ritz pool shrunkWhen winter hits the Midwest, I’m always planning my escape. Recently had my Vitamin D gloriously replenished in the Sunshine State at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach.

This Florida resort town has long been the winter escape for tycoons from Henry Flagler to Donald Trump. Lily Pulitzer and Lacoste are the kind of casual elegance on display here— even when you’re not on one of the two tennis courts. If you’re looking for old school glamour and luxurious lobbies, this is the place to be.

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Here are some tips for living it up at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach, even if you’re not a tycoon!

ritz sunrise shrunkRoom with a View

Imagine waking up every morning to read the paper and have coffee with this view of the Atlantic?!

ritz bathBathing Beauty

Incredibly, you even have a perfect view of the ocean from the luxurious bathroom! Rather not take a bath? The large modern showers are like your own waterpark with their multiple showerheads.

Best Room in the House
If you’re traveling with small and active kids, the ground level Lanai Terrace rooms are your best choice. You won’t need to worry about a toddler slipping out onto the balcony and the rooms provide easy access to the beach and one of the two pools on the property. The Lanai Terrace rooms also have their own charming curtained patio resembling poolside cabanas. The patios overlook a lawn large enough to throw a frisbee or football and they’re only a few steps from the adult pool— perfect for families.

The family pool is located near the children’s and teens’ play areas. The family pool was a bit chilly, at least 10° colder than the adult pool. I ended up swimming with my 12-year-old in the adult pool and noone seemed to mind, especially the other kids in the pool!

Kid’s Club
If your Captain Kid has a passion for pirates, they’ll love dropping anchor at AquaNuts, the Ritz’ kid’s center which has not only an outdoor pirate play area, but one indoors as well.
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The modern kid’s center includes a colorful playroom, computers, and games for ages four- twelve. There are plenty of crafts and other scheduled daily activities offered during the full and half-day sessions. There’s even a stage where kids can perform for each other.

Teen Time
It’s no parents allowed at Coast, the teen lounge. It features internet access, video games and a DJ booth.

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For something more low-tech, hit the beach. There’s a watersports kiosk where you can rent surfboards, kayaks, boogie boards and snorkel gear. There’s also a huge terrace with a fire pit perfect for roasting marshmallows and stargazing over the Atlantic through the resort’s telescope.

Family Dining
Although the food at the Ritz Carlton is phenomenol, it can get pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of options just a few steps away if you’re on a budget.

There’s cute and casual outdoor dining right next door at the Dune Deck Cafe. They’ve got burgers, salads and seafood.

Across the street is one of the most popular breakfast diners around— John G’s. There’s also an ice cream parlor and pizza place.

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If you do eat at the Ritz, you’ll love the healthy kids menu options, including mahi-mahi tacos and steak kabobs that are delivered in their own car! Imagine my four-year-old daughter’s face when this pink cadillac parked itself at our table!

eau spa waiting room shrunkAhhh, Spa Day at Eau Spa
Ready to be pampered, Palm Beach style? The Ritz Carlton’s Eau Spa is a luxurious indulgence, the highlight of my trip. I loved relaxing in the glamorous waiting room, which included not only the standard tea, fruit and infused water, but decadent cupcakes!

After my massage I relaxed in the spa’s courtyard cabanas and fun swings that hang over a water garden. It’s a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

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The Ritz Carlton Palm Beach is a great chance to live the high life, even if you’re not rich and famous. We had a great winter weekend escape and are ready to face old man winter once again!

Andrea Guthmann is a freelance journalist focusing on family travel. She spent many years as a writer/producer for WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago. Here travel stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites.

A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from pre-school to high school. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations and is working hard to raise 3 happy campers.

Disclosure: Ritz Carlton Palm Beach hosted my family during our stay, but the opinions here are all my own.