After breezily rolling my suitcase onto the Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains USA), I toss it above my seat and plop down. Within minutes of the train lunging forward, a beverage cart arrives. “Rosé, please,” I say to the attendant, kicking back for the one-hour-and-change ride from Miami to West Palm Beach.
Quite possibly, like me, you detest sitting in traffic, and the train is not only a game-changer when it comes to cutting time and stress but makes the glitzy Palm Beaches much more accessible for a weekend jaunt.
Arriving at the West Palm station, I hop in a Lyft, and within minutes I reach my staycation destination: the oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach.
A GLAMOROUS GETAWAY
In lavish Four Season’s fashion, I’m welcomed with a dainty tray of chocolate truffles and celebratory glass of bubbly. The lobby is barely recognizable since my last visit four years ago; much like new life is being breathed into once-stodgy Palm Beach, the landmark hotel is fresh off a multi-million-dollar renovation.
The Five Star, Five Diamond resort is now awash in dreamy pinks and greens, with coastal decor (like the OMG-tropical wallpaper at check-in and the palm leaf carpet in hallways) weaved in with quintessential elegance. Guest rooms shine with mid century glamour, fitted with luxe bars, plush couches and balconies overlooking the pools and blue-green ocean — it’s easy to pretend you’re vacationing in a nearby posh mansion.
While situated on a large swath of beach meant for endless sunbathing, the centerpiece of the six-acre resort is the updated poolscape where guests tuck under pink umbrellas at two pools, including the new adults-only oasis; or escape to breezy oceanfront cabanas where the sound of the rolling waves will lull you to sleep (and, where attendants will even clean your sunglasses).
The hotel offers a dizzying array of programming for all ages from tennis lessons to beach croquet to paddle boarding and movies on the beach, along with culinary classes like pizza-making. In traditional Palm Beach opulence, pop in on-property Krigler boutique, one of only four in the world, to smell scents worn by the likes of John F. Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.
RAISE YOUR GLASS
The prettiest cocktails on the Island are found at the new restaurant and bar, Florie’s, where skilled mixologists take garden-to-glass seriously and drinks rotate seasonally. I watched lead mixologist Matthew Dress concoct the Field of Flowers, a vodka cocktail beautifully layered with rosato, mint, lavender and prosecco, delicately topping it with edible flowers; later, he revealed molds that he personally created to make a precise cucumber swirl for the gin-based Garden Party cocktail.
The Four Seasons partnered with chef Mauro Colagreco, whose restaurant in France now holds three Michelin stars, and diners can expect standouts like juicy heirloom tomato and peach carpaccio that effortlessly pairs with creamy local burrata, melt-in-your-mouth New Zealand lamb shoulder, and a wood-fired Margherita pizza with an ethereal crust. (Their chefs spent months in France training closely with chef Mauro until they had the dough just right.)
During dinner, sommelier Jessica Altieri stops by tables to offer wine suggestions, but she’s not just an expert on wine — Altieri is one of only a few water sommeliers in the world. “Water isn’t just water,” the bubbly blonde tells us at the beginning of her Wine and Water Tasting that happens every Saturday afternoon. We sampled Spain’s number one sparkling water, which tastes of the sea, and a $110 water from a region where there are more polar bears than people.
Palm Beach has so much new to explore. While most Brightline riders lunch at the sparkling Restoration Hardware Rooftop restaurant located near the West Palm station, the Island is exploding with must-try restaurants like Hai House, an upscale Chinese restaurant situated on Worth Avenue serving delicate dim sum and modern takes on traditional dishes; Maven, a seafood-driven standout by a Nantucket restaurateur; and the always-trending Sant Ambroeus for decadent pastas and dessert.
Don’t miss a day at the remodeled Norton Museum of Art, which now boasts additional gallery space, a sculpture garden and the Restaurant at The Norton, where dishes look like art. I ended my staycation at the resort spa with a salt stone massage and a dip in the adults-only pool. Sun-kissed and smelling of sunscreen and massage oil, I boarded the 6 p.m. train home.
2800 South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach; 561-582-2800; fourseasons.com/palmbeach.