The Delray Beach Marriott was the landing pad this particular 48-hour weekend away. The intimate Mediterranean-style hotel is located on the Gold Coast of Florida midway between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach and is ideally positioned oceanfront, on the corner of A1A and Atlantic Avenue. This seaside hotel with full scale amenities (spa, room-service, gym, wi-fi, etc…) lends itself as a refuge for complete rest & relaxation, 32 steps to the ocean. If you cannot stay off-the-grid, wi-fi is free. Free. Free. Free. At the hotel login to wi-fi on the avenue and you’re connected; of course completely defeating the purpose of a weekend getaway.
NSpa at the Delray Beach Marriott is a full service spa/salon offering luxe treatments to hotel guests and local residents alike. So luxe, that after your treatment(s) you’re given the option to sip on a variety of Tea forté antioxidant amplifier teas which aid in repair and recovery (of course you’ll need it after all that muscle manipulation) or you can indulge in warm sipping chocolate with a side of fresh fruit skewers. I opted for the chocolate; and hesitantly took the fruit as well, I didn’t really want to eat but didn’t want to look sinful and gluttonous just sipping on velvet chocolate without an accoutrement. A friend who had her appointment after mine sipped on Champagne after her services…harrumph; I should have made a later appointment.
NSpa facial radiance services includes hydrating and repair facials as well as makeup application and warm oil scalp massages to complete the facial and cranial enhancement experience; (a little cranial enhancement never hurt anyone). The classic digit pampering of fingers and toes at NSpa is accelerated with their signature NSpa manicure and pedicure which focuses on exfoliating then moisturizing and conditioning skin the skin around the nailbeds. Body treatments at NSpa come in all forms of pampering including body wraps, cocoons, scrubs and massages. If you can’t decide on which service to indulge in a spa package complete with a spa lunch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean just might be in order.
Seacrest Grill, the casual dining restaurant at the Delray Beach Marriott serves a buffet brunch daily for $16/person. I found this to be a very pleasant surprise, as most buffet brunches without Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas start pricing at $20+/person. The multi-station buffet included the usual breakfast food suspects, omelets made to order, fresh baked pastries, bacon, sausage, eggs benedict, fresh fruit, etc… all this comes complete with very generous and unlimited pours of 10-oz glasses of fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice; I point this out because normally juice is served in those pre-adolescent 3-oz glasses that aren’t even a mouthful and you’re charged $4 for juice pulp. The juice alone is worth a stroll around the buffet at the Seacrest Grill. If you decide on coffee, the servers will leave a full pot on your table, so you’re never but a pour away from your gradual morning caffeine fix.
Other than the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice in the 10-oz glass, my favorite part of the breakfast was the make-your-own-waffles. Normally at brunch buffets these waffle machines are heavily guarded by impeccably dressed kitchen staff members resembling the likes of a Brinks armored truck driver. You can’t get within 4 feet of that machine. I don’t know what it is about restaurants and their waffle machines but I was doing a jig being able to make my own waffle. It really is the little things that make people so happy. By the way, it was the BEST waffle I’ve ever had. Delray Beach Marriott 10 North Ocean Boulevard Delray Beach, FL 33483 (561) 274-3200
Park it and move on. East Delray/Atlantic Avenue is meant for walking so you can discover, and uncover all the charming little Atlantic Avenue treasures including boutique shops, dynamic restaurants, fun pocket-sized eateries, art galleries, and a host of other unique seaside specialty shops. Why is it human nature to do things on vacation that you wouldn’t do at home when not on vacation? Like dance in the street at a zydeco festival, talk to people in the hotel elevator, and go parasailing? I don’t have the answer as I am completely guilty of doing the exact same thing. And to further prove my guilt my friends and I took a Segway tour. You know what Segways are, you see mall cops on them, freewheeling their way around mall corridors between Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Bath & Body Works. I’ll readily admit I always thought these personal transporters were ridiculous and made anyone on them even more so.
Well, I’m here to tell you I have joined the forces of looking ridiculous and had a blast doing it. 90 minutes of laughter and sheer fun none of us wanted the tour to end. The Segways were rented at The Electric Experience in Delray Beach and Zach was our patient and exceptional tour guide.
You cannot just rent a Segway and go tooling around in Delray as you would on a bicycle; you have to be a part of an organized tour, city ordinances. However don’t let that deter you, a narrated tour is all a part of the experience and we loved our tour guide; Zach was informative and engaging, like I said none of us wanted the tour to end. If you really cannot bring yourself to roll on a Segway, The Electric Experience also rents beach cruisers (normal bicycles) to the more sedated-style vacationer.
