by Lissa Poirot
The Old World beauty and charm of the Boca Raton Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, has been a luxury destination for families since its beginnings as an intimate Spanish-inspired retreat in the 1920’s. Its iconic coral pink building nestled onto the shores of the Intracoastal and “Lake Boca’s” marina morphed and grew over the course of time, adding a matching pink tower, bungalows, yacht club and its newest offering: the Boca Beach Club, with oceanfront accommodations, dining and activities.
The massive resort is situated on nearly 500 acres of land, and is owned and operated by luxury brand Waldorf Astoria. There is no missing that fact, as this five-star property offers the epitome in service and style. While famous for its celebrity guests, some have yet to discover that the resort is truly family friendly. It offers multiple activities and amenities for children, kids’ menus in all of its restaurants, and the same service and smiles for those with screaming, tired tots as those waltzing, dressed in ball gowns. (The resort’s conference center and Mizner Center welcome events, including nationwide concerts and performances.)
No, your stay at the Boca Resort won’t come cheap. But it will provide you with the feeling of relaxation and pampering that families deserve when utilizing limited vacation time. The resort is quite simply fabulous.
For more information, read about Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
Our Editor Loves
- More than 400 acres of waterfront property
- Multiple onsite restaurants with kids' menus
- Pools, beach and water sports
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The resort offers 1,041 guestrooms and suites, with standard amenities like flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi (included in a daily resort fee), coffeemakers and more, all spread throughout five buildings. Connecting rooms and complimentary cribs are available. Rollaway beds are also offered for a fee.
The resort's original 1926 hotel has been fully renovated and transformed into the 365-room Cloister. Featuring Spanish-Mediterranean architecture, the Cloister is the hub of the resort. Each of its rooms received more than $100,000 in renovations in 2014. As the original property, the rooms do not feature the best views, as they do not overlook the ocean, but offer views of the grounds. Rooms feature either one king bed or two double beds, and one-bedroom suites add a living area with a sofa bed. Executive suites, located on the sixth floor, provide balconies overlooking the Intracoastal. The largest room at the Cloister can sleep up to six.
The Tower is hard to miss in all of its pink glory (and providing the best views of Boca). The tower houses 242 rooms and suites in its 27 stories, with rooms facing the ocean, the Intracoastal, the golf course, or the resort ground. It's steps from the Cloister and the majority of restaurants, bars and attractions for families. Room types in the tower include:
Oversized-Expansive View Rooms
These rooms, 560 square feet in size, are located on the fourth to 23rd floors of the tower, providing fantastic views. King rooms can connect to two double bed rooms to create a suite to accommodate a family of up to eight (when also including a rollaway bed). All rooms have mini-bars.
For additional space, these 75-square-foot corner rooms provide separated living and sleeping spaces, with two double beds or one king bed. The L-shaped rooms feature living areas with a full-sized sofa bed, and the rooms are equipped with two flat-screen TVs and a dining space. King and double bed suites can be connected with traditional rooms to create larger suites, offering a shared foyer entrance with its own separate door.
The 24th floor of the tower is devoted to one-bedroom suites. These suites offer a king bed, living area, and 1,100 square feet of space. The living area does not feature a sofa bed, but a rollaway can be added, and the suite can be connected to a second one-bedroom suite for more sleeping space. On the 25th floor are even larger one-bedroom suites at 2,330 square feet. These suites feature a full kitchen and formal parlor and dining room. These suites do not feature sofa beds, but can accommodate a rollaway bed. The largest of the tower suites is the three-bedroom, two-story Presidential Suite, located on the 26th floor. The 6,000-square-foot space features a formal dining room, living room with Grand Piano, full kitchen and three bedrooms with king beds and private bathrooms.
Families prefer staying at the Beach Club, with its ocean views and multiple pools (although we prefer the Tower for its connecting rooms and nearness to the resort's main features). These modern rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the resort, pools and ocean. Beach Club rooms do not allow rollaway beds and do not connect to other rooms, so select rooms based on bed types. Standard rooms are smallest with two double beds and a glass wall.
Located on the second floor of the Beach Club overlooking the pools, pool-view rooms are 420 square feet in size and feature a 125-square-foot balcony with lounge chairs and a table. The rooms feature either two double beds or one king bed and a living area. While the sofa does not convert into a bed, a small child could comfortably sleep on it. Families wanting to book two of these adjoining rooms can lock off a foyer door to share an entry. The pool rooms cannot see the ocean from their vantage point. However, Sky Deck rooms, with larger balconies, are available on the fifth floor and provide ocean views. For even more space, the Poolside Lanai Rooms, located on the ground floor, are 500 square feet with 180-square-foot patios and direct access to the pool.
One-bedroom ocean suites, found on floors three to seven of the Beach Club, provide separate living and bedroom areas in 850 square feet of space. These rooms feature a sofa bed and can accommodate four. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide views, but balconies are not available.
