The best tips on how to navigate the exclusive, cliquish town where Bill Gates, Ben Carson and Ariana Grande have homes and access to the president costs $200,000.
Palm Beach, the town upon which President Donald Trump once waged war, can now thank him for a 40 percent increase in retail business due to an influx of tourists and rising real-estate values. Though Trump used to frequently sue Palm Beach for various grievances, including a $75 million law suit in 1995 for allowing planes to fly over his private club Mar-a-Lago, he now enjoys free air space over his winter White House, and has doubled initiation fees to $200,000. And Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club, the neighboring club that reportedly snubbed Trump upon his arrival, now has to graciously accommodate the cars of Mar-a-Lago members and guests in their parking lot due to security closures. As interesting a time as it is to visit Palm Beach right now, it's a cliquish area, so travelers may wish to consult THR's insider's guide for optimum navigation.
HOW TO GET THERE
The airline with cushy seats, snacks, free Wi-Fi and first-run movies has so many flights to West Palm that even billionaires and society types hangar their private jets and go commercial, especially since Trump's visits have made flying private more challenging. The seating is also very democratic, with no first class on the airline's six flights a day from LAX to PBI. Hillary Clinton, Hugh Jackman, Lady Gaga, Kate Bosworth and Matt Lauer are among those who have been spotted on JetBlue, and we certainly know the Trumps use it: Anti-Trump passengers accosted Ivanka and Jared Kushner on a flight this winter. jetblue.com
Palm Beach Island
Separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Worth, it is a wonderland of pocket parks and Mediterranean architecture. Rod Stewart and Howard Stern are among Trump's coastal road A1A neighbors, and Stern apparently hired designers Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper to design a special cat room for his wife Beth's foster kittens. Two in Trump's political circle — Rudy Giuiliani and Wilbur Ross — also own homes on the island, as do James Patterson, Rush Limbaugh, Mehmet Oz and Stockard Channing. Netscape founder Jim Clark bought his Maurice Fatio-designed home for $137 million, and this past November, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold for $34 million a parcel of oceanfront property that he had purchased in 2008 for $95 million from Trump (who bought it out of bankruptcy for $41 million). Charles S. Cohen — who produced Frozen River, owns the Pacific Design Center and purchased the Merchant Ivory film library — has a home at the Breakers residences.
Traditionally more affordable and diverse than the island, it's the home of funky shops, restaurants and nightlife, but also the Trump Plaza condos, and prices are moving on up. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has a home there, as does Trump nemesis Rosie O'Donnell. The soon-to-open Bristol will have apartments ranging from $5 million to $22 million, with 65 percent of the building already sold and Apple CEO Tim Cook rumored to be in the mix.
The golfer's mecca is home to the PGA tournaments, the beloved Gardens Mall and lots of busy restaurants. It offers the South Florida lifestyle at gentler prices than further south and attracts sports celebs like golfer Rory McIlroy.
It's perceived as a kind of Alaska in Florida — full of rugged guys who sail, fish and golf, as well as top athletes. Serena Williams bought her home in the gated Bears Club community for $4 million in 2013, Michael Jordan has a home there worth $12.5 million, and Tiger Woods owns a house on Jupiter Island appraised at about $50 million. Kid Rock has a home in Jupiter, and Celine Dion's Jupiter home is on the market for $38.5 million, down from the $72 million she first listed it at four years ago.
Equestrian activities and daughters who love horses have been a lure for Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Harvey, Tommy Lee Jones and Mitt Romney, all of whom own homes here, and princes Charles and Harry are visitors. It's 20 minutes west of downtown Palm Beach, but home prices are soaring. "We've always told people to get as close to water as they can afford because it's what defines Palm Beach," says Angela Koch, an agent at Douglas Elliman (and ex-wife of oil billionaire Bill Koch, brother of GOP supporters Charles and David Koch). "It's not anywhere close to anything that looks like water, in the middle of nowhere, and it's gone through the roof, with houses going for $30 million. It's insane!"
