If you’re looking for a place a bit off the beaten path to take your loved ones for some warm family fun, or just want to find a different kind of girlfriend getaway, Delray Beach can serve it up in a big way, especially during the holidays.
The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau recently invited me to visit this special niche in Florida. I spent a weekend in the area in early December and found the temperatures warm, a welcome change to the Atlanta chill we’ve endured recently.
Stephanie Immleman is the Marketing Manager for the Delray Beach. She picked me up from my hotel in a golf cart (yep, they can drive them on the roads down here if they get a permit to make them “street legal”) and we took a three hour tour that showed off a variety of entertainment options in the area. Where Key West meets Manhattan….That’s how she likes to describe Delray Beach and it’s easy to see why.
My first impression: it reminded me of a movie set. The city has a little town square where they hold concerts on Friday nights with some incredible bands (we saw Blue Fire while we were in town), a phenomenal arts district called Pineapple Grove packed with eccentric little shops that your girlfriends will want to stroll down to find their next perfect purse, and a really secret hideaway known as the Sundy House which offers a tropical retreat in the middle of town (and I’m told they have an amazing Sunday brunch!). Kids can do the typical putt-putt golf outing or go dig for a shark’s tooth and feed live sharks at the Sandoway House.
Older children can rent Segway’s to get around and adults can simply stroll around the beach’s fine shops and restaurants or take a shuttle back to the town square.
And of course there’s the beach! Staying at the Delray Beach Marriott Spa, our balcony overlooked the pool and the beach, located just across the street. It was wonderful to sleep with the sound of the waves and wake up with the sunrise, though my time in Delray Beach was a bit windy and created quite a howl through our room (fixed easily enough by placing two towels at the base of the door). Treatments at the nSpa in the hotel will leave you invigorated. I enjoyed my first ever sugar scrub and left with skin like a baby. And that skin was also nice and tan thanks to the spray tan they treated me to (definitely a healthier version than any tanning bed). The spa offers all kinds of other options, including a sunburn wrap (that just sounds soothing, doesn’t it?). Just book your appointments early because they fill up fast.
The restaurants range in food options and ambience. From Seagate Hotel’s Atlantic Grille, which offers high end cuisine and a bar that will soothe you into stress-free mode with its jelly fish tank (you have to see it to believe it), to Caffé Luna Rosa, the little Italian bar/restaurant that serves up delicious pasta and interesting artifacts on the wall (Sinatra’s mug shot for his adultery arrest and Babe Ruth’s baseball contract), there is something for every appetite.
The city is celebrating its 100th Anniversary and pulling out all the stops this holiday season with a 100 foot Christmas tree (which you can actually walk inside and check out the animatronics exhibits), visit Santa in a—get this—air conditioned house, ride the carousel or go ice skating in the park (and no, of course it’s not a real rink!). You can find out more by reading this. The bottom line is this place goes out of its way to make you feel like a kid again. I suggest you take full advantage!