Boca Resort & Beach Club: A Florida Vacation for a Younger Crowd

Not Your Nana’s Boca

Not Your Nana’s Boca: Boca Resort & Beach Club Boca Raton, FL

If Boca Raton conjures up images of Morty and Helen Seinfeld-types living out their golden years in sprawling retirement communities with fake Spanish names, I was with you—until a recent visit to this premier resort in an area better known for the Early Bird Special.

Sprawling though it is—encompassing more than 356 acres—the Boca Resort & Beach Club is so not your nana’s Boca. It’s also not the charming little seaside bed and breakfast where the delightful innkeeper serves up suggestions of coves to explore over tea with home-baked vegan blueberry scones. But if you are looking for luxurious surroundings coupled with fine dining and lots of options and activities, you’ve struck gold. The resort’s countless accolades in every category of premium lodging, including Travel + Leisure’s “Greatest Hotels in the World,” Departures’ “Best American Spas,” and Elite Traveler’s “Top Family Resorts,” are well deserved.

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After a two-hour-plus flight from Westchester, the hubby and I emerge to tropical temps at Palm Beach International Airport. An easy half-hour drive and we are motoring up the grand drive—cue the central fountain—to the majestic Cloister, the heart of the property. Built in 1926 by famed local architect Addison Mizner as the original structure of the estate, the Cloister reflects Spanish-Mediterranean, Moorish, and Gothic influences.

Although historic, this is not some rundown, has-been behemoth. Part of the Waldorf-Astoria collection, it is exquisitely maintained with beautifully appointed and furnished interiors, lovely grounds with lush plantings and manicured gardens, and top-notch recreational facilities. It is huge—kind of like the University of Michigan of warm-weather resorts. A total of 1,047 accommodations are offered in several locations; in addition to the Cloister, one may stay at the adjacent Yacht Club, in the more modern Tower, in a residential-style Boca Bungalow, or at the Boca Beach Club, a five-minute motor-boat launch or 15-minute shuttle drive away from the main property. Families with young children may want to consider the latter, which underwent a $120 million renovation a few years ago; it’s situated on its own half-mile of private beach and offers full water sports and family activities.    

About those top-notch recreational facilities: We spend a delightful morning chasing some little white balls around one of the two 18-hole championship golf courses, and, in the afternoon, we sunbathe around one of seven pools, this one right by the water. The next day, I submit to the sublime ministrations of a very talented massage therapist at the opulent 50,000-square-foot Spa Palazzo, inspired by the legendary Alhambra Palace in Spain. I have been to many spas and this one would have knocked my socks off if I were wearing them. And remember those activities and options I mentioned above? Add in three fitness centers, 30 tennis courts, croquet, biking, volleyball, basketball, boating, and fishing.

Of course, no getaway is complete without great dining, and, no surprise here, the resort has lots to choose from. If you have a yen for it, chances are, there’s an eatery devoted to it—whether sushi, fresh-caught seafood, home-style Italian fare, or even frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity (inspired by New York’s Serendipity 3). We particularly enjoy the superb coastal Mediterranean cuisine—and the stunning ocean views—at Cielo, located on top of the Tower. (In season, do consider making dinner reservations online as early as possible.) But my favorite spot? The lush indoor courtyard Palm Court with its dramatic, transparent, high-dome ceiling. Do visit its breakfast buffet before checking out—or hitting that fitness center. —Laurie Yarnell


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Details: Rates for the winter season start at $149 per night, based on availability.  

Getting There: JetBlue has direct flights into Palm Beach International and is an easy half-hour drive to the resort, which is equally close to the Fort Lauderdale airport.

Contact: Boca Raton Resort & Beach Club, 501 East Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL (561) 447-3000;

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