8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy

In the mid 1920s, Addison Mizner, a preeminent architect of South Florida mansions, built what was then one of the most expensive and lavish properties in the world. Celebrities, wealthy, and upper class moguls considered Mizner’s retreat as “THEE” place to people watch and be seen.

Imagine The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties. [ OK, I am curious, did you first think of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Redford, Leo DiCaprio, or something else? Leave your answer in the Comment field below. I will wait for you to return. ]

Boca Resort, called Mizner’s Dream and one of our favorite Relaxed Luxury Resorts in Florida, opened in 1926 and turned 90 years young in 2016. Actually, it opened as Cloister Inn, a Ritz-Carlton property. Its official name since 1988 is Boca Raton Resort & Club and it is a Waldorf Astoria Resort (a Hilton Worldwide brand).

Charles McCool was a guest of Boca Resort and the blue restaurant.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Welcome to the Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida

To regain (or retain) its status as the premier luxury resort—in Florida, on the East coast, perhaps in all the United States—Boca Resort spent nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars the past few years on enhancements, upgrades, and additions. Its Spa Palazzo was named the world’s top spa in the 2014 Condé Nast readers poll, so their modernization master plan is playing out.

My stay was short and sweet and I did not even have time to try the award-winning spa, the beach club (with half mile of private beach), or many other amenities. I did explore their gorgeous grounds, lounged by the pool, and ate, ate, ate!

Even though Boca Resort is a luxury property, it does not have a pretentious, stuffy, uncomfortable, elitist vibe. Here are some “relaxed luxury” discoveries from my recent stay—remember, not including the world-class spa and private beach club.

Arrival at Boca Resort

After sleeping at three different places the prior three nights, I experienced some blissful relaxed luxury for one night at the Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida. Literally from the moment I arrived, I was taken care of. After I provided my name at the guard gate, I was greeted by name by the valet attendant. Then a staff member greeted met me as I walked into the lobby, gave me a quick tour and history of the main building, then took me to my room—er, rather, my suite.

Boca Resort Rooms

My magnificent room was a one bedroom suite with a balcony overlooking the croquet field. I stayed in the original Cloister building, where renovations of over $100,000 PER ROOM were completed in 2015. While there are certainly newer lodging options throughout the property, staying in the classic building, and especially in a one bedroom suite, made me feel like Jay Gatsby in West Egg. What happens at the Boca Resort stays at the Boca Resort!

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
suite balcony in Cloister building
8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort suite
8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
one bedroom suite at Boca Resort

Boca Resort Grounds

Walking around the massive property, I discovered gorgeous spaces, the croquet court, marina, fitness center, future golf course, and so much more.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: inner courtyard

Try to find this serene setting.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
my favorite setting at Boca Resort

In the lobby, I loved the computer center decor.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: computer center lobby

Trees

Boca Resort appears to have been designed around some magnificent trees. Here is the banyan tree is front of the fitness center building. For scale, find the woman in the arched entrance.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Banyan tree

Kapok trees are rain forest giants, towering over all other vegetation, growing in excess of 200 feet tall. Kapok trees are disappearing in South Florida, and around the world, because of development. Being raised in South Florida, I made a handful of visits to the Kapok Tree Restaurant in Davie, Florida. It is now gone but I appreciate any time I see a kapok tree.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Kapok tree

Lest you think the bark of this Jurassic looking tree is smooth, here is a close up.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Kapok tree

Pool

The Tower pool is the happening place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Listen to the hip DJ spinning tunes, have some fish tacos and a refreshing cold drink from Shaka Bar & Grill, and try your skills on the FlowRider surf simulator (the FlowRider House is a cool Airstream-like trailer). Reserve a cabana online before your stay.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
FlowRider at Boca Resort
pool cabanas
pool cabanas at Boca Resort

Dining at Boca Resort

Morimoto caught my eye as I walked to the pool from the lobby. I will most definitely go there on my next visit. To hold down my hunger until my 8:30 dinner (see below), I had a relatively healthy snack from Serendipity in spite of their amazing menu items. Both places, Morimoto and Serendipity, are affiliated with flagship locations in New York City.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
veggie treat from Serendipity at Boca Resort

Frozen hot chocolate? Yum!

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Serendipity menu

Sunday brunch in the Palm Court was magnificent. There were several food and drink stations, which I suppose was a training session for the cruise I was checking into that afternoon.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Sunday brunch

I loved the fresh fruit, including some exotic items like dragon fruit.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Boca Resort: Sunday brunch

The Blue at Boca Resort

Probably the highlight of my Boca Resort stay was dinner at the blue. Being on the 27th floor gave me a phenomenal view, especially of the lightning storm. Roberto, the General Manager, told me that every night is different: to watch storms or amazing sunsets, experience calmness, see boats arriving.

