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White Elephant Palm Beach: New England Ease in South Florida

The property offers access to world-class golfing, luxury shopping and the beach, all in a casual setting

White Elephant / Photo: Courtesy of Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

This boutique hotel comes to the island enclave of Palm Beach by way of another island enclave—Nantucket, the flagship of White Elephant Resorts. Like its sister property to the north, it brings a relaxed New England ease to one of South Florida’s more buttoned-up locales. But that’s the appeal of a White Elephant stay. Near some of the country’s priciest real estate and handy to world-class golfing, luxury shopping and the beach, this hotel has a casual and contemporary charm set within gilded surroundings.

Arriving at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Bradley Place, I was promptly brought to check-in, where the friendly and young staff was attentive and always ready to assist. The lobby area, which feels like an inviting living room in calming neutral tones, features a collection of art books and a commissioned work by Orit Fuchs titled The Lady of the House. Here, early risers can get their caffeine fix with complimentary teas and coffee, as well as pastries.

Lobby featuring Orit Fuchs’ The Lady of the House / Photo: Courtesy of Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

I found this property to be one of the more unique offerings in the boutique category. There isn’t a spa (cold-plunge in the ocean and sweat in the sun if that’s what you’re craving), but when you’re staying in one of the 13 guest rooms or 19 suites—particularly a deluxe one-bedroom with a private balcony overlooking the courtyard and petite swimming pool—it’s hard for the hotel not to feel like your own coastal bungalow. Or to feel like the lady of the house.

Pool deck / Photo: Courtesy of Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

I was lucky to snag a corner suite, which included a wonderfully spacious separate living room, an absurdly comfortable king-size bed with plush Italian linens, and a double-vanity marble bathroom with rainfall shower. Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the interiors in soft palettes that complement the natural lighting.

Living room / Photo: Courtesy of Chi-Thien Nguyen/Elkus Manfredi Architects

Those who fancy Mediterranean Revival architecture—a style synonymous with Palm Beach courtesy of Addison Mizner—will appreciate the 1920s landmark building, whose black-and-white awnings accent terracotta tiles.

It’s identifiable from blocks away, which is helpful going to and from the beach, where umbrellas, chairs and towels can be arranged upon request.

The only aesthetic disconnect from the beach-casual ambiance is on-site restaurant Lola 41. But for those that want a taste of Palm Beach after dark—the music turned up, the lighting dim, a bar scene of “Page Six” starlets—it’s prime for people-watching over Asian-inspired bites. I preferred the outdoor patio space, where under black-and-white umbrellas one can relax in a breezier and quieter setting.

A BMW 7 Series courtesy car is available for guests who need local transportation. I opted for two wheels instead of four, taking advantage of the complimentary bicycles. It’s worth pedaling for an afternoon on Worth Avenue, where one can lunch at Le Bilboquet and browse at Raptis Rare Books.

White Elephant Palm Beach is a top hospitality contender that perfects the beach getaway by making you feel comfortable and taken care of. In a zip code with larger, more historic hotels, opt for something more intimate, complete with refined elegance. To this day, White Elephant’s branded beach tote is one of my go-to travel bags. I didn’t have buyer’s remorse—I’m just remorseful that I’m no longer checked in.