Anniversary R&R in Palm Beach
After attending a conference at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, I extended my stay for some much-needed rest and relaxation. This time, I didn’t need to travel far to achieve my goal: No matter where you stand on this affluent 16-mile-long barrier island, you’re never more than a mile from the golden sand beach.
The Four Seasons proved the perfect backdrop for my self-imposed timeout. After the last presentation on Thursday, I picked up my spouse from the airport to celebrate our anniversary. The first item on our agenda was a long, romantic walk on the beach.
We chose to head north on the path-less-traveled by tourists, catching glimpses of private, Mediterranean Revival-style residences. Unfortunately, we could see only the more modest homes. The island’s most lavish mansions — reportedly owned by the likes of novelist James Patterson, Parrothead Jimmy Buffet and President-elect Donald Trump — are gated and hidden from the public beach.
After two hours of beachcombing, a complimentary bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon awaited us in room. The concierge also surprised us with a dinner reservation at Buccan, one of the most exclusive restaurants on the island.
Strenuous exercise helped build our appetites — and rationalize our overindulgence that evening. We noshed on gourmet small plates created by renowned chef Clay Conley. Highlights include the hamachi tiradito, ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms and tawny port, not to mention the exceptional service of our charming waiter (Chris). We went to bed that night with full stomachs, blisters on the sole of our feet and smiles on our sun-kissed faces.
On Friday morning, we had originally planned to paddleboard along the Intracoastal Waterway. But the wind and waves brought on by Hurricane Matthew forced a change of plans. Plan B — a couples’ massage at the Spa at the Four Seasons — didn’t disappoint. (Thank you, Patrick, for your magic hands!) Afterwards, we had full access to the spa’s amenities, including a saltwater Jacuzzi, a eucalyptus steam room, high-performance showers with aromatherapy and peaceful relaxation rooms. It’s amazing how fast time flies at the spa.
Honestly, we tried to leave the resort for lunch — it’s not like us to sit around or engage in a midday nap. But the staff’s attention-to-detail and the resort’s breathtaking grounds lured us in. So, we sat like lounge lizards, overlooking the beach, while the pool attendants pampered us with an endless stream of amenities and thoughtful treats, from lounge chair setup and cooling spritz to complimentary peach smoothies and frozen Peppermint Patties. We felt like spoiled celebrities (minus the paparazzi and drama).
Once the sun set and the pool attendants clocked out, we returned to find chocolate-covered strawberries and bonbons in our room. This time, however, we resisted the resort’s sweet entrapments and ventured out for dinner at a hidden gem shared by another resort guest: Rhythm Café on antique row in West Palm Beach. From the outside, it looks like a rundown 1950s diner, but appearances can be deceiving. It was packed with satisfied, local diners. Our fabulous array of small plates included blackened shrimp, goat cheese pie with balsamic marinated strawberries and pomegranate and leaves salad. But the climax was the full-size, to-die-for peanut butter pie, a happy ending indeed.
Saturday morning, we awoke for a sunrise stroll. Our destination was Benny’s on the Beach, an unassuming diner on the Atlantic Ocean. At dinner the previous night, a local suggested we try a meat-lovers’ breakfast burger, the chorizo breakfast tacos and a couple of Bloody Marys. It was an over-the-top finale to our decadent stay in Palm Beach. We left for the airport on Saturday afternoon, truly rested and relaxed. Mission accomplished.