without a stroll on Worth Avenue lined with palm trees, pastels, and poinsettia. Walk by Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Lilly Pulitzer, Louis Vuitton, and Shari’s Place, and grab cocktail or two at the Bimini Bar.
At The Royal Poinciana Plaza, shop at favorites likes Saint Laurent, Kirna Zabête, and Theory. They also opened a large Sant Ambroeus location (the first outside of New York state)—perfect for replenishing the hungry or hungover.
It’s no wonder Palm Beach is also known as heaven for vintage and antique lovers. The Church Mouse is a 4,500-square foot space wrapped in a baby blue coat of paint. Just a touch north of Worth Avenue, there’s no shortage of needlepoint here. Peruse through vintage Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Gucci and more designer pieces.
For a younger, snarkier twist on grandma style, look no further than Lycette Designs, where one can grab a pillow stitched with “When life hands you lemons, add vodka” or “I would prefer not to” and much, much more.
If your motto is “If it’s not moving, monogram it,” Lori Jayne is a must-go. Voted the 2018 Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, this gift and accessories shop customizes pillows, microphones (for all your late-night karaoke needs), china, and more hostess-appropriate presents.
WHERE TO EAT
Stay on Worth Avenue, and dine at Bice (the lunchtime crowd is there to see and be seen). The mini-chain Italian restaurant is the perfect spot for getting all the girls together to regroup. For something less casual, try Ta-boo, which opened in 1941 and has served JFK, Frank Sinatra, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The roof retracts, allowing diners to gaze up at the stars.
Another option is the Restoration Hardware Rooftop Restaurant, which also recently opened an outpost in Manhattan. Head up to the fourth floor for a magnificent set-up. Who doesn’t love dining under sparkling chandeliers?
Want grab coffee and indulge in a burger like JFK? Head to Green’s Pharmacy. This real pharmacy has been filling peoples’ appetites and their prescriptions since 1938. The comfort food they offer up will hit the spot on a Sunday morning, and it’s open 365 a year, rain or shine.
Buccan is a tad newer than more established restaurants, but it has the same buzz around it. Miami Chef Clay Conley conceived his small plates menu and it is known for its gourmet hot dog. Book reservations in advance, as it has become quite a task to land one.
WHAT TO DO
When not lounging around on the beach or by the pool, take to the water in a yacht. Lots of Yachts or Barton & Gray let you rent a boat for a day or for a specific amount of time. Have a more active crew? P.B. Boys Club rents paddleboards for $20 per hour.
Get seasick? A beach walk allows for one to saunter by Estée Lauder’s estate and the Kennedy compound. Biking is also a faster and picturesque alternative to a slow stroll; the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop on Sunrise rents bikes for $29 for up to four hours. Ride past the beautiful Flagler Museum, which was Henry Flagler’s home and is open for tours.
Sunday Polo starts at 3:00 p.m., but get dressed up and mingle before at the International Polo Club in Wellington. The $120 Champagne brunch in the Pavilion or on the lawn is worth the spend, but everyone goes on the field at halftime to stomp the divots (à la Pretty Woman)—appropriate footwear is recommended. General admission is $10.
No bachelorette is complete without a little dancing under a disco ball. Cucina Palm Beach (previously Cucina Dell’Arte) is the go-to late-night bar to show off all of those killer moves that tequila gave you—so book a table and let it all out. Remember, what happens in Palm Beach, stays in Palm Beach.