Drive south on coastal road A1A past Mar-a-Lago and you will hit this area, where Billy Joel has eight acres. The estate of the Ziff family, of publishers Ziff Davis, is now for sale — and it's one of the most expensive homes in the country at $195 million.
One of the few South Florida towns that can be navigated on foot, this area south of Palm Beach has gained steam in the last few years, and now hundreds of restaurants and night spots line its main street, Atlantic Avenue. Prices have escalated along with the town's appeal: Kevin James bought a house there for $18.5 million in 2013 and sold it last July for $26 million.
Trump brought Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to this city's Morikami Museum and its Japanese gardens. There are no oceanfront homes at all available in this town right now, according to broker Rhonda Scott. Adam Sandler has a home there and bought a Boca condo for his mom, and Ariana Grande, Jon Bon Jovi and Shannon Woodward are all homeowners.
WHERE TO STAY
Sofia Vergara was married at the iconic Addison Mizner-designed oceanfront resort, Brooke Shields spoke at a charity event there last month, and over the holidays Sylvester Stallone was spotted poolside with his wife. It has four swimming pools and several restaurants, including the newly renovated Seafood Bar, and the Flagler steakhouse, which has a terrace overlooking the golf course. A few years ago, a stodgy French lobby dining room was morphed into a Mad Men-inspired bar called HMF, serving sushi and small plates. It caught on like wildfire and now draws patrons from all over the area. Last October, a new ultraluxury section of the hotel with private concierge called Flagler Club opened on two floors of the hotel. $699-$2,800 per night. 1 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; (561) 655-6611; thebreakers.com
In the early '60s, this hotel served as the summer residence for the former Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson. Situated across from Worth Avenue and a block from the beach, it has a Lily Pulitzer sensibility, with many pink and green rooms. Lunch is served around the landscaped pool, dinner is at the fine Polo Restaurant, and cabaret singers entertain in the little Royal Room (Tony Danza appeared in March). Friday nights locals line up for Motown music and dancing. The hotel provides bikes, so ask the valet for a map of the trails, which afford a prime view of amazing homes. $429-$1,200 per night. 155 Hammon Ave., Palm Beach; (561) 655-5430; thecolonypalmbeach.com
A distinctly European feel dominates this boutique hotel, a stone's throw from the Everglades Club, and conveniently located near the lovely walking path that runs adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. It's home to the legendary Leopard Lounge, which has live music and dancing along. $385-$1,050 per night. 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach; (561) 659-5800; chesterfieldpb.com.
A magical courtyard filled with trees and plants is at the center of this upscale hotel in town, which has a Frederic Fekkai salon, a Daniel Boulud restaurant, suites with wooden sleigh beds and top-notch service. Billy Crystal, Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall have all been spotted there. $529-$2,800 per night. 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach; (561) 655-7740; thebraziliancourt.com
The Four Seasons
When Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman held his 70th birthday party last month, this chic oceanfront hotel was the choice for many of his guests who didn't have Palm Beach residences. It has a luxe spa that has just added medical services, so you can get Coolsculpting in the morning and look thinner on the beach in the afternoon. The Italian restaurant, Jove, offers farm-to-table dishes and an outdoor patio. $599-$5,899 per night. 2800 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach; (561) 582-2800; fourseasons.com/palmbeach
Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa
Tideline has a spa offering nighttime massages ($250) and microcurrent facials ($85 for 30 minutes), the recently upgraded Brandon's restaurant, and a fabulous pool — and it's more affordable than the neighboring Four Seasons. Oliver Stone, Mike Tyson, Sheryl Crowe and Snoop Dogg have been guests. $359-$759 per night. 2842 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach; (561) 540-6440; tidelineresort.com
Singer Island Marriott
Just north of Palm Beach proper, the island was purchased by the sewing machine tycoon for his wife; this is its premier hotel. Rooms are lofty, spacious suites complete with kitchens and laundry rooms, and the spa offers a cleansing hydrofacial with a hyperbaric oxygen add-on ($265). $679-$1,039 per night. 3800 N. Ocean Dr., Singer Island, Riviera Beach; 561.340.1700; marriott.com/pbisg
