Staycations emerged as a trend a while back and flourished even more when the economy took a dip. When I opened a hotel in Sunny Isles , Florida some years ago, I was amazed at how many people would come from Weston for a long weekend. Recently, my husband and I decided to do a day trip and overnight at the Eau Palm Beach. Until this brief but wonderful experience I hadn’t truly understood the power of the staying close to home.
Although The Eau Palm Beach is just a short drive from our Jupiter home, it felt like a world away. This little gem is nestled on the south end of Palm Beach which is technically called Manalapan and recently ranked first place in the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for resorts in Florida, Atlantic and the Keys. Upon arrival we were greeted by the friendly valet, escorted into the lobby and met with a smiling associate offering champagne. In my opinion, The Eau strikes the perfect balance between authentic service versus intrusive service. We have all been out someplace where you can see people are trying just a little too hard. You take a sip of your ice tea and the server is back with a new glass. Causing you to recalibrate your drink with the appropriate balance of sweetener and lemon when the first glass was perfectly mixed.
As we were escorted to our room we received a briefing from a very informed bellmen. We settled in our room and went to check out the hotel. Luckily for us we were on the club level. We were delighted with the accommodating staff. Phillip who managed the lounge, was a perfect stranger upon check in but felt more like family by the time we left. The lounge offers lunch, snacks, light breakfast food, afternoon & evening wine and cocktails. On the way out you can even grab some retro-candy from a glass sphere filled with Lemon Heads and Hot Balls.
As the afternoon was lingering on we hit the pool for a refreshing dip. Just as we scouted out a couple of chairs in the shade, a pool attendant arrived offered towels and drink options. Again, the perfect balance of just in time service without being overwhelming. Heck yeah, we will take some towels and a frozen drink!
After a dip, we took a walk along the beach. In Manalapan, the beach tends to come and go with seasonal erosion. Walking south you barely see anyone along a stretch of private beach dotted with shells and an occasional jelly fish haphazardly washed up on shore. We cut our walk short so as to enjoy the Eau Spa experience.
The Eau Spa is as unique as the hotel and recently won Forbes Five Star spa rating. Once inside this little sanctuary you quickly see why. From the hanging swings in the common area to the wishing fountain the experiences is divinely decadent and pampering. There are cupcakes, rubber ducky mascots, flowing champagne and steam showers. We booked a couples massage and were treated to a stress busting rub complete with personalized aromatherapy scents, music to our liking and comfortable massage beds which inclined slightly upward upon our back flip providing immediate relief for our nasal passages.
Somehow all this activity had tuckered us out. Maybe it was the long drive, the stress of packing and travelling or the hustle and bustle of getting there. Oh wait, another benefit of the staycation: there is no hustle and bustle! We retired for a nap and then headed to dinner.
The Island of Palm Beach has many choices for shopping, eating and drinking. During our stay we dined at the hotel restaurant Angle for dinner. The food was great and one of their evening specials was a stuffed squash blossom. Yummy. The vibe was friendly and fine all rolled into one. We chatted it up a bit with the folks at the table next to us only to learn they were locals too. They come to Angle on a frequent basis and the waiter knew them by name. There goes the reputation of hotel restaurants and the myth of being overly priced with dull food. Angle exceeded my expectation on many levels.
The next morning we were going to stay for brunch but all this delicious food made us want to get moving. We enjoyed a lavish breakfast display in Temple Orange and hit the road refreshed and raving about the whole staycation experience.
I did enjoy a run through some of the most high-end consignment shops in the country. Be sure to try the Church Mouse and Goodwill on the Island. The stores are loaded with designer clothes, some even have the original tags on them and have never been worn. I picked up a pair of Burberry Sandals for twenty dollars. Score!