Palm Beach is still an iconic nest for old money. But new developments in town and up the coast that favor a chic, laid-back style and (relatively) affordable prices are attracting a fresh, younger set. The waterfront Omphoy Ocean Resort (from $250/night), Palm Beachs first new hotel in 18 years, debuted this May, next door to the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach on Ocean Boulevard. Breaking from the areas prevailing style, the 134-room resort sports a trendy look with sharp, contemporary design. Expect a pool lounge (located on the street side of the property with a tall waterfall partition for privacy and to block out traffic noise); an inside bar and billiards room; and an oceanview restaurant with Latin fare by notable chef Michelle Bernstein.
Set a few miles outside the action, the typically low-key Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach (from $279/night) launched Eau Spa on March 1. The feel is more South Beach than Palm Beach: a disco ball in the steam room, treatments catering specifically to teens, spa villas for couples, and opulent treatments including a platinum-and-diamond facial, with gemstone-infused oils and a diamond elixir drink.
An hours drive north of Palm Beach in Indian River County is up-and-coming Vero Beach, a quiet seaside community with a cultured vibe, thanks in part to the Vero Beach Museum of Art and its school, with workshops and lectures visitors can attend. The town bills itself as old Florida but recently has spawned two new resorts. Gloria and Emilio Estefans Costa dEste Beach Resort (from $169/night) sprung up last summer with spare, boutique-style digs and wins extra points for the large, limestone showers. Oriente, its Cuban fusion restaurant, and the oceanfront pool lounge often buzz late into the night. Better suited to families is the 2-year-old Vero Beach Hotel & Spa (from $189/night), a Kimpton hotel just down the shore with one- to three-bedroom suites. Unveiling a 5,000-square-foot spa next fall, the hotel provides a range of in-room treatments in the meantime.
From the April/May 2009 issue of Shermans Travel magazine