Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach

Written by Patti on December 15th, 2010

Good Morning Darlings!

Arriving from Atlanta on flight 46, Air Tran’s 717 touched down in West Palm Beach in what seemed like minutes from take off to landing.

We stepped out of the airport and were greeted by a warm, steamy breeze, indicative of Florida summers.

As we exited the taxi at The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, we were greeted by even more warmth, this time of the human variety. Dustin and crew handled our bags and Lexi at the front desk checked us in and made us feel very welcome.

Steve, our tourist guide/bellman, gave us the low down on every aspect of the property before we ever reached our room. And the room – although standard, was anything but as we gazed at the Atlantic Ocean from our ample balcony. This private spot would continue to be our own respite from the world during our stay.

The exquisite lobby

First order of business was lunch at Breeze. Starting with freshly prepared chips, salsa and guacamole and ending with a luscious seafood salad loaded with shrimp, lobster and hearts of palms, we were satisfied without being uncomfortable. Our new friend, Suzy, at the bar, made sure we had everything we needed.

Just what the doctor Breeze

Crunchy chips and creamy guacamole with fresh salsa

Seafood Salad - Seaside!

But what we needed next was a dip in the sea. We headed back up to the room for a change into bathing suits and off to the ocean. Be cautious of the many large rocks on the ocean bed. I was not paying attention and was rewarded with a nasty gash on the bottom of my foot. Helpful Joseph was prompt with antibacterial cream and bandages.

From ocean to the less treacherous poolside was our next venture. Surrounded by lounging stations and poolside beverage service, we had everything we wanted.

Oceanfront chaises

Wait, it gets better....

Lounging takes a lot of energy, so after a dip, we went back to our room for a short nap before dinner. At six o’clock, we met the lovely and gracious PR Director, Christine DiRocco, for dinner at Temple Orange. What a feast we were treated to in this beautiful space. Starting with wine for all of us, we asked Christine to guide us in our culinary journey. Starters included duck ravioli, burrata cheese and mussels, along with a gorgeous bread basket stocked with fresh baked goodies to be dipped into olive oil and parmesan cheese. Our entrees were a whole prepared branzino fish (watch for bones – this is an entire fish), grilled scallops over citrus risotto and lobster with tagliatelle. Restaurant manager, Rey and Stir manager James, gifted us with cocktail samples from the upcoming Pumpkinpalooza. A Pumpkin Au Pare and Pumpkin Tootsie Roll were most yummy and a fun taste of things to come at the resort. The meal ended with a bevy of desserts – a sampler of six to accompany the smores set up where we toasted our own marshmallows right at the table.

A temple of gastronomy

The restaurant's interior

Being with Christine gave us plenty to smile about.

Braised Duck Stuffed Ravioli

Luscious burrata cheese, roasted red peppers, fresh basil

Mussels with roasted tomatoes

Eric and I sample the pumpkin and tootsie roll martinis whipped up by Rey and James.

Scrumptious lobster good!

The beautiful grilled scallops over citrus risotto.

A whole branzino fish, dressed and sauteed to perfection.

The dessert tower - they spoil us so much!

Why eat only six desserts when you can have seven? Smores - the dessert's dessert.

The beach, the pool and this massive dinner were indeed sleep inducing.

Day Two found me up early to view a crew of volunteers cleaning up Lantana Beach by the hotel. I also had a chance to catch up with Hotel Manager, Donald Stamets, over coffee. Helen at Stir made the tastiest concoction for us both and we sat down to visit.

Sweet friend, Donald, and me at the beach clean-up.

My sleepy sweetie joins us for coffee at Stir.

With the promise that we would meet up for lunch after my facial, Donald and I parted ways and I made my way over to Eau Spa – what I would consider the heart and soul of the property. No trip to The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach would be complete without a visit to this glamorous oasis. You are instantly calmed the moment you walk in. I was greeted, asked to complete a small survey asking about any allergies I might have, and then handed a small votive holder with a lit candle inside and led to tiny reflecting pool, where I was asked to make a wish and set the votive a sail. The pool is surrounded by large mirrors, which enhance the promise that the experience is “all about you”. I was taken to a dressing room where I was issued a lush robe and flip flops and then onto to my treatment room. Today, my appointment was for a four handed facial. Two technicians, Wendy and Serena, massaged me into nirvana as my face was given new life. After my little slice of heaven, I dreamily wandered around the spa, noting playful little details like the James Harrington 300 wineglass chandelier, rubber ducks in the hot tub, and snow globes and carved penguins watching over the sauna.  Step through the doors into the Self Centered Garden and escape to another world. This is a magical world where it is truly all about you. Swinging chairs, a life-sized chess set and a beautiful fountain pool where you are not only encouraged to gaze upon, but climb into for your pleasure, complete the scene. I expected to see fairies and water nymphs frolicking here. They must have been hiding during my visit.

An oasis where it really is all about you.

The wishing pool.

Even the spa treats are magical.

James Harrington's spectacular 300 wine glass chandelier.

Serena and Wendy greet me at the treatment room.

Even the backsplash glimmers in the spa.

Take a dip in the hot tub with the ducks.

Or check your mate with the giant chess set.

Back to Temple Orange for lunch with Mr. Stamets, we enjoyed the roast beef and snapper paninis, accompanied by Tuscan fries, slathered in garlic. It was all luscious.

After lunch we took a walk across the street to peruse the small shopping area and popped next door to The Dune Deck – a jolly outpost of frozen concoctions and icy beers.

What next? Another nap, of course. With beds lavished in goose feathers, it’s hard not to succumb to their siren song. They win me over every time.  Drowsily arising, we pondered what to do for the evening. We didn’t think to rent a car at the airport and a cab ride from the hotel to downtown Delray Beach started at $40 one way, so we decided to stay put and have dinner at Stir, the lobby lounge. On the weekends, local favorite, Sushi Jo, is on hand rolling your sushi favorite right in the lobby, while local musicians and DJs provide the evening’s entertainment. We enjoyed the cheese plate, with its four luscious cheeses, fig preserves, honeycomb and nuts, alongside walnut raisin bread and crackers. Our sushi selections were the Red Light District and the Rainbow Roll. James, Manager of Stir, brought us his special libation of Grey Goose vodka, muddled fresh lime and raspberries. We let it slip that my husband was celebrating his birthday and we were treated to a special Happy Birthday dessert of mini cupcakes and macarons. Our server, Rachel and I, warbled Happy Birthday and the sweets were prompted devoured.

Moonlight on the water is irresistible and we wandered out to the cabanas to stretch out on a double chaise and enjoyed listening as the waves crashed onto the beach. One more nightcap and it was off to the lure of the goose feathers.

With late checkout, we slept in on Sunday and arose to greet Helen at Stir for one of her special coffees and a muffin. Sitting on the expansive terrace, listening to the surf, was the perfect way to start any day.

Cuddle up on the lavish outdoor terrace.

But alas, all good things must come to an end and it was time to pack up and fly home. Many thanks to the lovely staff at The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach for their extensive hospitality.

And again, I must tell you, as wonderful as the surroundings are at every Ritz-Carlton property, it is the people that make the experience otherworldly.

Go, visit – transport yourself to another planet. Planet RC.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Belinda Carlisle – Circle in the Sand

Temple Orange on Urbanspoon


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Patti says:

    Hi Chef Ashley,

    Couldn’t you just live there? It’s like a dream! xxoox, Patti