By. Merilee Kern
Just south of Palm Beach, along Florida’s eastern coast, lies scenic Deerfield Beach—a city well known for its pristine and clean coastline and the array of recreational water activities delighting both residents and tourists. Here world-class boating, fishing, diving, boarding and more are all within close range. Other nearby attractions include golf courses, polo clubs and the famous Quiet Waters Park—the 430-acre R&R zone that’s home to many campgrounds, skate parks, the “Splash Adventure” attraction and the longest cable ski course in the nation.
Even as it continues to grow in popularity, Deerfield Beach is a small community—one that values privacy. Nowhere is this better exemplified, it would seem, than at the Royal Blues Hotel. This uber-boutique property sits peacefully on South Florida’s Gold Coast directly across from a white sand beach, and just a brief 5-minute (or less) walk from the area’s popular international fishing pier. With only 12 lavishly appointed rooms overlooking drop dead gorgeous ocean views, delivering a veritable rainbow of royal blue hues out to the horizon, it exudes exclusivity. This chic art-driven hotel, owned by Hollywood producer Edward Walson and designed by famed West Palm Beach architect Jorge Garcia, is replete with state-of-the-art features, fine art and service-minded luxuries to deliver an intimate seaside getaway that’s second to none.
A Class of Its Own
Perhaps the most telling accolade is that the Royal Blues Hotel is the only Relais & Châteaux-classified destination in South Florida, meaning it runs in the circle of the upscale hospitality elite. There are only about 500 similarly classed hotels in the entire world that have been granted this distinction. Indeed, being designated as such is an extreme honor, as it conveys the property exhibits a unique charm, inimitable personality and distinctive characteristics one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else—ultimately that it is setting a standard for excellence in hospitality arts.
With an unquestionable reverence for its Relais & Châteaux status, each and every member of the Royal Blue Hotel staff quite apparently strives to uphold the expectation to render the absolute greatest levels of service attainable. To that end, they certainly make a strong first impression. Mere moments after I entered the quaint art-laden lobby of this beachy hotel I was offered a complimentary glass of Champagne in the adjacent wine lounge, with its entry point framed in hand blown Murano glass, in presumed celebration of the memorable stay about to unfold. Throughout my visit, I was personally cared for by an expert staff willing, able and decidedly accessible to provide assistance as needed, without boundaries.
“It’s a dedicated team and one that maintains the highest professional standards,” notes the incredibly affable and gracious General Manager, Scott Craver, with whom I chatted throughout my stay. “We cross-train staff throughout the property. We truly have little departmentalization, so that anyone can craft the specialty cocktail, prepare a guest room for arrival, or support a guest request.”
It’s a progressive approach to hospitality that is yielding favorable results, Relais & Châteaux membership aside. I left the hotel feeling utterly catered to, appreciative for the many individual staff members who provided assistance—or even just genuinely warm smiles—throughout my stay.
A modern and elevated approach to hospitality is not exclusive to personnel. The individual hotel rooms, property-wide interior design, and overall architecture are extraordinarily contemporary, with above-and-beyond design elements and creature comforts. The building exterior is a vivid white apropos of a beach venue and features beautiful curves along with strong vertical lines. Huge floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide plentiful natural light and a remarkable view of the beach and ocean. Large swaths in the building’s interior seem to emulate the appearance of a high-class yacht: Italian marble on the floors (that I’m told was the inspirational material all else was designed around), natural wood on the walls and splashes of leather in just the right places. Other premium interior touches, from lighting and other fixtures to furnishings to original wall art and décor items, also exceeded expectations, far more reminiscent of a professionally-styled apartment than a hotel accommodation.
There are several room types, each with their own unique flair. The Eastern facing “Classic Terrace Rooms,” located in the center of the building, proffer a panoramic seaside view. The “Corner Terrace Rooms” on the Northeast corner of the hotel offer a unique glimpse of the pier. The single “Classic Corner Room” is positioned on the Southeast, overlooking the ocean in that direction. Each of these rooms has a private patio area, large floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and cutting edge technology: 47-inch HD television (with sound bar), high-speed internet over Wi-Fi, and digitally-controlled blackout blinds with dimming lights. All are also outfitted with a top-of-the-line Nespresso machine, plush towels, robe and slippers.
For guests seeking even greater luxury, the hotel suites located on the third and fourth floor, where I stayed, proffer a litany of creature comforts. They have separate bedrooms and living spaces, a desk area, plush King-sized bed, large pullout sofa and lounge chair and a furnished double wide patio with an expansive and unencumbered ocean view. All of the suites have the same high-tech accessories as the rooms but include the added touch of a 55-inch HD television. In the bathroom technology also abounds, with a digitally-operated shower gauge with rainfall fixture and a remote touchscreen-controlled Kohler Numi bidet—complete with auto open and close sensors, heated seat, water temperature and trajectory controls, fan, ambient colored lighting, music controls and other lavatory-specific options.
There is also a luxe junior penthouse suite available. Boasting an open-concept design the bedroom and living spaces flow seamlessly together, separated by a 55-inch flat screen television built on a custom-swivel that allows it to turn to face any part of the room. In addition to lovely teak wood fixtures, this sweet suite has a double-wide patio that extends the full length of the room with an unsurpassed sea view throughout. The spacious bathroom features a large soaking tub with a floor-to-ceiling glass surround that also proffers an ocean view. Guests can fog the glass for privacy, or keep it transparent to enjoy the ocean outlook.
Cuisine du Monde
Dining at the hotel takes place at Chanson Restaurant. This hip and fashionable fine dining locale showcases an ever-evolving seafood-forward menu in the style of “Cuisine du Monde”, offering what the hotel refers to as a “modern twist on worldly classics.” They source fresh seafood and seasonal organic ingredients to create a range of creative dishes that have both the warmth of a home-cooked meal and the appearance of a culinary masterpiece. For its part, wait staff service is impressive, functioning like a well-orchestrated ballet. According to Craver, Chansons “caters to guests who truly value gastronomy and personal care.”
It’s worth mentioning that Chanson does have an excellent array of wine to pair with meals, though with a bent toward the lights and whites to complement its lighter, healthier fare. As there is also a full bar on-site, an extensive cocktail menu is also available.
Aesthetically, Chanson’s intimate interior design is bright, fresh and simple, befitting its restaurant-wide panoramic beach view. Here, every seat in the house is a great one. The focal point of the space, aside from the captivating photographic art adorning the walls, is a colorful 1,500-gallon custom saltwater aquarium that flows across the ceiling in enchanting form. Interestingly, those swimming in the pool in the deck, above, can peer into the aquarium to enjoy a submerged vantage point.
In all, one would be hard pressed to find a comparable eatery of this caliber in Deerfield Beach and, in my estimation, Chanson is well on its way towards its worthy goal of becoming Michelin-rated.
An Oceanside Enclave
“Enclave” is a most appropriate descriptor for this elegant property. It’s a work of art unto itself that’s tucked away on a prime piece of oceanfront real estate smack dab in the heart of Deerfield Beach. This, coupled with the fact that the picturesque property is staffed by some of the best in the hospitality business, makes it an outstanding option for anyone seeking an intimate and indulgent escape by the sea. Given the Relais & Châteaux stated vision of fostering “a better world through cuisine and hospitality,” I would say Royal Blues Hotel is doing its fair share.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
Photos Courtesy of Royal Blues Hotel