By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
There is more to the Boca Raton Resort than the pink tower everyone talks about. In fact, the tower was added on years after the original Cloister Inn opened as one of the most expensive 100-room hotels of its day in 1926.
Behind the gates, the Waldorf Astoria Resort sits on 356 acres steps away from downtown Boca. The exclusivity of the compound is shielded from the bustling city, which makes it an ideal place for both visitors and locals to check out.
It is made up of the Cloister, the Yacht Club, the Tower, Boca Beach Club, the Bungalows, the Boca Country Club, conference center, two 18-hole championship golf courses, 30 tennis courts, Waldorf Astoria Spa, golf clubhouse, Florida’s only FlowHouse with dual sided wave simulator FlowRider, six pools, a 32-slip marina with full fishing and boating facilities and a half-mile of private beach with water sports.
The resort is celebrating its 90th year and is inviting guests to its yearlong party. To commemorate the milestone, the resort has partnered with the Boca Raton Historical Society to feature pictures of what the original hotel looked like, factoids about its famous architect Addison Mizner, the original guest book from its grand opening and a desk that was in one of the rooms.
Guests will learn that Mizner’s Monkey Bar gets its name because Mizner had a pet monkey and that the cracks in some of the decorative tiles are not due to the resort’s age, but were purposely cracked by Mizner to create a more lived-in vibe.
The Spanish Colonial/Mediterranean-style resort blends history with modern times. The Cloister, which is the main part of the resort, underwent a $30 million renovation in 2014. That section of the resort gets its name from the original Cloister Inn built by Mizner. About $100,000 was spent on making over each room with modern finishes that complement the historic back drop.
Part of providing an upscale, ever-changing experience involves creating new partnerships. The resort has done so by pairing with Maserati to have a few cars on hand for special transports and partnering with a photographer studio, Studio Eminence to offer sunrise and sunset photo shoots on the beach. While the sunrise photos are early, it gives you a nearly private session on the beach.
If you want to splurge during your stay, request the corner room on the sixth floor. The suite features two bathrooms, a large living room, a bar and an expansive balcony with couches, loungers and a table and chairs overlooking the city.
During a recent stay at the resort, a common theme was the attentiveness and friendliness of the employees. Before a spa treatment, the spa attendant offered to change out my extra-large robe for a smaller size and to set guests up with cold washcloths and cucumbers in the inhalation room, remembering to call and remind them minutes before their treatments.
When dining at The Blue, which gives you a view of all of Boca from the 27th floor of the tower, grab a drink by the bar first. The expansive cocktail menu blends all types of flavors for different palates. If you can’t choose which drink you want, let the sommelier surprise you.
Executive Chef of The Blue Christie Tenaud brings modern American flavors to the trendy restaurant. The fried avocado morphed a traditional Bibb lettuce salad into a new take on a classic as did a pea puree that surrounded two enormous diver scallops. Ask the sommelier for recommendations for wine pairings for each course and try the homemade ice cream for dessert.
If you’re looking for sun, the resort has six pools and the beach to choose from. The resort pools are near the FlowRider and the beach is a quick shuttle or boat ride away. The resort owns a shuttle boat called Mizner’s Dream, which gives guests a scenic mode of transportation to get from the main resort to the beach club. Those staying at the beach club can use either the vans or boat to get to the main resort.
If you’re looking for a weekend to visit with your kids, the resort is planning its Second Annual Stars & Stripes 4th of July Festival with food, fireworks and live entertainment by the Gin Blossoms.
Other summer promotions include: Free meals for kids at select restaurants and “Another Day in Paradise,” where if you buy three nights you get the fourth night free. Both offers last with bookings made through Sept. 30.
By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor