Florida is best know for its year-round sunshine, expansive beaches, clear waters and city-sized theme parks. Usually considered a more family-fun vacation destination, we discover a more luxurious side to The Sunshine State. We avoid the tourist traps and venture south, where we discover a rich, unique culture, hidden beneath the glossy facade of Miami, as well as hidden gems in the often overlooked Palm Beach area.
Where to Stay
The Brazilian Court Hotel – Palm Beach
Best for: Seclusion and privacy
The Brazilian Court is a true hidden gem. Privacy is the most appealing aspect of this 5 star hotel – having hosted some of the most high profile celebrities from Audrey Hepburn in the Tucked away in an unassuming street just minutes from the golden sands of Palm Beach. With minimal signage, and just a small valet driveway hinting to it’s secluded location, the resort is easily missed.
The once stay-cay for the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra, the Brazilian Court resort in Palm Beach is a time capsule of retro glamour. A luxurious boutique fit for movie stars of a bygone era. Read our in-depth review here.
Ritz-Carlton – Miami Beach
Best for: Miami Beach access
Inspired by its rich history and iconic building, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is the epitome of Miami glamour, welcoming travellers from around the world. The luxury hotel includes a classic cocktail lounge that celebrates the intriguing stories of the city’s past, an elevated pool overlooking the Atlantic and a full-service spa that serves as a retreat for rejuvenation amid the excitement of Miami.
Indulge in an array of luxury spa treatments that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised. And for a bespoke experience unlike any other, try the South Beach Club Lounge. Newly redesigned, the exclusive space features rustic finishes inspired by mid-century modern design and a colour palette drawing from the ocean. Guests enjoy the attention of a dedicated concierge and complimentary culinary offerings throughout the day including breakfast, lunch, dessert and a selection of wines, beers, spirits and other beverages.
The Breakers – Palm Beach
Best for: Ultimate luxury
Revered as one of the most historical hotels on the East Coast of America, The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida, exudes decadence and grandeur.
The Breakers is a huge 540 room luxury resort. Styled to reflect Florentine Renaissance, the 5 star hotel houses artisan paintings, tapestries, antiques and architecture-cues taken from Villa Medici in Rome. The hugely impressive palm tree-lined driveway leading up to the hotel lets you know you’re in for something very special, and gives you a postcard-worthy view of the vast complex in all it’s glory.
Each room is appointed and furnished to the highest of standards, with a modern, clean and fresh Atlantic island feel. The outdoor pool and lounging area is quite possibly the best we’ve seen. It’s relaxing, quiet and uncluttered.
Read our full review of The Breakers here.
Wyndham Grand – Jupiter
Best for: Casual relaxation
The Wyndham Grand at Harbourside Place is a lifestyle destination hotel in Jupiter where business and vacation travellers enjoy laidback luxury. Guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway from the furnished private balconies. Each of the 179 spacious rooms feature thoughtful amenities like pillowtop beds dressed in fine linens, providing a truly relaxing respite.
The standout feature is the popular Pool Bar. Perfect for soaking up the Florida sunshine while sipping on refreshing cocktails or local craft beer. The casual poolside bar serves American classics like juicy burgers, tasty sandwiches, healthy wraps, and organic salads.
Where to Dine
Cote – Miami Downtown
Best for: Steak lovers
This sleek Korean steakhouse is located in the heart of Miami Downtown. Having recently received a coveted Michelin Star, this live station, open flame grill restaurant provides an unforgettable dining experience. The unassuming entrance is easy to miss, but you’ll be giving thanks to discovering this true hidden gem.
Each table enjoys its own centrepiece grill, where guests a treated to an interactive service, providing a unique and convivial atmosphere, infusing a social element with a fine dining experience.
We recommend opting for the Butcher’s Feast, featuring the head chef’s favourite four selected cuts of meat, served with an assortment of Korean accompaniments.
Read our full review for Cote Miami here.
The Rusty Pelican – Key Biscane
Best for: Fresh seafood & waterfront dining
Whether you choose to dine inside, or go al fresco, you can’t escape the incredible vistas of the bay and the Miami skyline. The unique location of this fine dining seafood restaurant is clearly the main attraction, but the food is equally as impressive.
If you get the opportunity to visit during the early evening, the sunset views are incredible, and then the bright lights of the city create an unforgettable twinkling backdrop. Visit the outdoor deck for uninterrupted views, and you might even see the magnificent display of dolphins. Plus there’s some wonderful fire pits to keep you warm on the breezier nights.
Whilst the menu is mainly suited to seafood lovers, there’s also some hearty land-based dishes too. We recommend sampling the small plates to discover the range of culinary delights offered from this fine dining yet un-fussy gem. As expected, the seafood is delightfully fresh, and you’ll find local catches unique to the Rusty Pelican.
Café Boulud – Palm Beach
Best for: Exclusivity & fine dining
Café Boulud is the magnificent centrepiece of the Brazilian Court hotel, positioned prominently in the main courtyard. Presented as a fine dining al fresco experience, headed up by Chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant enjoys international acclaim. The lavishly designed dining room opens up to the majestic terrace.
Guests are presented with a varied seasonal menu. Locally sourced produce and the finest ingredients are carefully selected to make up the modern French-American cuisine. Created by Chef Boulud and Executive Chef Dieter Samijn, the menu parallels that of Café Boulud New York, but with a touch of South Florida flavour.
Read our full review for Café Boulud here.