Jupiter Beach Resort
Some of the most beautiful stretches of beach make up this spot's backyard. Rooms have spectacular ocean vistas, and their restaurant, Sinclair's, is worth a visit for dishes like braised pork shank with porcini mushrooms, asiago polenta, and lemon watercress in a fennel sage braising juice ($28). $410-$1,500 per night. 5 North A1A; (561) 746-2511; jupiterbeachresort.com
A separate area with luxury duplexes and a private pool has been added to this hotel, which faces the ocean in hopping Delray. Shirley MacLaine, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Bill O'Reilly have all been guests. There is a jewel box of a spa, and the lobby restaurant O'Grady's serves a continental menu with entrees like grilled shrimp with penne and roasted artichoke and shiitakes. $329-$511 per night. 10 N. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach; (561) 274-3200; marriott.com
Boca Raton Resort and Club
Another grand Addison Mizner creation, this hotel has rooms at its beach club as well as the main resort, and features a golf course, tennis courts and six restaurants. The spa is modeled after the Alhambra palace in Spain and has a private pool with piped-in music and a bathhouse where you are fed sorbet as you soak. Julianne Hough, Derek Hough and Maria Menounos all attended Tony Robbins' annual conference that he holds at the hotel, while former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was at the resort as a keynote speaker for a different conference. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron shot the soon-to-be-released Baywatch movie here. $299-$1,250 per night. 501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton; (561) 447-3000; bocaresort.com
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Chinese president Xi Jinping stayed at this oceanside resort in Manalapan just up the road from Mar A Lago last week when he was in Palm Beach for meetings with Trump. The hotel is famed for its whimsical spa with floating rubber ducks, colored lights in the steam room and luxe couples suites. Lanai rooms allow guests direct access to the pool or beach, and the new Breeze Ocean kitchen provides al fresco dining with a water view. $499- $6,000 per night. 100 South Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; (561) 533-6000; eaupalmbeach.com
THE PRIVATE CLUBS
Initiation fees for private clubs run six figures: Insiders say Everglades is approximately $250,000 and Trump recently said he was doubling the Mar-a-Lago fee to $200,000. Some residents hold memberships to both the exclusive beach club Palm Beach Bath and Tennis and, for the golfing, Everglades — pretty steep when you consider that these places close or have severely limited hours in the summer months. Those in the know say Koch Industries' David Koch is the only one who has a membership to the Everglades as well as the Palm Beach Country Club.
Home to Donald Trump, it was established as a club in 1995. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley spent their honeymoon at this palatial estate; Rod Stewart is a member; Celine Dion and Billy Joel have performed here; and Shannon Donnelly, a longtime society columnist for Palm Beach Daily News (called "the Shiny Sheet" by locals) reported that Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez had sex in front of the windows of the adjacent Bath and Tennis Club while they were guests of Trump. This New Year's Eve, Sylvester Stallone was at Mar-a-Lago's party, and attendees freely posted selfies."You had to go through checkpoints and they opened the trunk and hood of your car, but once inside Donald was very friendly, shaking hands and letting people take pictures," reports philanthropist Jean Shafiroff. Access to a president has never been within such easy reach — for the wealthy — and this situation prompted Democrats to introduce a bill in March called the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act, or the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require the administration to disclose the names of people who visit the White House or "any other location at which the President or the Vice President regularly conducts official business." 1100 S Ocean Blvd.
Established in 1919, it is situated on a yacht marina and has a golf course on the Intracoastal. Legend has it that Joseph Kennedy resigned from this club because of its restrictive policies regarding minority members. Socialite C.Z. Guest was scolded for bringing Estee Lauder to lunch (apparently the Jewish restriction applied to guests as well as members) and Sammy Davis Jr. was refused entrance. 356 Worth Ave.
Palm Beach Bath and Tennis
Opened in 1927, this club is notoriously exclusive and has hardly changed since then. It faces Mar-a-Lago but its image is the polar opposite — as low-key as Trump's palace is glitzy. 1170 S. Ocean Blvd.
