Addison Mizner (1872-1933) was a self taught architect who is most famous for the Spanish Colonial Revival Style structures of Palm Beach and Boca Raton Florida. He also had a love of monkeys which he liked to incorporate into his designs. Statuary, wrought iron, and plaster monkeys are found everywhere in the detailing of his creations. I have just returned from the Boca Raton Resort, which is a legendary hotel designed by Mr. Mizner and was opened to the public in 1926. (My apologies to all my Northeastern friends who had to endure the storm. Think of it as me being on assignment to bring you some entertainment?) Below is the original Guest Registry which is displayed in the lobby of the hotel.
The resort is very typical of the Spanish style; stucco in a fun shade of pink, red tile roofing, wrought iron rails and balconies, and some of the most elaborate stone and plaster work you will ever see. The entry gate is a very small version of what to expect visually.The back of the entry has a full size tile mosaic.
Entering into the lobby, the custom hand sculpted plaster work is the main attraction. (Note: the sculpture to the left is by the well know artist Fernando Botero) The entire lobby is almost completely covered in the most intricately designed plaster relief I have ever seen. Look up to the ceiling for this..
And of course, I couldn’t resist the knight on his horse!
The Resort also serves as a catering facility and conference center. There are many rooms with different themes to accommodate large parties, but they are not off limits to guests. My favorite is the Palm Court. It is a very large room in the style of a conservatory with a beautifully designed configuration of steel beams and glass. The beams take on the shape of the palm trees that open to the sky.
Next to this room is a bar that is the complete opposite in feeling. It is dark with beautiful woodwork and a very large fireplace. Unfortunately it is no longer used.The most interesting part of the bar is the arched doorways. Around the arches are recessed nooks that have been filled with wine bottles. The bottles are lit from behind, forming a glowing rainbow on all four walls. I love this detail!
Even the ladies room is worth a look. Before entering into the actual stall area, is a lounge that has all the great detail of the rest of the resort. Custom wood paneling, Venetian plaster walls, marble floors and sinks, and upholstered seating allow you to go in and sit and relax or freshen up in complete privacy.The ceilings are especially interesting. Throughout the resort, “pecky cypress” is used on a lot of the ceilings. It is very similar to wormword in that it has a lot of distressing, variation in color, and lots of holes. This is a detail from the ladies lounge.
Next to the resort is what is called “The Mizner Center” which is where all the conference and banquet halls are. This part of the resort is done on a much larger scale because of all the people that can be accommodated. Still, no detail is left undone, it is just presented in a grander way.
Of course a good resort has to have a Spa and I was definitely not disappointed! Breathtaking is how I would describe the facility. Of course the detailing was some of the most intricately done, with so much use of tile and the sound of water in the background. I think the soaking tub is something that should be mandatory in every household!
Needless to say, four days here was not enough, especially knowing what I was going home to, but it was so nice to have the opportunity! I am now home, looking at the snow through the window as I write. As beautiful and magical as it all was I still agree with Dorothy…”there’s no place like home”!