For the most intimate stay, the resort's Yacht Club features a boutique property of 119 luxurious guestrooms and suites. The rooms offer views of the Intracoastal and Marina. The luxurious rooms provide separate sleeping and living spaces with one king or two queen beds. Those who select the Commodore Executive Level receive free access to the Commodore Lounge, which provides complimentary breakfast, hors d'oeuvres and afternoon High Tea. Guests on this level also receive preferred golf, tennis and restaurant reservations. Seven one-bedroom suites are available with private king bedrooms and separate living spaces. The Executive Suite also features a full kitchen and dining room.
For a retreat within the retreat, book one of the private bungalows, which are one- and two-bedroom condo rentals, 15 minutes from the main resort. A complimentary shuttle operates between the properties daily. Guests of the bungalows are welcome throughout the resort, but resort guests are not allowed at the bungalows, including its private pool. Guests can choose one-bedroom suites or two double bed bungalows, and connect the rooms to provide two-bedroom suites that can accommodate six. The bungalows do not offer rollaway beds or sofa beds. Suites provide full kitchens and living rooms.
I recently spent the better part of a week here as part of a corporate event. The staff was great and on several occasions bent over backwards to accommodate any request I had during the stay. The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained, and the various conference facilities, pools, croquet grounds, etc. were great for enjoying when we weren't in session. The catered food was for the most part above-average.
The architecture is great across the property, although there were definite signs of aging with some of the buildings, in particular the "Bungalows" building.
I had colleagues who were housed across the resort property, the beach club and the yacht club received rave reviews. I was placed in the bungalows. I was a shuttle bus ride removed from the main attractions at the Waldorf Astoria, there isn't a bar or restaurant or even a shop for small bites/travel items. The rooms were dated for sure, and the two queen beds in my room felt smaller than the standard queen size. The worst thing was the thinness of the walls. I could hear EVERYTHING from a neighboring room, from their phone ringer to their phone conversations and of course their TV. Fortunately I didn't spend a lot of time in my room, and my neighbor wasn't a night owl or an early riser, but staying in the bungalows definitely detracted from what could have been an amazing stay.
If I was reviewing the property excluding the Bungalows, I likely would have given 4 or maybe 5 circles. But the Bungalows is where they put me, so my ultimate review reflects that.
I would consider staying here again, but only if I were guaranteed a room elsewhere on the otherwise very nice property.
Location is great, but the hotel is sadly outdated and needs major structural and cosmetic upgrades. I found the staff (with the exception of the front desk personnel) to be largely disinterested in making sure that the guest had a memorable experience. Not worthy of the Waldorf name, I'm afraid.
Beach & Pools
The Tower Pool, located at the main resort, is the least crowded of the resort pools, as most families head to the multiple pools available at the Boca Beach Club, overlooking the beach. The beach pools often have kids' activities (at additional costs) on weekends, such as sand art and hair braiding. Guests can enjoy the wide expanse of beach at the Boca Beach Club, with beach butler service providing chairs and umbrellas for shade and comfort.
It will be near impossible to pull the kids away from the resort's FlowRider surfing simulator. Children and adults can learn to stand-up surf and body surf on the attraction situated by the main pool. Half- and full-day sessions are available, along with Thursday through Saturday night and one-hour sessions. Children must be 42 inches or taller to body surf, and 48 inches or taller to stand-up surf. Rash guards are highly recommended!
Kellie Stenzel Golf Academy
One of Florida's best golf teachers, Kellie Stenzel, provides a golf academy with private lessons, daily and weekend clinics, full- and half-day schools and junior programs, helping golfers improve their game.
Mizner's Quest Summer Club Camp
On weekends during the summer, the main resort at Boca Resort offers a supervised program for children ages 3 to 9. The program, offered from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., includes arts and crafts, outdoor play time, and themed activities. Children must be potty trained to attend.
Mizner's Quest Clubhouse
Located at the Boca Beach Club, the Clubhouse is open daily to children of all ages. Children ages 3 to 9 receive supervised attention and activities scheduled during the 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. day, while older children may visit unaccompanied to enjoy the token-operated arcade TechSpot, with its video game systems, including Xbox, Wii and PlayStation.
Explore the Boca Resort with this one-of-a-kind quest of nearly two-dozen sites. Follow the clues to each location that showcases a bit of the resort's history and ensures you don't miss a thing. If kids find all of the puzzle pieces, they can redeem their maps for a price at Serendipity (which sells pastries and other sweet treats) and have their maps hung on the Wall of Fame. Maps are available at the front desk.
The resort features a croquet lawn, life-sized chess, basketball court, volleyball and Ping Pong; inquire at concierge for equipment and availability. At the Health Club, bicycle rentals are available for use on the property. During sea turtle nesting season, the resort works with a team that monitors and protects sea turtles that may nest on the beach. They keep guests alert as to upcoming hatchings, which kids may be lucky enough to witness.
Ranked one of the best tennis resorts in the U.S., guests of the resort may enjoy year-round tennis on one of its 12 Har-Tru or 18 Hydro-Grid courts. A Tennis Concierge is available to arrange court times and help players to find partners of the same skill set. Private levels, daily clinics and tennis camps are available, as well as a two-story clubhouse with a viewing deck. The resort often offers Round Robin Tournaments during peak seasons.
