Author & Photo credits: Beth Pollock
Why you need to stay here
The Brazilian Court Hotel is an intimate residence that makes you feel like you’re coming home. That is, if your home is a 92-year old gem with multiple courtyards, lush greenery, and stunning art. The Brazilian has appeared on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List and the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Hotels list multiple times. As a first-time guest, I felt like I was being greeted into the home of a wealthy relative, with staff devoted to making me as comfortable as possible.
If you stay here, you’ll be in good company. Howard Hughes, Cary Grant and Gary Cooper all visited. Actress Sofia Vergara recently hosted her wedding rehearsal dinner at the on-site Café Boulud. The impeccable service from the gracious staff will make you feel like you’re the one who’s a celebrity.
I stayed in a roomy one-bedroom suite. The bedroom featured a king-size bed with tropical floral bedding, and mahogany accents throughout; the living room continued the theme with abundant comfortable seating and understated art. Wooden California shutters on the windows protect your privacy when needed, but otherwise let in the sun.
Smaller studio rooms are just as lovely with ample space to spread out. If you want to go big, though, choose one of the rooms named after former guests: the Hepburn Suite, Brando Suite and Garbo Suite offer more space inside, and patios or terraces overlooking the swimming pool.
Food and Drink
One of the highlights of staying at the Brazilian was eating at the fine Café Boulud. The dining room is lovely, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden and mother-of-pearl inlaid ceiling panels. Or enjoy your meal on the terrace overlooking the fountain courtyard and its many palm trees.
I chose the beet salad as a starter, and redfish as my entrée, and they were both delicious. But the highlight of the meal was the Citrus Baba with Key Lime Chantilly and ginger ice cream. The tangy citrus compote was perfectly balanced by the luscious Chantilly and the gentle spice of the ice cream.
There’s so much to do in the Palm Beaches, I didn’t have time to use the spa. But if you’re so inclined, spa services are available at the Frederic Fekkai Salon in the hotel. Even if you don’t book a manicure or a massage, make sure you visit the spa wing, where the Brazilian displays a collaboration with the local Paul Fisher Art Gallery. When I visited, the fascinating work of Israeli artist Yoram Chisim was among the art on display. Artwork is changed four times a year, so return visitors will always see something new.
If you fall in love with the Brazilian (as I suspect you will), there are lots of good ways to occupy yourself on the property. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find cozy nooks with bookshelves, comfy chairs and big windows that let in the sun. Better yet, take your own book to an al fresco reading area and relax on a love seat plump with cushions. Or unwind at the swimming pool that looks like it belongs in old Hollywood.
Once you tear yourself away from the property, the best way to see Palm Beach is on an Island Living Tour with Leslie Diver. Whether you want an island overview by car, a cycling tour of the Estate Section, or a garden tour by foot, she knows the island intimately, and shares history and anecdotes while you travel. (But Leslie’s own story is the most interesting – be sure to ask her about her son Gaby.)
For shoppers and browsers alike, there’s no better destination than Worth Avenue. A ten-minute stroll from the hotel, Worth Ave. is one of the prettiest and most upscale shopping districts in the U.S.
And if you love the art you saw at the Brazilian, head back to the mainland to visit the main location of the Paul Fisher Gallery, just across the bridge in West Palm Beach.
The Brazilian Court Hotel is located on a quiet residential street and, as I approached, I was convinced my GPS must be wrong. When I arrived at the half-circular driveway lined with uniformed bellhops who were greeting drivers, I realized the low-rise hotel fits in beautifully with this elegant neighbourhood.
The island of Palm Beach is accessible by bridge from the city of West Palm Beach. The mainland features a great selection of activities, restaurants and bars, while the island maintains a genteel, refined sensibility. After a busy day, the Brazilian is the perfect place to come home to.
The Brazilian Court Hotel – http://www.thebraziliancourt.com/
Notes: The author visited as a guest of The Brazilian Court Hotel, who did not review or approve this story.