As soon as I entered my second trimester, the urge to plan a getaway came on almost as strong as my cravings for watermelon and hamburgers. With this year’s ruthless winter, my husband and I yearned for sand under our toes and warmer weather. It’s sad that anything over 50 degrees would sound so good to us. Not wanting to be on a plane for too long and hoping to explore a place we’ve never traveled to, we set our eyes on sunny Palm Beach.

Eau-Palm-Beach-bikeI didn’t know what the term ‘babymoon’ was until I moved to NYC and a pregnant co-worker excitedly shared her travel plans. Fast forward to today and proudly sporting my own baby bump, the concept of traveling before entering parenthood has never made more sense (could this really the beginning of the end?!).

As soon as I entered my second trimester, the urge to plan a getaway came on almost as strong as my cravings for watermelon and hamburgers. With this year’s ruthless winter, my husband and I yearned for sand under our toes and warmer weather. It’s sad that anything over 50 degrees would sound so good to us. Not wanting to be on a plane for too long and hoping to explore a place we’ve never traveled to, we set our eyes on sunny Palm Beach.

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For accommodations we opted for Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa over the popular Four Seasons and Breakers as we were intrigued to check out the recent and much buzzed about renovations by American designer, Jonathan Adler.  With TV and taxicab ads for Eau Palm Beach beckoning us as we slushed through snow, we were that much more eager to escape.

IMG_20150305_184629After 22 years of operating as the Ritz-Carlton, the Eau Palm Beach underwent a makeover, refreshing not only its name and management, but its interiors. Renovations of all 309 guest rooms and suites were completed this past December with the help of eclectic designer Jonathan Adler. Victorian-style decor was replaced by bright colored bedding, whimsical wallpaper, retro carpeting and contemporary artwork (we loved the portrait of a lime green parrot in our bathroom by artist Leila Jeffreys).

Adler’s color palette choices for Eau was inspired by the sea, sun and sky and rooms burst with pops of yellows, greens and all shades of blue. The designer also gives a nod to classic style of the 60s/70s when social elites and the likes of the Kennedys soaked the rays in with flair. Think of a Slim Aarons photograph and you’ll get a sense for the vibe Adler created.

We really got a feel for the Palm Beach spirit the minute we stepped foot inside and the colors definitely melted our winter blues away. The welcome champagne (or, in my case, pineapple-infused water) and aromatherapy towel upon arrival was a great way to kick things off.

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The property is very spacious with 309 rooms spread out in three six-floor towers: North, Central & South. Guests can choose between ocean (not to be missed), pool, or gardens views. For the best ocean views, we recommend staying in the North or Central towers which offer the best views of both the ocean and pool (below pic taken from our room).

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Room types include king or double guest rooms and three suite options: Club Level suites (includes midday snacks, hors d’oeuvres and evening desserts in a private lounge), Cabana Terrace suites (comes with a private ground level patio), or Commander In Chief suites (the ultimate 2-bedroom suite with a 3,456 square foot balcony).

Regardless of what room you select, we love that all rooms have private balconies. We stayed in a king guest room in the North tower (room 612) with enviable views of the ocean. It was therapeutic to sit on our balcony and see waves instead of snow-covered streets.

We also found the room décor and bright colors to be uplifting yet soothing. The blue and white cushioned headboard was inviting and the padded cover on the mattress made falling asleep easy. I’m happy to report that the bed is definitely pregnant-lady approved. We also loved the fun decor in the bathroom (see pic below).8487_110_b

Dining

FIMG_20150305_174632rom ocean-front lunching to sport-coat dining in the evening, there’s a range of options for all palates.

  • For intimate fine-dining, head to Angle, a AAA Four Diamond rating restaurant. While we didn’t try this modern American spot, if you’re counting on Maine lobster or prime rib eye, this is supposedly the place to go.
  • The more family-friendly Temple Orange is just steps away and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for dinner al fresco, this is the place where you can sit by the beachside fire pit (we highly recommend ordering the s’mores!). Temple Orange serves Mediterranean cuisine and we happily made our way to the restaurant each morning for breakfast. There was a fulfilling spread of cold/hot 20150308_105422dishes, an omelet bar, lots of tropical fruit, and plenty of sweet treats. I could eat here every morning and not get bored with the options.
  • We also enjoyed lunch overlooking the ocean at Breeze. It’s a casual joint and we loved strolling in directly from the beach right to a dining table with a view. Lighter seafood options including a crab and shrimp salad (my absolute favorite) and crab sandwich (also highly recommend) can be enjoyed alongside piña coladas.
  • Finally, there’s Stir Bar & Terrace which is located in the lobby and considered the social hub of the hotel. There’s no shortage of mixed cocktails and light food offerings. On Fridays and Saturdays, there is live music and a DJ to get the party started. In the mood for sushi? Hand-rolled sushi from celebrity chef Sushi Jo is available on Friday and Saturday nights (don’t forget to inquire about sushi rolling lessons too).

Spa

This 42,000 square foot, award-winning spa could take up an entire post, but we will do our best to highlight the good stuff. There’s a reason Eau Spa received a Condé Nast Top 25 Spas in the World 2014 award as well as a number of SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards, including: Best for Girlfriend Getaway & Bachelorettes, Best for Interior Design, Best for Romance, and Best Urban Hotel Spa.

