Adult-oriented escape in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
By Hope S. Philbrick
It’s so nice when you stumble upon the solution to a problem that you didn’t even know you had.
Turns out, the answer to the question, “Which mineral waters will prove most effective for me and my unique problems; those from Israel or France?” will not require jetting across borders for comparison. Nope. At PGA National Resort & Spa, the adults-only pool area at The Spa has positioned several “Waters of the World” mineral pools side by side. Simply dip into one, do a little soak test, then climb out and try another. Pick a favorite and melt your cares away.
How authentic can these mineral pools be? Quite: The water isn’t imported, but the minerals are. They’re added to pools here and then monitored by pros to ensure a chemical match to their natural counterparts. So, for example, the French pool is treated with salts imported from Salies de Bearn in the French Pyrenees. C’est très magnifique!
The chance to test international waters proved to be a fun and relaxing diversion in The Spa pool area. But the real reason to linger is the simple fact that there are zero kids around. The Spa and its pools are exclusively reserved for folks age 18 and older. The morning I spent in those pools lingers in memory as one of the most relaxing mornings of my life. Enjoying the peace and quiet, I could savor the surrounding gardens and notice that more than a dozen different varieties of palm trees were planted amongst the flowers.
There is, of course, a family-friendly (read: crowded with kids) resort pool elsewhere on the property. But it’s quite a distance from The Spa pools and so while soaking in the mineral waters or swimming in the round pool filled with Florida water (which, to my own surprise, ultimately proved to be my favorite pool), you won’t hear any squealing or pleas to “Look at me, Mommy!”
You may hear sighs of contentment from other guests, however, whenever they’re offered a dry towel or an icy glass of lemon water by the muscled pool attendant. There’s also a mini bar that serves cocktails and light bites.
Access to The Spa pool area is free if you’ve booked a spa treatment; if not, you can gain access as a resort guest for $18. In my opinion, it’s totally worth the $18 to sun and swim alongside relaxed adults, though it would be even better if adult access was included in the resort fee. There is a free adults-only pool option, however: the lap pool at the Health & Racquet Club, perfect if exercise is your goal.
It has a world-class spa, but PGA National Resort & Spa is a mecca for golfers: It has hosted more golf tournaments than any other resort, including the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship, 18 Senior PGA Championships, and (since 2007) the annual Honda Classic. Ninety holes on five tournament-ready golf courses are available exclusively for resort guests and club members; designed by Nicklaus, Palmer, the Fazios, and Karl Litten, these courses are considered among the best layouts in Florida. There are 150 practice stations and three practice putting greens. You can take golf lessons if you’d like to improve your game. Once you feel confident, head to the legendary “Bear Trap,” the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes at The Champion course that Lee Trevino has called “the real killer in golf.”
As a resort guest, during cocktail hour you’ll be able to sip on a free glass of wine, beer or cocktail at the lobby IBar. Between 3 and 7 p.m., beer is $2, well spirits are $4, house wine is $6 and featured tapas are $4. It’s a good deal for a light meal.
Guestrooms have a luxurious vibe, thanks in part to a recently completed $100 million renovation with contemporary décor. I slept in a clean and comfortable ‘standard’ queen guestroom with soft bedding and a garden view. It was lovely.
“You don’t need to leave,” said Karen Cantor, marketing and public relations manager, while giving me a tour of the property. Truth is, you won’t want to.
- Odds of Encountering Children: Higher during summer months than other times of the year. “We’re really geared to adults,” says Karen Cantor, marketing and public relations manager. “There are not a lot of family offerings.” Music to our ears.
- Among the 399 accommodation options are luxury suites, golf resort villas and a variety of guestrooms.
- All rooms have a patio that overlooks either the golf course, gardens or pool.
- The resort is non-smoking.
- Suite themes include PGA Legends with an in-room pool table; Presidential with a view of the 18th hole; Media with two 55-inch LCD HD TVs; Spa with space for in-room treatments; and Club Cottages with full kitchens.
- Guestroom amenities include an iPod dock/clock radio, bathrobes, hair dryer, laptop safe, coffee maker and mini refrigerator.
- 42-inch flat-screen televisions are available in every room.
- The resort is home to the PGA National Golf Academy, featuring The David Leadbetter Golf Academy, Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, and Hot Stix Golf custom club fitting.
- Golf instruction is available in one, two and three day mini sessions (starting at $325 per adult) and private sessions (starting at $200 for one hour).
- The Health & Racquet Club features 19 tennis courts, personal trainers and a wide variety of fitness classes.
- The Spa offers an extensive treatment menu, with 100 options including 19 massages plus a range of body treatments, exfoliations, skin care, facial, nail and hair services. As a few examples, a Swedish massage is $115 for 50 minutes; Seaside Solutions facial is $125 for 50 minutes; a Lavender Bliss pedicure is $85 for 50 minutes; and a full day package of Ultimate Indulgence is $530 for 5.5 hours.
- The 40,000-square-foot European spa has 32 treatment rooms, so it can accommodate large groups such as bridal parties.
- The property boasts eight pools, including a lap pool, resort pool and swirling whirlpools.
- There are nine food and beverage options on site, including Ironwood Grille, Wave Grill and Palm Terrace, which has a popular buffet breakfast.
- Self parking is free; valet is $20 per day.
- In addition to room charges, there’s a $25 daily resort fee, which includes Wi-Fi access, newspaper, coffee, health club access and one free cocktail per adult per day.
- The resort is approximately 15 miles away from Palm Beach International Airport. Shuttle service is approximately $37.
- In 2012, the resort celebrated its 30th anniversary.
- Rates from $160 per room per night; discounted to $127 per room per night for Florida residents.
PGA National Resort & Spa is a designated Florida Green Lodge by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Among its many accolades, the resort has earned AAA Four Diamond status.
PGA National Resort & Spa
400 Avenue of the Champions
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
-Photos courtesy PGA National Resort & Spa