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Weekend Unexplored: Boca Raton, Florida

When the temperature drops, northeast snowbirds flock to southern Florida to take in the warm temperature and sun. Boca Raton is a small city located in southern Florida filled with famed architecture of nouveau-riche architect Addison Mizne from the 1920’s. The city has a history as a playground for the affluent, but we found the city to be cozy on our recent workcation. In this post, we will showcase a few places that surprised us in a good way.

Stay and Play:

Resort: We had an opportunity to stay at the historic Waldorf Astoria’s Boca Resort and Beach Club. The hotel started in 1926 as the Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn designed by Addison Mizne in orange and pink with Mediterranean and Spanish influences. The resort is situated on 356 gorgeously landscaped acres and includes the Cloister, Beach Club, Tower, Yacht Club, Boca Bungalows and Golf Club. We had the Cloister Estate 2 Doubles that has updated classic luxury interiors. The rooms range from small to spacious at the resort. We had a small double room on the ground floor on our first night and the walls are paper thin. We could hear everything so the resort moved us to a much larger room upstairs. The service at the resort was hit or miss. We generally received great service as befitting of a luxury hotel, but we found ourselves flagging down attendants at the various dining establishments constantly. The grounds are stunning and expansive so we took leisurely walks after our dinner. I would recommend a stay at this historic hotel.

Official Photos courtesy of Boca Resort and Beach Club

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Our photos

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Waldorf Astoria Spa: We took advantage of a spa deal that was offered for the Ritual Bath during our stay. The spa treatment includes access to the gorgeous private spa pool and its amenities. The spa pool is much nicer than the main pool at the resort. We also had a light lunch at the spa terrace and unwound after the morning travel. I would highly recommend the Ritual Bath which is a series of relaxing water baths including an aroma bath, Swiss shower, plunge pool and a Jacuzzi. This service took approximately one hour and was similar to a Turkish bath.

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Beach Club: Guests at the resort has access to the 5 stars Beach Club located across the inlet. We took advantage of this and laid out in the sun at the private beach for a day. The beach service was exceptional as one would expect from the Waldorf Astoria.

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We found the dining at the resort to be average and very expensive. We had much better food and service once we found a few hidden gems within 15 minutes of the resort.

At the Resort

Morimoto: This is a high end sushi restaurant from the famed Iron Chef Morimoto. The sushi was good but prices were too high for what we received. The interiors are modern and trendy. Sushi rolls start around $10+ and sushi entrees start at $50.

Palm Court: We had lunch at the Palm Court during our conference and the menu is basic Mediterranean. The food was average and the limited staff was overwhelmed by the number of people eating at peak time. Entrées are around $20.

Mizne’s Monkey Bar: This has to be my favorite hidden bar at the resort. It has gorgeous monkey themed interiors and the bar tender was fantastic. We came here a few times to unwind after a long day.

Outside the Resort

Papa’s Raw Bar: This is an eclectic new restaurant with a menu spanning a raw bar, sushi and everything else under the sun. The sushi and the seafood are excellent. The prices are very affordable and service is personal. This is very much a local place as we were the only tourist at the time. We highly recommend this restaurant the next time you are in Boca. Most dishes are under $25.

True: This is a nondescript restaurant that specializes in home-cook dishes such as crab cakes and related recipes from the Maryland area. Frank Hawkins, the owner, is charming and takes great pride in his restaurant. He greeted us and made us feel like we stepped into his home for an evening. The prices are very reasonable where dinner for two with appetizers, entrée, desert and wine came out to be less than $100. Entrees are less than $20.

Patio Tapas and Beer: We also had an opportunity to visit this small restaurant and bar with surprisingly innovative and beautifully plated tapas. We had a variety of tapas and all were delicious. After an evening of food and endless sangria, we could still eat more tapas if not for the protest from our stomachs. I would not recommend eating outside as there were a lot of mosquitos. Tapas range from $5 to $15 per plate.

TwentyTwenty Grille: For our last dinner, we wanted to try the tasting menu at this small and intimate restaurant that serves contemporary international cuisine. The restaurant is run by Chef Ron Weisheit and his wife. The service and food dictate this should be more upscale, yet the whole experience was very much down to earth. This is the best of both worlds. The dishes are either inventive or a solid take on the traditional. Our favorite dish of the night was the New Zealand rack of lamb with balsamic tomatoes, rosemary gnocchi and peppered lamb reduction.  Entrees range from $30 to $50.

Let us know if you have other favorites in Boca.

For related articles, visit the TRAVEL page.

Author: Chau Hoang

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