This pedigreed grande dame resort was conceived by Henry Flagler, the magnate whose railroad first opened up the island (and much else in Florida) to unprecedented commerce and well-heeled tourism, but finished only after his death. Its fortunes have waxed and waned since the doors first opened in 1920, but in 2007 the property underwent an overhaul that, beyond the cosmetic, also put in place many eco-friendly improvements such as recycling systems and more efficient energy use. These days, as an AAA Four-Diamond property under Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria flag, it’s a great choice for couples and especially families looking for a touch of class along with plenty of activities, upscale amenities, and extras (such as an on-staff sand sculptor). Its unique crowning glory is its 1,100 feet of sandy beachfront. Rooms, meanwhile, are cool, earth-toned and contemporary in feel, with tropical touches such as rattan couches.
- Frommer's Staff