Palm Beach Country Club
By 1953, there were enough powerful Jewish residents to start their own club and its roster included moguls like Charles Bronfman and Jon Tisch, who are both still active, billionaire investor Henry Kravis, and, most infamously, Bernie Madoff. Part of the admissions process includes proving you've donated over a million dollars to charity in a year, according to one regular. 760 N. Ocean Blvd.
WHERE TO DINE
Howard Stern, Sarah Jessica Parker and Billy Joel have all lunched in the Mediterranean courtyard, a social must. Choose salads like crabmeat with romaine, corn, hearts of palm and roasted pumpkin ($22), or heartier options such as perfectly al dente ravioli stuffed with roasted veal and topped with mixed mushrooms and fresh thyme ($27). 313 Worth Ave.; (561) 835-1600; bice-palmbeach.com
The buzzy scene at this farm-to-table spot in the PGA area brings in younger golfing professionals and top athletes like Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan for dishes like za'atar-grilled Faroe Island salmon with zucchini pancakes, caramelized cauliflower and quinoa couscous ($29) and Delmonico steak with market vegetables ($41). 4610 PGA Blvd.; (561) 622-0032; thecooperrestaurant.com
This New York and Southampton favorite Italian restaurant opened an outpost in Palm Beach, and getting a seat is already a challenge. The pastry counter is a temptation for even the most disciplined diner. Martha Stewart and Rudy Giuliani were among the early guests. 340 Royal Poinciana Way; (561) 285-7990; santambroeus.com
Star chef Daniel Boulud's Palm Beach outpost has one of the most romantic garden settings around. Standout dishes include sunflower crusted loup de mare ($42), spanner crab fra diavolo ($27), and bacon crusted pork chop ($42). 301 Australian Ave.; (561) 655-6060; cafeboulud.com.
A great place to stop for pasta, fish or steak when you visit West Palm's outdoor shopping mall, City Place, this American brasserie is also close to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. An in-house fromagier helps pair cheese with the extensive wine list, and you might even see Rod Stewart. 700 South Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach; (561) 366-0071; citycellarwpb.com.
L.A. diners will feel at home visiting this health-oriented restaurant that offers a range of options, from warm butternut squash and brussels sprouts salad ($12) or grilled avocado wedges with spiced mango ($12), to cabernet braised short ribs ($28). 125 Datura St., West Palm Beach; (561) 623-0822; avocadogrillwpb.com
SHOPS AND SERVICES
On South Dixie Highway in West Palm, "there are many more antique dealers on one stretch than one will find in New York or L.A.," says Cedric Dupont, who owns a gallery in the area. He decorated parts of the Mar-a-Lago club with French and continental antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries and has worked with Trump for 20 years. "I get 60 to 80 new items per month," he says. Other spots worth checking out in the area are Faustina Pace Antiques & Interiors, D & G Antiques, The Elephant's Foot and Churchill Galleries, all on South Dixie. For Dupont's store: 3415 S Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach; (561) 835-1319; cedricdupontantiques.com
Patricia Ozburn has been concierge at the Marriott, which overlooks the ocean, for 17 years. Delray is an expert on all things Palm Beach: "People tend to stay on Atlantic Avenue, but Second Avenue and the Pineapple Grove area are hidden treasures filled with unique shops and wonderful little restaurants," she advises. (561) 274-3200
Hairstylist to the stars
Tonsorial guru Paul Labreque has stylists and estheticians who arrive at your hotel ready to transform. Emily Blunt, Renee Zellweger, Naomi Campbell and author Jill Kargman are among his clients. $150-$500. (917) 796-8636; paullabreque.com.
Alicia Hunter, who extends the lashes of the area's socialites and celebs, works out of the prestigious Salon Magrit on Palm Beach Island, but also makes house calls. $400 for a full set; $125 for a touch-up. (561) 315-0190; email@example.com.
A specialist in deep tissue, David Lett is one of the best in town and can be booked through the Four Seasons. 50 minutes start at $160. (561) 533-3715