EauSpa_1-840x540Scrub & Polish BarThe spa is one of the biggest draws for guests who are comparing Eau to other popular hotels in Palm Beach. Of all the spas I have tested, this one is quite unique in that there are many different areas (both indoor and out) to relax and lounge. There are the usual spa amenities like a sauna, steam room and jaccuzzi, but the unique features include the outdoor garden with swinging chairs and scrub bar.

The Mixologist’s bar is definitely one of my favorite features where you can have a scrub custom made for you. We opted for a blend of citrus and lavender mixed with coconut oil.  If you combine with a spa treatment, you can get a Custom Scrub Kit for $35.

Our second favorite feature would have to be the unlimited vanilla and chocolate cupcakes at your disposal in the lounge area (this is both good and bad, but mostly good)!

Tips

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  • If you’re traveling with kids, there are lots of activities including aquatic sports, summer camp (from tennis and surfboarding to art), boating and fishing. Taking it one step further, Eau offers an Aquanuts program for children ages 5-12 and a COAST teens program for ages 13-17 – a place where kids don’t have to feel uncool around their parents.
  • The hotel is secluded from mainstream dining and shopping, so we recommend using Uber for the nights you want to dine outside of the property. You can request a car service from the hotel, but we saved more money using Uber.
  • Get a bike! In partnership with Republic Bike, the hotel offers complimentary, Dutch-style bikes to ride around. You can arrange a picnic lunch through concierge and enjoy it on the beach!
  • There are two pools, but the one in between the Central and South Tower is adult-only. We spent our last vacation sans kids in the adult only pool and it felt like we were the only ones there.

Don’t Miss

  • IMG_20150306_175717Whether or not you’re in the market for a fun piece of jewelry or looking for your next statement outfit, strolling down Worth Avenue is a nice departure from the beach.
  • We recommend heading out at least one night or two for a meal off property. While we admired the mega houses on Ocean Drive as we made our way to Charley’s Crab and enjoyed stuffing our faces with king crab, the hotel concierge also recommended Rocco’s Tacos (in West Palm Beach and a 15-20 minute drive away), or the more casual seafood joint, Riggin’s Crabhouse.
  • Spend some time lounging in the spa even if you decide not to get any massages or skincare treatments. Day passes start at $60, or you can have a custom scrub kit made for $75 (highly recommend). We spent at least three hours just lounging around.

What We Loved

  • The service. From the friendly chef who remembered our omelet order each morning, to the cleaning ladies who left extra chocolates by our nightstand and the staff working the beach service who addressed us by name. Everyone working there was genuinely happy to greet and serve, especially the lovely ladies in concierge. A Special shout-out to Gabi who made our trip extra special. She had sweet treats and a plush duck rattle sent to our room to kick off our babymoon (thank you Gabi!)
  • Whether it was the buffet breakfast, room service or dining al fresco at Breeze (or the Eau Spa garden), the food did not disappoint. The 24-hour room service includes dishes from Breeze and Temple Orange.
  • This is a no-fuss hotel and we love that there are no hidden resort fees, or a charge for wifi (no annoying sign in process either, just one click to get to wifi).
  • Most any Jonathan Adler cup, vase or art print can be purchased at the shop (like the pillow below)!
  • We always love hotels that are dog friendly, even if we’re not traveling with our furry best friends. There is a $250 (non-refundable) pet deposit fee and a 25 pound limit per room, but the best part is that the deposit fee is donated to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue! Love this!

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What We Didn’t Love

  • Having access to our own private beach was wonderful and getting set up with an umbrella and lounge chairs was hassle-free. As large as the property is, the stretch of private beach is narrow leaving limited space for those looking to sun bathe. However, if you’re ready to paddle board or surf, there’s no problem at all.
  • While it’s nice that the hotel is secluded (it’s actually located in Manalapan), the downtown Palm Beach/Worth Ave scene is a cab drive away. We had no problem using Uber, but the hotel’s location makes it less convenient for those looking to walk out and explore by foot.

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Overall, the seven acres of private beach property was a slice of oceanfront heaven on earth for us as we kicked off our winter boots and jumped into flip-flops.

Take advantage of our partnership with Classic Travel, a Virtuoso agency to receive extra amenities such as

  • Upgrade on arrival (subject to availability)
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests Eau’s signature “Mediterranean Style” for two (2) guests in Temple Orange Restaurant
  • $100 Resort Credit to be used towards the Resort’s most ◦most desired amenities (no cash value): Eau Spa, Salon & Beautique, Restaurants & Lounges, Oceanfront Cabanas, Aquanuts Childrens Program, Cost Teen Program, Tennis & Personal Fitness lessons
  • Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability

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Photos courtsey of: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa & Inviato

Review by: Christina Meza Kim

Eau Palm Beach

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Why book Virtuoso?

  • Personalized travel assistance
  • 24/7 online booking
  • Special rates & exclusive offers
  • Guaranteed Room upgrade*
  • Complimentary full American breakfast
  • Early check-in, Late check-out*
  • Exclusive on-site amenities (varies by hotel)
  • * based on availability on time of arrival

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