Sometimes you want – no, you need – a vacation, but you’re so burned out you don’t even have the energy to plan one. That’s when a staycation comes in handy. You can book a chic hotel room in your hometown, experience a few restaurants you may not have had a chance to test out or return to yet, and explore some sights you’ve been meaning to enjoy but never get the time off to enjoy. You know, the ones you always recommend to friends coming into town, but somehow never get around to seeing for yourself.
But what if your daily life is so intense that even planning a staycation seems too stressful? In other words, what if you work too hard to play hard, even when you live in a beautiful locale like Palm Beach, and you can’t think beyond dipping a toe into the pool in your backyard? Relax, locals. We took the liberty of asking renowned travel, design and hospitality experts Jaclyn Sienna India and Freddy Charles Reinert, the team that makes up Sienna Charles, who “design effortless, exclusive experiences for the world’s most discerning clientele,” to give us an itinerary for Palm Beach, where they’ve operated a second location of their business (the first is in New York) since 2006. Here’s what they recommend.
STAY AND PLAY
Both India and Reinert love The Breakers Palm Beach and suggest making it the base of operations. Reinert says, “The Breakers is a grand, luxury property on the beach that has everything you could ever want in a hotel. The food and beverage outlets, such as HMF, are classics in the town and have quite a buzz.” The hotel offers memberships to the club and allows locals to utilize the pools and fitness facilities.
In addition, “I would say the beach is best enjoyed through a hotel like The Breakers,” Reinert says. “You could, of course, just take yourself to the public beach, but I feel the experience is when you can have a full-service beach with chairs, food and drink.”
India adds that her favorite spa is also in the hotel. And for those looking to add 18 holes to their staycation, a par-70 Ocean Course, the Breakers Rees Jones Course, and instruction at the Golf Academy at The Breakers make a reservation here a fore!-gone conclusion.
Alternatively, for those looking for a discreet hideaway that offers quality of service but downplays high-maintenance, the pair recommends The Brazilian Court Hotel , which Reinert calls “a small, quaint, tropical property in the center of town. It’s charming and quiet, but has a great pool, a Daniel Boulud restaurant [and] a Frédéric Fekkai Salon & Spa. The location makes it perfect for those that want walkability throughout Palm Beach and [down] Worth Avenue,” the main drag where many of the international luxury brand boutiques as well as regionally-based designer shops are located.
In fact, The Brazilian Court is an award-winning boutique property known for its discreet service and luxurious amenities, and it’s central positioning also makes it easy for nightlife lovers to access restaurants, clubs and music venues in other parts of the island as well as West Palm Beach.
MEALS AND WHEELS
When India explores Palm Beach, she prefers to do it on a bicycle. For more extensive stress relief, “we love renting a boat and relaxing on the water during the day as well.” Locals who don’t own either can rent them at Palm Beach Bicycle, where the staff will also advise you on where to relish a leisurely 10-mile ride by the water, and Blue Water Powerboat Rentals, which also has Jet Skis available. The latter is located at the New Riviera Beach Marina, and if you’re not confident in your own mariner skills, not to worry — you can take a tour with one of the captains on site.
Both cycling and sailing can certainly work up an appetite. Sienna Charles advocates beginning a day at Surfside Diner. “It’s a contemporary take on an old school diner,” Reinert says. “Certainly the place to go for breakfast. Other Palm Beachers may tell you Green’s is their favorite… I disagree.” However, if you extend your staycation to a long weekend, there’s no reason why you can’t breakfast at both (both are so deliberately antediluvian that they don’t have websites, so hands-on research it is) and decide for yourself.
For lunch, if you’re not out on the water snacking on stone crabs or ceviche, try the fare at BrickTop’s, which Renert says is “the most happening spot right now. It’s primarily locals, but not hidden at all.” New American, with items ranging from local grouper with a kale and quinoa salad to the restaurant’s specialty meatloaf, the establishment also serves Sunday brunch.
While Reinert will always opt for a special occasion meal at The Breakers’ Flagler Steakhouse, which he calls “classy,” with “great food,” he’s also partial to “trendy Buccan, which is laid back and casual. Their food is very good and they draw quite the crowd.” Owned by chef Clay Conley, Buccan is a high-end, small plate restaurant that features the chef’s imaginative take on global cuisine.
While visiting the spa at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach for their natural Amala skincare products, a proven relaxation technique for India, or soaking in the historic climate poolside at The Colony Palm Beach, a pastime Reinert prefers, a Palm Beach staycation wouldn’t be worth its weight in sea water if you didn’t also absorb some culture.
Sienna Charles endorses visiting the Flagler Museum, the 55-room preserved mansion of industrialist Henry Flagler that is also known as Whitehall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Beaux-Arts, Classical Revival architecture. Personally, Reinert has a preference for contemporary art, however, so he frequents the Norton Museum of Art, which is technically in West Palm Beach. “For me, the Norton is more my speed — very modern. Flagler, though, has an amazing history and is an absolutely beautiful property. It is very interesting so I recommend them both.”
As for performing arts, if you have the energy to dress up a little and catch a show on a Saturday night, you might have to veer off to the west again to head to the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, also located in West Palm Beach. But to Reinert’s mind, the best way to spend a Saturday night in Palm Beach is this: “Buccan for happy hour. Then to the Breakers for more cocktails and a light meal. Then back to Buccan for ‘Buccan Teas.’ Then off to Cucina if you are looking to stay out late!” For the uninitiated, Cucina Dell’Arte has been a Southern Italian island institution since it opened in 2004, and like the sun, it only heats up as the hour climbs higher.
Of course, then you might need a staycation to recover from your staycation. Or maybe just some homemade donuts with crème anglaise, hot fudge, and raspberry sauces, or poached eggs over cheddar grits with sautéed spinach and lardons at BrickTop’s.