While I was looking forward to fresh seafood, my waiter talked me into the pork entree. It was no imposition as a pork chop is one of my favorites. He said it is marinated in apple cider for 48 hours and one of the chef’s signature dishes. I would definitely order it again. I ordered a glass of malbec but Roberto overrode my choice and brought a glass of his favorite wine. Pretty cool! McCool Travel tip: ask waiters what their favorite menu items are.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
bone in pork entree at The Blue

Chef Christine Tenaud wanted me to try other menu items, so my waiter brought me the deviled eggs (remarkable), grilled octopus (an acquired taste), and pork belly (amazing) appetizers. I strongly suggest ordering the deviled eggs and pork belly.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
the blue: deviled eggs appetizer

Chef Christine has been at the blue for three years, since it converted from Mediterranean to American cuisine. She changes the menu every three months, seasonally, to reflect local availability. For instance, they feature stone crabs when they are in season.

For dessert I was faced with way too many choices but settled on the banana springroll. I asked the waiter about their ice cream (flavors and if they are homemade) and he gushed that their ice cream is so good that many people skip Serendipity downstairs and come up here just for a bowl.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
banana springroll at the blue in Boca Raton

Chef Christine did twist my arm by having my waiter bring me the ice cream sampler.

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
ice cream sampler at the blue in Boca Raton

Waldorf Astoria and Hilton

I have always enjoyed the Hilton brand and it is a wonderful bonus to earn points for Boca Resort stays. Hilton HHonors members can also redeem points for free stays here. Being affiliated with Waldorf Astoria gives this property such clout and status but as I have hopefully pointed out, it is a relaxed luxury vibe. During my mid-June stay, I saw rates as low as $150, when booked more than 2 weeks in advance. Currently, the lowest rates are $198.

Checking out was simple simon and there was one last surprise in my car as a drove away. Nice touch!

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy
Waldorf Astoria water bottles from parking valet

Have I made a compelling case to stay at Boca Resort? Have you? Would you?

See also our article about romantic hotels in North America.

Also see these fun Florida travel articles:

8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy was originally published on McCool Travel on 24 July 2016.

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26 thoughts on “8 Great Boca Resort Relaxed Luxury Features to Enjoy”

  1. I would never leave that surf simulator! So much to do and eat at the resort. You really would never have to leave.

    Reply
  2. I am a vegetarian and I totally dig that pic. Banana spring roll sounds innovative. Never heard of those before! And I like the idea of ice cream platter. You get to taste so much without wasting any of it.

    Reply
  3. Nice! I was actually watching the Tony Robbins documentary recently and he held his week long seminar here. I was curious to see what it looked like because it looked like a pretty grand place from the outside! I’m keen to have a go in that surf simulator!

    Reply
  4. This hotel looks absolutely stunning. I love the architecture and original flair of the hotel, combined with the amenities and luxuries of today’s world. Little gestures like a short tour of the hotel and the water from the valet are what makes great service truly exceptional!

    Reply
  5. Great Gatsby—-yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is a beautiful place and in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the cost of the renovations— quarter of a BILLION dollars!!! Yikes! Loved the FlowRider and pool. I’d just want hang out there. Looks like there could be some deals to be had—$150 a night in June would have been a steal!

    Reply
    • One vote for the book! The place is magnificent but it is OK to just hang by the pool I felt a little guilty when I first sat by the pool because there is so much to do. I quickly relaxed, though.

      Reply
  6. Looks like a fantastic resort. Our boys would go nuts over the FlowRider and the brunch looks wonderful!

    Reply
    • It is a fantastic resort for families. There were so many kids enjoying the pool, FlowRider (indeed), and so much more. Fitness centers, tennis, croquet. Not that anyone would get bored but there is a whole beach resort to explore, also.

      Reply
  7. When I read Great Gatsby, I immediately thought of The New Yorker Hotel in NYC because the last time I stayed there, I felt like that lobby would be the lobby in the Great Gatsby…and it’s not nearly as plush as this Boca resort. Also, now I want some of that Heavenly Carrot Cake–and you didn’t even show me a picture. It just sounds, well, heavenly.

    Reply
  8. Understated luxury. I love that. We toured Florida for 6 months, in 2 separate trips in 2010 and 2011, in a 37.5-ft Class A motor home. I wouldn’t mind going back with an upgrade like this!

    Reply

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