The Insider’s Guide to Palm Beach

February 5, 2020

Due for the perfect warm-weather jaunt? Look no further than the tony island of Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to the pristine beaches and turquoise waters, this charming town is brimming with stunning Gilded Age architecture, verdant gardens, world class museums and top-flight restaurants. For the best spots around town, who better to ask than Caroline Rafferty, local designer and co-founder (with her mom Julie Fisher Cummings!) of The Grand Tour, a beautifully curated bazaar of new and vintage pieces.



The lobby at The Breakers was modeled after Rome’s Villa Medici.Courtesy of The Breakers

The Breakers: “My favorite place for a stay-cation. It’s old world luxury at its finest. The lobby and lounge restaurant, HMF, make you feel as though you’ve been taken back in time to an era of indescribable glamour.”

A preppy chic, yet utterly serene room at The Colony Hotel.Courtesy of The Colony Hotel

The Colony Hotel: “So iconically Palm Beach, and the new Swifty’s is a nice addition to our local restaurant scene. A friend of mine and her husband purchased the hotel a few years ago, and they’re doing a remarkable job of reimagining the hotel in a modern way while still remaining true to its historical significance and landmark status.”




Sleek leather banquettes and wood walls make for a cozy atmosphere.Courtesy of Honor Bar

Honor Bar: “My absolute favorite lunch spot. I love the decor, especially the art—the room is covered in artwork by Jonas Wood, one of my personal favorites. Definitely order the deviled eggs, spicy kale salad, tuna burger and hummus—just maybe not all at once!”

Celis Produce: “Best smoothies, Açai bowls and juices, and right at The Royal! I loved their holiday pumpkin açaí bowl and keep asking them to make it for me even though the holidays are over and it’s off the menu.”

Imoto: “Amazing Japanese. The bar scene reminds me a lot of Cheers. If you want to run into people and catch up, this is where you go! The special Negri yellow tail and Saki-Tini are out of this world.”

HMF at the Breakers: “The coolest lounge scene. The food here is family style and the menu is an elevated take on food truck offerings. My go-to’s are the artichoke hearts and Greek salad.”




Ann Norton’s Seven Beings sculpture was created in situ over 15 years.Courtesy of the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

The Ann Norton Sculpture Garden: “Set on the property of the late artist Ann Norton, the gardens are home to her original studio where visiting artists participate in residencies. The grounds and sculptures found within offer a beautiful escape on stressful days.”

The Norton Museum: “Recently redesigned by Sir Norman Foster, it’s a game changer for the cultural landscape in Palm Beach. The design is remarkable and the perfect setting for a wonderful lineup of shows and visiting collections. The current show on Georgia O’Keefe is truly world class.”

Pan’s Garden at the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach: “It’s like a little oasis right on the island. The garden’s focus is on the importance of native plants and the Foundation does such important work to maintain and steward Palm Beach’s rich historical environment.”

The South Florida Science Center for the Kids: “One of the best local museums for children. They have hands-on activities that expose children and adults to STEM. The early childhood room is a life saver on rainy days! And their new exhibit on the brain is beyond fascinating.”

The Flagler Museum is also known as Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age mansion.Courtesy of Flagler Museum

The Flagler Museum: “Like stepping back in time. Restored to its original condition, the building used to be the home of Henry Flagler and speaks of a by-gone era. My favorite newer building in Palm Beach, The Pavilion, is on the property and houses Flagler’s rail car. It’s a beautiful example of the Beaux-Art style and was designed by one of my favorite architectural firms, Smith and Moore.”



Serenella: “The owner, Leslie, has the best mix of my favorite designers. From Borgo del Nor to Erdem and Gucci, she has the most amazing eye and knows just what will flatter my figure. Plus, she’s our neighbor at The Grand Tour!”

Kirna Zabete: “This shop has totally changed the Palm Beach shopping scene. It was designed by Stephen Gambrel, so it has the most gorgeous interiors. The clothes range from Valentino to Dolce & Gabbana with great casual lines sprinkled in—it’s so perfectly curated, and the staff is super friendly.”

Mary Mahoney: “Best tabletop store period! Mary has been a huge supporter throughout my time opening The Grand Tour. I grew up going there with my mother. She has thrived on the island for so many years because she’s a wonderful person and has hands-down the best taste out there.”

Interview has been edited and condensed.


The Great Room designed by Suzanne Kasler. Nickolas Sargent

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