The Surf School at Boca Beach Club offers private lessons, clinics and events for surfers of all ages and skills, while wave runner rentals, deep-sea fishing charters, cruises and sailing trips can be arranged. Half-and full-day fishing charters can accommodate up to six passengers, while cruises can accommodate up to 12 passengers. Two-hour Catamaran charters are also available for up to 49 people, as well as three-hour sails and snorkel trips.
While this indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking the golf course may lead you to believe it is a traditional 18th-hole eatery, 501 East is anything but. This American bistro specializes in steaks and ribs in an airy atmosphere that is entirely kid friendly, any time of day. The restaurant is located on the second floor, with covered patio dining providing sunset views over the golf course. It is open for lunch and dinner daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Beaches Cafe and Bar
Enjoy ample poolside dining at the Boca Beach Club for views of the swimming pools or the Atlantic Ocean at Beaches CafÃ© and Bar. Serving burgers, salads and seafood, the restaurant is open for lunch, and features covered and uncovered outdoor dining. Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don't miss this blue-and-white themed restaurant, which is located on the 27th floor of the Tower and provides panoramic views of the ocean, Intracoastal, golf course and South Florida. An evening happy hour provides small plate options, while dinners feature a larger menu of contemporary dishes. Hours of operation are from 6 to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Housed in the main resort, this Italian trattoria overlooks the marina and Intracoastal, with wonderful flatbreads and seafood dishes. A kids' menu is available, although the full menu has an array of items kids will also love. The restaurant is open for dinner nightly, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Morimoto Sushi Bar
It's hard to miss this sushi bar in the Palm Court of the main resort, as a glass wall provides views of the restaurant's back wall featuring a moving image of fish swimming in the sea. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is dimly lit and doesn't provide views, but certainly makes up for its intimate space by providing a delicious array of sushi options. It is open daily from noon to 10 p.m.
The Palm Court
Open for breakfast and evening cocktails daily, the Palm Court is a great spot for a morning meal or afternoon beverage. Hours of operation are from 7 to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, and until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Bar hours are from 4 to 11 p.m.
Shaka Bar & Grill
For poolside dining, Shaka's lunch and snack menu is available for covered patio dining or at your pool chair in the main resort. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos and shaved ice are available, with a kids' menu providing smaller portions. Hours of operation are from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fresh seafood is best when seated overlooking the sea, as you'll get at this beachfront restaurant, housed in the Boca Beach Club. Open for breakfast and dinner, the restaurant serves a wide variety of seafood, as well as landlubber options. Hours of operation are from 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast, and from 6 to 10 p.m. for dinner.
The famed New York Serendipity restaurant -- and its frozen hot chocolate -- can be found at this Boca Resort, located in the lobby of the main building. Open for breakfast through dinner, guests can grab coffee and pastries, sandwiches, ice cream and candy.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Daily Resort Fee
A daily resort fee of $27, plus tax, includes Wi-Fi service, phone calls, water taxi service, shuttles, beach chairs and umbrellas, group fitness classes, unlimited driving range use and bellman services.
The Boca Resort is a members-only club for residents of the Bungalows, homes and timeshares. Guests of the resort's hotel and beach club accommodations will need to provide a card when utilizing any services, visiting any restaurant or visiting any attraction, so carry it with you at all times.
Two fitness centers are available to guests. The Cloister Health Club, located at the main resort, is staffed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Beach Health Club is staffed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. A third health club is operated through the resort's Country Club, featuring personal trainers, a heated lap pool and cardiovascular and strength-training equipment.
Pets under 25 pounds are welcome in select accommodations for a non-refundable fee of $125.
Supervised Child Care
Kids at the Quest Club can stay without parents for just $12 per child, per hour. The Quest Clubhouse is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Q, No Parents After Dark
Parents can enjoy themselves while kids become VIPs at their own evening experience at the Quest Club. Every Saturday, children can enjoy mocktails, a DJ, snacks and more. The event takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. and is $10 per child.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
South Florida's warm, tropical weather makes it a popular destination in the winter months, but even during the heat of summer, the resort offers tons for families, with lower room rates. Its peak seasons are spring breaks and the holidays, and prices will be higher during these times.
Located between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports, each approximately 45 minutes from Boca Raton, the resort is easily accessible when visiting South Florida. Transportation from the airport can be arranged for a fee, or families can rent a car for the easy drive from both airports. Valet parking is offered for $35 per night.
Shuttle services are provided free of charge for guests traveling between the main resort and the Beach Club. Shuttles operate daily from 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Water taxis also provide service at no charge across the Intracoastal on weekends.
For Mom and Dad
The Waldorf Astoria Spa has been named the No. 1 Spa in the World by Conde Nast Traveler's Readers Choice Awards, and should not be missed when visiting the resort. Begin with a signature 50-minute Ritual Bath, with private tubs, waterfall showers, whirlpool, steam, sauna and inhalation rooms. Then move into one of 44 treatment rooms for a massage, facial, body treatment and more. The spa features a quiet, adult-only pool, as well as relaxation rooms.
Additionally, parents can utilize the free time they receive when kids are at their own VIP event on Saturday evenings. The resort has a few bars that are open late for signature cocktails and evening entertainment.