As soon as you step off the plane, you know you’re on vacation. The salty air and sunshine are a giveaway. You’ve landed in Palm Beach, Florida.
I traveled there recently with my family and every detail was as delightful as you can imagine. Upon arriving, we headed to the luxe Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan. The Forbes Five-Star rating is no exageration at this resort. After checking in, we made our way to our room where we were delightfully greeted with a charcuterie board and a bottle of wine to kick off the stay. After flying from Chicago with a toddler, my husband and I were more than pleased to indulge.
If you’ve ever traveled with your entire family then you know that the pool cannot wait for a 3-year-old, so of course we made our way to the resort pool to splash around and take in the Atlantic breezes—eventually heading to the private beachfront.
This oceanfront resort prides itself on being a family-friendly location with all the luxury adults crave on vacation. Situated on a private beach, the breathtaking views always evoke a sense of relaxed luxury. Guest rooms and suites are designed in beachy ocean blues and yellow by famed interior designer Jonathan Adler. Be sure to book an Eau Lanai Terrace Suite—a ground-level enclave with a private patio overlooking the ocean perfect for a sunrise breakfast, and easy access to both pools on the property.
If relaxation is on your agenda (isn’t this what a vacation is about?), let your children explore in the resort’s AquaNuts program, and head to the award-winning Eau Spa. With 42,000 square feet of treatment rooms, spas, and lounging areas, it’s sure to delight. The spa, which is billed as a grown-up playground includes the Self-Centered Garden with dipping pools, hanging chairs, cabanas, and more. I indulged in a custom massage and was not disappointed. The specially curated scent created by my massage therapist was divine. Afterward, I sipped champagne from one of the hanging chairs next to the therapeutic water fountain in the Self-Centered Garden. It was the perfect wind-down after spending the day at the Palm Beach Zoo.
While the spa was enchanting, I can’t help but rave over the Palm Beach Zoo, which was only a few miles away. The wildlife included many of the usual suspects, but also some species unique to the area, and was a magical experience with my little one. Iguanas roamed the park while we took in more than 190 species and ended the trip with a run around the splashpad. We covered the entire park and made it back in time for naptime.
Palm Beach was quite the animal-filled adventure for our family. The next day we headed to Loggerhead Marinelife Center to see the sea turtles. As the only sea turtle between hospital Orlando and the Florida Keys, this center rehabilitates nearly 100 sea turtles and cares for thousands of hatchlings each year. Visiting the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a favorite among travelers to the Palm Beach area, and it certainly placed high on our list.
Watching the adorable turtle recover in their viewing tanks while chatting with the volunteers was a unique experience our family won’t forget. Loggerhead Marinelife Center also happens to be the official charity partner of Eau Palm Beach, so the concierge at the hotel was happy to help us set up a visit.
You may be wondering, what did they eat? Well, Palm Beach has no shortage of amazing dining experiences. One of our favorites was Angle, an elegant on-resort restaurant. It featured locally and regionally sourced ingredients and an award-winning wine selection. The culinary team serving us guided our choices for the evening and even customized my daughter’s gourmet macaroni and cheese. I opted for the most tender short rib I have ever had.
It was absolutely divine paired with our bottle of pinot noir. My husband chose the filet mignon and was delighted. We added foraged mushrooms and whipped potatoes to our meal which were full of flavor. After dinner I couldn’t help but try the Key Lime served in a unique seaside display.
What would a trip to Palm Beach be without a visit to Worth Avenue? Just steps from the ocean, the shopping and dining district is a must. Luxury retailers line the streets, including Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Peter Millar, and Vilebrequin. If the bright, beach designs of Lilly Pulitzer (who started her juice stand and store in Palm Beach) is your taste, the store on Worth Avenue carries custom designs and can create your choice of print. And while there are plenty of dining choices on Worth Avenue, we opted for Pizza Al Fresco and were thrilled.
After the long year that was 2020 (and early 2021), this beach escape was exactly what our family needed. Between the delicious dining, unique wildlife and private beach experiences, and sumptuous Eau Palm Beach accommodations, it was the ultimate place to bond and refresh before returning to Chicago. Afterall, Eau Palm Beach’s signature phrase—Pause. Play. Perfect.—perfectly embodies every aspect of our trip.