“I think you girls will really like this destination,” I exclaimed to my Mom & sister via text. Admittedly, I didn’t know much at all about Palm Beach before visiting. Neither had mom or sis. Consequently, we would refer to Palm Beach as Palm Springs for most of the days leading up to the trip. But we were not headed to Palm Springs in California for the weekend, we were headed to Palm Beach, Florida to explore one of the most iconic hotels in American history, the Brazilian Court Hotel.Go away for the weekend to @BrazilianCourt in #PalmBeach Florida. Here is a weekend guide. #travel Click To Tweet
When arriving at Palm Beach International (PBI) airport, we hopped in our Uber and enjoyed the short scenic tour of Palm Beach. True story, we got into the wrong Uber (newbie mistake) so the tour was a bit longer than usual. We eventually made it across the bridge to a beautiful residential neighborhood where the Brazilian Court Hotel rested tucked away into the Florida foliage. Not your typical hotel, guests feel so much at home that they will stay up to 90 days.
I feel so worthy but not worthy to be here. I’m not an Obama. I’m not one of Will and Jada’s kids. I certainly do not have Beyoncé’s money. Palm Beach is the playground of the ultra-rich since Henry Flagler founded the city in 1911 ( do the names Du Pont, Koch, Busch, and Trump ring a bell?). Mansions cloaked behind curtains of cascading bougainvillea line the ultra clean streets. In my mind, residents had every right to be pretentious but I found the opposite was true.
Built in 1926 and celebrating their 90th anniversary the Brazilian Court hotel heralds architecture by Rosario Candela, a famous New York architect who dared to go against the mold of the traditional Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner. Known for being eccentric enough to keep his blueprints hidden behind velvet ropes, Candela set out to create a stylish icon with lush courtyards and classic Spanish – Mediterranean architecture that defied the Hollywood theatricality of other Palm Beach hotels. By the time Maurice Fatio added the south wing of the hotel and the now famous south courtyard in 1936, The Brazilian Court hotel was established as the epicenter of Palm Beach society.
The Brazilian Court Hotel – What’s Inside
We almost missed it because the Brazilian Court hotel is beautifully hidden in plain sight. As we pass under palm trees and approach the front awning I stop, breathe deeply and just take in the beauty of the neighborhood and the hotel’s front elevation. As we walk up the front steps, the inviting bell hops are eager to please but not overwhelming, greeting us and opening the front door.
Classically charming only begins to sum the hotel’s interior. I gaze around at furniture, fixtures and this adorable rotary style touch tone phone resting neatly on a wooden table. Front desk attendees work in front of a living wall backdrop. One of the uniquely charming qualities about the hotel is the room keys they give to guests. Instead of the standard key card system, the hotel chose to keep room keys made of nickel silver, just like the key you might use to open your door at home. It’s also handed to you on a key ring with an adorably cute tassel.
This discrete enclave of the rich and famous since the 1920s is most often whispered about as a favored rendezvous promising anonymity for the affluent — all tucked within its lushly cloaked courtyards. Capturing European old-world charm, The Brazilian Court is redefined for a new generation seeking a retreat within its soft, stuccoed walls.
I pulled out my key with the sunshine colored tassel (one of my favorite colors by the way) and opened the door anxious to see what was on the other side. A truly unique property, the hotel has 80 custom re-designed rooms and 1-3 bedroom suites featuring mahogany crown molding, hand-forged, English, oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, Provence-style wood shutters, and plush beds topped with imported linens, while still staying true to Candela’s vision of simple elegance.
One of the first areas I always check when away is the bathroom, which had an ultra air-jet bathtub with customized hydro-thermal massage menus and a large shower suite. The bed was a comfortable king and the team at the hotel left a little welcome gift for me on the sheets – a totally unexpected surprise because we do enjoy Macaroons!Another fun discovery I wasn’t expecting was my private, oversized terrace which seemed to go on for days. It opened up to a large seating area – plenty of space to lounge with Mom and sis. In retrospect, I chuckle as I think about how we walked around the room getting excited about the various details of the room. We’ve stayed at luxury properties before, but boutique hotels always add some sort of unexpected charm, unique to each property.
Known to locals as a “home away from home,” the hotel is the preferred place for Palm Beachers to house their guests. The matriarch of the Kennedy family, Rose Kennedy, contacts the hotel each year during the holidays to house her overflow of guests.
