Hello!

Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When I Go...The Hotel

There seems to be some debate, even now, post-Ghostbusters, as to whether our spirits can inhabit a favorite place after they do not need our shells any longer. I have no firm opinion on the topic, but I am hedging my bets. If my non-encapsulated spirit should happen to NEED a place to alight, I hereby request the Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. I love this hotel. It meets all of my criteria for a great restorative spot. The entrance above is the first clue that you are entering the realm of sophisticated lodgings. The lobby is another. Pure "old Florida". Just waiting for Barrymore to walk through...

First, it is in a residential neighborhood but close to diversions. The street running by the front is quiet and dignified. And only a short block from the glorious shopping, strolling and tippling of Worth Avenue! Perfect peace and quiet pervades the entire block on which the Brazilian Court sits. Ceiling fans swirl the perfect Florida air, containing hints of citrus and sea salt. The voices of various birds just barely audible. Just walking up through the front doors of the Brazilian Court does two things. Immediately relaxes you. Immediately makes you feel like a star--of the Clark Gable school. The latter not an easy task after one has just tossed the keys of the usual business microbox rental car to the attendant.

Second, it has a great history. Think Barrymore. Garbo. Cary Grant. Think romantic getaways. Trysts. Staying here is like entering a very pleasant time machine. That takes you back to an era of true gentility. The folks that run and work at the Brazilian Court make sure it is, and stays, that way.

Third, it has a great restaurant. Chef Daniel Boulud needs little introduction. His restaurant at the B.C. is just a marvelous place. It has a pretty decor, sunny and bright during the day...

And with a few lighting adjustments, demure and svelte at night. On my last visit, I had a marvelous tartine of squab with mushroom duxelle and truffle sauce. Squab which almost made me sob. With pleasure. Perfect service, perfect food, great wine list. I could eat at this restaurant every meal, every day. The ultimate hotel dining experience. In three seasons of the Florida year, you can enjoy dinner on the outside patio, gazing at the twinkling lights and majestic palms around the center courtyard. Here is a view looking toward the dining patio...


You may want to forego returning to your room and just sit outside all night, sipping a very good Calvados and awaiting sunrise. And the extraordinary breakfast menu at Boulud. I tried an open air sojourn one night, although I cannot say the sitting/napping outside part was entirely voluntary.

Fourth, this hotel has lovely, lodge-like rooms of the sort that, once settled in, one does not want to leave...

This man is not me. Needless to say. I understand him not wanting to leave the room. I meant to tell you, the bath robes at this place are really fine. And the beds are very inviting. I digress. Some of the rooms are very large, some are quite small...

This was not my bed. I am not sure this bed would fit into the room I ask for when I arrive. No matter. I do not require massive lodgings. What I do require is coziness and a restorative atmosphere. My favorite room at the B.C. has that in the extreme. Along with a twenty bottle wine cellar. A spacious shower and huge tub. I am not much for taking baths [although I do heartily endorse bathing], but a glass of chilled Tokaj wine and a long soak was certainly called for at the close of one of the days of my last visit. To restore. And contemplate. Nothing like Tokaj and a long, hot, bath to reconnect the senses and prepare one for dreamless sleep. Or at least to chase away the visions of pale peach satin engendered by the hotel room brochure. If additional assistance for dreamless sleep is needed, the rooms have wet bars containing all a cocktailing man could require. The tireless staff will stock up the bar with anything you need if you give them a couple of minutes of notice before you arrive. But why would you do that? Because...

Fifth, the B.C. has a great, small bar...

I typically, and correctly, raise an eyebrow at any bar that is slung into the middle of a hallway, but at the Brazilian Court, it just works. Plus, John the barman is top-rate. And the people I have met at the bar have always been sociable and fun. The pecky cypress paneling doesn't hurt either. Just the cozy place for a pre-dinner cocktail or an after dinner cordial. Or both. The bar and the people who frequented it on my last few visits were so engaging that I left the very comfortable confines of Boulud in order to belly-up to the bar for my Calvados.

It should, by now, be clear to return readers that I am not a "lets take a few laps around the pool" sort of guy. I am, however, a famous "lets go stretch out in a lounge chair by the pool with the paper and a silver pot of freshly ground, very strong black coffee" guy. The Brazilian Court has the perfect pool for just such activities...
Nothing better than to be sipping coffee in one of those fine robes and gazing absentmindedly at the paper while other people are swimming laps.

I have written before that at the best sort of places one feels enhanced. Part of the enhancement is that at the best sort of places one tends to meet the most charming people. Both of which are certainly true of the Brazilian Court Hotel of Palm Beach. This is a place where you dig out the crinkled, seersucker trousers and the double breasted navy blazer with plenty of gold buttons. Where you go to live, or re-live, a little. This inviting, well-run and vastly restorative hideaway comes with the highest Epic recommendation.

4 comments:

Belle de Ville said...

What a wonderful review. I was actually looking for a new hotel in Palm Beach. The next time I am there I will try this hotel.

M.Lane said...

Belle, I'll see you at the bar...

ML

Listening Tunes said...

Looks fantastic!

Wasn't there a restaurant in the Atlanta airport that you had mentioned some time ago? I only ask because I'll be traveling through there shortly and we've got a much too long layover. Am I mistaken?

M.Lane said...

LT, the restaurant is called One Flew South and it is in the E Concourse.

ML