Wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway on the tip of Lake Boca Raton, the Boca Raton Bridge Hotel immerses visitors in a landscape of waves, sand, and sun. Yet perched above the beach on one of the hotels private balconies, sipping wine and observing the swimsuit set lounging below, visitors may find the call of the sea struggling against the tug of other notionsnot all of them aquatic. From ascending to the penthouse restaurant for a savory meal underscored by live music to hopping in the car for a power-shopping excursion at some of Bocas chic boutiques, the hotels location and upscale amenities confront travelers with an array of recreational possibilities.
Inside the hotel, Ocean View rooms, located on floors 610, augment their private patios with 37-inch flat-screen televisions, light, bright colors, and thoughtful touches such as bottled water and Italian citrus-essence personal-care products. Swimmers who dont head for the beach glide instead through the hotels heated waterfront pool, breaking for sips under an umbrella's cool shade at the poolside bar. The hotel's fitness center and sauna help maintain beach physiques, and just steps from the hotel, volleyball on the beach among the quiet rows of sunbathers keeps pulses high without the unpleasantness of an attack dog on rocket skates.
The Boca Raton Bridge Hotels duo of restaurants helps replenish the energy spent on sunning and swimming. Casual diners nosh alfresco on surf 'n turf classics at WaterColors Restaurant & Bar, where cuban sandwiches ($15) and pan-seared Florida grouper ($29) complement the seaside breezes on the tropically bedecked outdoor patio. Perched atop the Bridge Hotel, Carmens pairs panoramic vistas of the ocean and waterways with fresh seasonal cuisine conceived by chef Dudley Rich, who has cooked privately for U.S. presidents. The restaurant's windows stretch from the parquet floor to the ceiling, letting in sweeping seaside views, and a grand piano stands ready for live entertainers to tickle the ivories as diners feast on entrees such as peppercorn-crusted swordfish ($28). Both restaurants boast bars and wine lists featuring top-notch South American wines.
The sparkling beachfront beckons visitors to stroll from the hotel to the shore to prop up beach chairs and lay out on complimentary towels. Jet-ski rentals get adrenaline pumping at the hotel dock, as duos and trios of friends and family members hop onto entry-level waverunners to cruise along the scenic Intracoastal Waterway and ripple across the wavy Atlantic (fees apply, though the hotel offers a 10% discount on jet-ski rentals at the dock). Others pause at the dock to set up shop for an afternoon of deep-sea fishing, but scuba divers and snorkelers get a more dynamic view of the marine life as they drift over rock and reef outcroppings or dive toward wrecks from an ocean inlet.
About 2 miles away from the Bridge Hotel, Mizner Park bundles upscale boutiques with chain stores and a slew of restaurants that double as the crux of Boca Raton's bar scene after nightfall. An adjacent museum and galleries lure travelers away from the gardenlike retail area for artistic explorations at Mizner's Center for the Arts. Here, crowds also gather under the stars around an outdoor amphitheater for music shows. Other theaters in the area bring the drama to performing arts with renditions of both well-loved classics and new plays.
Loxahatchee Everglades Tours Airboats glide over swampy waters as tour guides remark on the areas natural habitat of swaying sawgrass and alligators.
Ocean Breeze Golf Club Twenty-seven championship holes spread out over three distinct courses challenge golfers as they enjoy coastal breezes and putt across TifEagle greens.
Ride-A-Wave Three-seater waverunners skim over the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean at a top speed of 60 mph.
Force-E Dive Center Divers access coral reefs and wrecks from Boca Ratons ocean inlet, where the warm, clear, and uncrowded waters invite exploration of dozens of sites.
Caldwell Theatre Company Theater-goers watch new and classic plays come alive on this companys stage, with New York Times' Top Ten Plays Of 2010 selection After the Revolution appearing in October.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center The sea turtles, stingrays gliding through massive saltwater tanks, and butterfly gardens draw a nature-loving crowd of families.
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