Sophia Vergara hosted her 2015 rehearsal dinner in the courtyard and ballroom, a 1,150 square foot space featuring a high-drama, glass skylight. Countess Luann D’Agostino (Real Housewives of New York) had her wedding at the hotel on New Year’s Eve bringing in 2017.In the past, many iconic Hollywood celebrities have frequented the Brazilian Court hotel throughout the years. In fact, a few of the larger suites are named after them: Bergman, Astaire, Hepburn, and Brando. We had the pleasure of touring the 1,700 square foot Valentino suite. I wanted to peek into the 1,900 square foot Hepburn suite as well but it was currently occupied.
The Art. The Pool. The Luxury Cars. The Lilly Pulitzer Bikes.
In addition to 80 beautifully crafted guestrooms, the hotel boasts an art gallery, the Frederic Fekkai Salon and Spa (whose original flagship once resided in New York’s Bergdorf Goodman) and a scenic yet intimate pool. A bridal party was on their way to lounge at the pool right after my early morning swim. And by swim, I mean putting only my feet in the water because I was having a good hair day.
The hotel’s sleek BMW or Mercedes vehicles are available to chauffeur guests to the nearby beach along with complimentary umbrellas, water, towels, chairs, and magazines – which they will set up for you at the beach (wow, right?)
One of the amenities we found most exciting were the Lilly Pulitzer bikes, which can be reserved by a quick phone call to the front desk. Perfectly adorable and fitted with front baskets, we hopped on our bikes and cruised through the beautiful neighborhoods, to the beach and finally stopped for shopping on Worth Ave.
Worth Avenue – The Rodeo Drive of the East
Residing just a few high-heeled taps away from the hotel is Worth Avenue, the world’s most exclusive purveyor of luxury goods, art galleries and fine dining. One quick glance and you’ll notice Worth Avenue looks very similar to Rodeo Drive. Worth Avenue is home to Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany & Co, Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus and more. At the end of Worth is the beautiful Worth Avenue Clock Tower. Facing both the avenue and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean that lies behind the Worth Avenue Clock Tower was built in 2010 as part of a $14 million facelift to the Worth Avenue Shopping District.Haute Food – Cafe Boulud
Finally, after a full day of play, we freshened up and headed to Café Boulud for dishes created by world-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. Debuting new renovations in 2015, Café Boulud boasts an elegant, sleek contemporary design – complete with a shimmery ceiling made from sea shells and Pecky Cyprus and an expanded glowing bar.Our host and waiter Curtis made recommendations that were right on the money! Delightful and pleasant, Curtis encouraged us to try something new and step out of our palate box. I was going to try grilled salmon, something I can make pretty damn good at home but Curtis recommended that I try something different, something that would take me hours or even days to make. “Sprinkle some olive oil in a pan, throw the fish in there and 10 minutes you’re done,” says Curtis assertively. “ But this pork duo dish is something I think you’ll really enjoy.”
Trusting my waiter, I ditched my Mint Julep for the incredibly smooth White Cosmopolitan and switched my usual grilled salmon for the pork duo. Curtis was absolutely correct about both suggestions but especially the entree. I would not be able to make this at home and even if I could where would I find the time? We order different dishes and then sampled each others’ plate. I recommend the pork but also the grouper. Oh, my seafood heaven the fish taste incredibly fresh – like it was just caught from the ocean and roasted over an open flame.Satisfied with dinner we couldn’t pass up dessert (I mean, we could but why?) So we sampled the Peach Tart, the Carmel – Ivoire Tart and Coffee Mille-Feuille. Curtis also brought out their version of the beignets. Once again he promised we’d love them and once again he was right (be sure to ask for him when you visit). Mom, sis frequent Florida, but it’s usually to for family vacations to Orlando and an occasional visit to Amelia Island. But now that we have experienced the Brazilian Court Hotel, Palm Beach is now on our annual radar. Maybe this time we’ll visit in the winter months, during the official Palm Beach season.
The Brazilian Court Hotel
301 Australian Ave, Palm Beach, FL 33480
Packages include Long Term Stays, All Inclusive Breakfast, Pet Package, Honeymoon Package
Florida Resident Rates starting at $189 if booked soon.
Looking for other weekend ideas? Check out our other stories featured in “Travel”