Henry’s – Palm Beach
Best for: Elevated comfort food
Named after the founder of The Breakers resort, Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry’s Palm Beach is an inviting American–inspired bistro at Via Flagler. A favourite neighbourhood spot for local brunchers, and billed as a contemporary take on the traditional tavern pub – Henry’s has so much more to offer.
Even thought it’s one of the newest establishments, Henry’s has already gained an excellent reputation for elevated comfort food and classy cocktails. The varied and modern menu has a hint of nostalgia.
With its central bar and sliding window fronts, Henry’s is very much a social affair. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and the service is impeccable. It’s also in a fantastic location – central to bars and shops, and has a very handy valet parking service.
Time Out Market – Miami Beach
Best for: Variety
Time Out Market is an open, shared space dining concept, with a huge variety of food and drink options from local vendors. But it’s not your typical food hall. Time Out Market selects only the very best vendors, and have to meet impeccably high standards.
The expansive, curated experience features the highest-rated local restaurants and Miami’s most revered chefs that together make up a huge variety of unique food concepts. The huge space incorporates 17,500 square feet of hand-picked dining, where every single dish has been tasted and approved by local city experts.
The space is great for both daytime and evening dining, and is perfect for large groups – everyone can pick a different vendor and enjoy the communal space. Socialising is encouraged with the long bench seating setup, but more private seating is available too.
Riverhouse – Palm Beach
Best for: Lunching in style
A true hidden gem, and a favourite amongst the locals, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone outside of the area who know’s much about the Riverhouse. With an exclusive country club feel, the venue is steeped in history and mystery. Positioned on the river perfectly for cascades of luxury yachts to deliver their esteemed passengers.
Even with its basic website and lack of social media presence, the venue is always fully booked. The discreet online presence only adds to the appeal of The Riverhouse, and the authentic seafood menu really seals the deal.
There’s also an open air tiki bar to enjoy – again, well hidden, and off the grid.
The Breakers – Palm Beach
Best for: The place to be seen
The Breakers is well known in the local community for its HMF bar – named lovingly after the late founder. The grand, open plan seating is blanketed by the soothing mellow beats of the in-house DJ, creating a relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy some of the famous signature cocktails.
The dining options are some of the best in the region, with a range of options from steak to seafood. The Flagler Steakhouse is located slightly off property, and an easy walk for guests. The recently refurbished Seafood Bar which has been designed to look like the interior of a luxurious yacht, with unbeatable ocean views and food which truly embodies Palm Beach lifestyle. All of the fish is freshly caught and cooked to perfection in the open plan kitchen.
RH Rooftop Restaurant, Palm Beach
Best for: Al fresco dining
Step into a world where fresh ingredients are paired with excellence to create an unforgettable dining experience. The RH Rooftop Restaurant resides on the fourth floor of West Palm’s 80,000-square foot design gallery. The impressive space blurs the lines between residential and retail indoors, while seamlessly transitioning outdoors amongst lush greenery.
Diners enjoy a varied menu amidst trickling fountains, while enjoying views overlooking Miami in the distance.
Where to Relax
The Square – Palm Beach
Best for: Luxury Shopping
The Square is a dynamic experiential community-focused neighbourhood. It’s a reimagining of contemporary lifestyle into a luxurious destination for retail, cuisine, design, world-class art and more. Located in the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach, The Square presents a fantastic mix of more than 50 shops and restaurants.
The features are curated with sustainability in mind, and the space boasts outposts of Miami’s sophisticated plant-based favourite, Planta and South Florida health-conscious café, Pura Vida, among other well-known eateries. It’s a great place to hang out when the weather’s right. You can catch an outdoor movie on the lawn, shop the weekly farmers’ market, or just stroll around.
The Dirty Rabbit – Miami Wynwood
Best for: A wild party night
If you’re looking to party the night away, The Dirty Rabbit is a perfect destination nightclub. With an open air dance floor, a warren of rooms and bars, and one of the friendliest crowds we’ve encountered, the club is both fun and classy. There’s no pretentious VIP areas, but there’s still a level of sophistication.
With its stunningly weird and wonderful interior design, we can confidently say that The Dirty Rabbit is the best nightclub experience in Miami.
Wynwood Walls – Miami Art District
Best for: Arts and culture
The Wynwood Walls was conceived 2009. The Concept was something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and a simple idea was born. By rejuvenating the enormous derelict warehouses, using them as giant canvases to bring the greatest street art ever seen in one place. Starting with the 25th–26th Street complex of six separate buildings, the goal was to create a center where people could gravitate to and explore, and to develop the area’s pedestrian potential.
Today, the district has grown into a fully fledge living art installation. With incredible artworks, events and a thriving bar and restaurant scene, Wynwood Walls must see destination.
HMF Bar – Palm Beach
Best for: Sophisticated cocktails
Quite possibly the most reverred bar in the Palm Beach area, expect to see celebrities, socialites and a gathering of glamorous, beautiful people.
To find the hidden oasis guests must enter through The Breakers’ grand lobby and turn into the North Loggia. You’ll hear the buzz of the crowd, then you’ll see everyone dressed to the nines, enjoying the exquisite Florentine Room—where the glitterati drank and dined for decades—reinvented as the dazzling and modern space.
HMF is steeped in the glamour of an earlier era, yet wholly current. This chic social club boasts an eclectic, globally influenced menu, an acclaimed wine list of more than 2,000 unique selections and an array of inventive cocktails. Grab a seat, try the incredible cocktail, and people watch as you listen to the transformative beats from the DJ. You’ll lose yourself in the atmosphere and wish you could stay longer.