Atlantic Avenue is a restaurant mecca just waiting to serve you. One after another, 100+ eateries in all shapes, sizes and denominations; Asian-fusion, Italian, steakhouses, modern American, sushi, delis, bistros, wine bars you name it and it’s set up shop in the trendy Pineapple Grove/East Atlantic Avenue area of Delray Beach. This particular weekend we ate at the new 50 Ocean, the 2nd floor restaurant atop of the landmark Boston’s on the Beach, Buddha Sky Bar and Max’s Harvest. 50 Ocean is an upscale, oceanfront restaurant staking claim on the second floor of the 30+ year old Delray Beach moniker, Boston’s on the Beach which has been completely remodeled boasting quite a glammed up look.
Boston’s is still the go-to beach bar for live entertainment, but now has a shiny new stage and fancy strobe lighting to highlight the live bands. And Boston’s is still the go-to sports-watching venue on the beach but now it has more than 30 TV’s for continuous game coverage and Tebow fever.
To show off its proud new look Boston’s has added breakfast to its restaurant service 7-days a week making this polished-up gem open morning, noon and night; Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Boston’s on the Beach 40 South Ocean Boulevard Delray Beach, Florida 33483 561-278-3364 50 Ocean is sleek and chic, both in the dining room and lounge area. 50 Ocean seems to have found quite the local audience just a few short days after opening. The expansive restaurant seats 250 people both indoors and on the outdoor porch which just happens to come with unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean giving this restaurant ideal bragging rights to location, location, location. The menu is heavily focused on seafood with a smattering of steak, pasta and fowl choices for landlubbers. Recommended menu items, Conch Ceviche, Artisan Cheese Platter, Fish Tacos, and the Crispy Whole Belly Clams. 50 Ocean 40 South Ocean Boulevard Delray Beach, FL 33483 561-278-3364
Buddha Sky Bar is a pan-Asian fusion restaurant on Atlantic Avenue discreetly located on the 3rd floor of the 217 building; an ideal corner lot building giving way to picture perfect use of the unique glass atrium which allows for birds-eye views of the lively Atlantic Avenue below. This chic restaurant and bar is intimate and sultry. The décor is dark and languid, setting the tone for a seemingly clandestine dining experience. Sexy lounging banquettes with hightop tables frame the atrium glass wall, which seem to be the coveted tables in the cozy dining room. The attentive Katie was our server who never missed a beat and was spot on with recommendations and communication with the kitchen regarding our menu sharing ways. There is a lot of local hype about Buddah Sky Bar and it definitely lives up to it. Recommended menu items, Edamame with truffle oil, Rock Shrimp Tempura, Mushroom Dumplings, Spicy Tuna, Red Dragon Roll, Spicy White Widow and the Veggie Roll. Buddha Sky Bar 217 East Atlantic Avenue Delray Beach, FL 33444 (561) 450-7557
The seven month old Max’s Harvest in Pineapple Grove is another restaurant in the fashionable East Delray area living up to the hype. Breakfast and brunch is my thing, I enjoy the food and breakfast beverage (Bloody Mary’s) experience; and if the restaurant has a water view or is situated in a garden, even better. While many restaurants in Miami boast and pride themselves on the farm to table concept, it is a slow moving model in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Max’s Harvest has found much success right from the get-go with its “farm to fork” menu despite being quietly tucked away in the up and coming Pineapple Grove area of Delray Beach. Similar to Buddah Sky Bar, location doesn’t matter if you’re serving it right; build it and they will come. The venerable Dennis Max is the name behind Max’s Harvest but it is the kitchen talent of Executive Chef, Chris Miracolo who is putting this restaurant on the South Florida culinary map. This particular Sunday brunch lasted three hours and once again we did the sharing thing where we were able to slowly graze upon many of Miracolo’s extraordinary dishes such as the Pork Belly Benedict, Cheddar Sage Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, Broward County Mozzarella Burrata Salad, Braised Akaushi Shortrib Grilled Cheese and Maine Lobster & Artichoke Frittata. Max’s Harvest 169 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444 561-381- 9970
Click here to view the food photos from all four restaurants I found myself completely relaxed and rejuvenated when I got home Sunday night but even more so on Monday. It was a great weather weekend to be in a seaside town in January; especially with friends, of which, we all share a common interest in food, drink and travel making this 48 hours away a launching pad for the next 48 hours.