At home and abroad, the list of popular tourism destinations is constantly evolving. As new hotspots come to the fore, old ones often fall out of favor. Occasionally, however, tourists like a place so much that it withstands the test of time. One such place is Palm Beach, Fla., which has been a beloved vacation spot for more than a century.
In fact, Palm Beach was a tourist destination long before it was a city: Although the Town of Palm Beach wasn't incorporated until 1911, the area's first hotel, the Coconut Grove House, opened 30 years prior, in 1880.
Today, Palm Beach is best known for its old-money inhabitants, many of who are snowbirds who flock there in winter from the Northeast. The reasons they love it -- warm weather, proximity to the ocean, supreme shopping, an ample art scene and Old World charm -- are the reasons that travelers continue to flock there, too.
The destination's long history and storied wealth are an asset to meeting groups, especially, because these qualities support an ideal mix of old and new -- classic properties that have the experience and stature to deliver exceptional service, but also the resources to make continuous improvements that keep their premises fresh.
One property that perfectly illustrates the juxtaposition of "classic" and "contemporary" is the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach (pictured), which was built in 1989 but has just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced this week.
Occupying 6 oceanfront acres on Palm Beach Island, the resort had been closed for improvements since last May. Guests who visit the revamped property will find a redesigned lobby, as well as new landscape architecture throughout; an enhanced beach experience and a remodeled pool deck, including the addition of a second pool for adults only; new culinary attractions, including Florie's, a signature restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco, where offerings include live fire cooking, a show kitchen, a private dining room and a pergola-style outdoor dining terrace. The property also features 207 redesigned guest rooms and suites, including two new room types -- Ocean View Studio Suites and first-floor Cabana Terrace Rooms that feature expanded terraces with private and direct pool access.
Also on offer are a spa, a fitness center, tennis courts and over 22,000 square feet of meeting space for groups of up to 380 people.
"Our resort captures the essence of Palm Beach and connects guests to everything that makes our destination the enchanting coastal showpiece that it is," said Mohamed Elbanna, senior general manager of Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. "Our new look combined with the genuine grace and inviting energy of our team offers a local experience unlike any other. Our guests will feel the ocean breeze and be at ease while life's most treasured memories are made."
Four More Timeless Palm Beach Treasures
Here are four other properties where meeting groups can enjoy the best of Palm Beach past and present.
• The Breakers Palm Beach Resort. The quintessential Palm Beach property, the Breakers Palm Beach Resort dates back more than a century, to 1896. The hotel's current facilities debuted in 1926, when the property was rebuilt and reopened after being destroyed by a fire. Modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome, the work was completed with the help of 75 Italian artisans who were imported to execute the intricate paintings that still adorn the first-floor ceilings more than 90 years later. Although it's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property stays current thanks to its longtime owners -- heirs to founder Henry M. Flagler -- who spend at least $30 million a year on capital improvements. Along with 538 guest rooms and suites, there's a 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor oceanfront fitness center; a 20,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor spa; a Mediterranean-style beach club overlooking half a mile of private beach; four swimming pools; five whirlpool spas; poolside bungalows; 10 lighted tennis courts; 11 onsite boutiques; and two 18-hole championship golf courses, including the Breakers Ocean Course, Florida's oldest golf course, which completed a full-scale renovation in 2018.
• The Colony Hotel. Another monument to Palm Beach history, the Colony Hotel opened in 1947 and has hosted notable guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, President Bill Clinton, John Lennon and Frank Sinatra, among many others. Known for its British Colonial architecture and bright, colorful interior, the property recently completed a five-year, $18 million renovation encompassing each of its 90 guest rooms and suites, as well as its lobby, restaurant and the Coral Ballroom, which spans 3,446 square feet and can accommodate groups of up to 200 people.
• The Brazilian Court Palm Beach. Opened in 1926, the Brazilian Court Palm Beach is famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture and lush tropical courtyards. Although its last full-scale renovation was in 2008, the hotel enhanced its meeting space as recently as 2015, when the 1,872-square-foot Ballroom and Conservatory was updated. Along with 80 guest rooms, there's a salon, a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, a 24-hour fitness center, an onsite art gallery and a famous restaurant: chef Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud.
• PGA National Resort & Spa. Florida was made for golf, and so was the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, which opened in 1981 and recently emerged from a $125 million renovation. Home of the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour, the property incudes five championship golf courses, including the just-revamped Champion Course. Groups needn't play golf, however, to enjoy their stay. Along with 369 guest rooms and suites -- including a Presidential Suite with four balconies, living and dining areas, a pool table, a private kitchen, a four-poster bed and an en-suite bath -- there also are nine restaurants and lounges, a new Sports & Racquet Club with 19 tennis courts and a lap pool, and a redesigned spa with 35 treatment rooms, more than 100 treatments and Waters of the World mineral pools. Planners can rely on 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including 23 individual meeting rooms, three ballrooms, an amphitheater and a wood-paneled executive boardroom, not to mention a 5,000-square-foot open-air pavilion and iDECK, a new 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio for cocktails, al fresco dining and private events.