Polo, Pampering, Piano and Passion
A romantic getaway in the LGBT-friendly communities of The Palm Beaches, Florida
When I heard about the International Gay Polo Tournament in The Palm Beaches, I convinced my partner, Andrew, that it would be fun to try something new. We’d been to a few polo events in the Hamptons, but none that exclusively catered to the gay polo-playing and polo-watching community. As an added bonus, it gave us an excuse to go shopping for polo-appropriate attire. Bow ties, anyone?
With a go big or go home attitude, I arranged this trip to maximize R&R. We were met in the Palm Beach International Airport baggage claim area by a driver holding a sign with our names on it. He welcomed us to town and brought us, as planned, to the most opulent of resorts.
Do not disturb
We gasped in awe when we entered our suite at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. The brightness inside came from both the color palette and the sunshine bursting through the windows—from which we had an ocean view. The crisp white bedding was accented by vivid yellow splashes of decor, which paired perfectly with the different shades of ocean blues throughout the suite. After spending some time mesmerized by our accommodations, I grabbed Andrew by the hand and we made our way to the Eau Spa.
We were escorted to a waiting area with a beautiful wishing well—a freestanding copper basin lined with candles—and were each handed a glass of champagne. Instead of tossing in coins, we set a candle floating across the water above the dark mosaic tiles. We kept our wishes secret, but mine focused on the present with this weekend.
After slipping into our robes, we were taken to a secondary waiting area where the crystal chandelier made of champagne flutes immediately fascinated me. Andrew on the other hand was more focused on the tray of chocolate frosted cupcakes that was conveniently there, as to encourage spa guests to savor a few extra moments of bliss before their treatments. The next 90 minutes we spent enjoying the Garden of Eden couple’s treatment. After our side-by-side massage, we had access to our own private garden in the theme of the temptation-based tale. An excellent way to begin the weekend.
The unofficial LGBT evening
Having arrived early Thursday morning, and after a spa day, it was time to hit the town. We hadn’t really known where to go or what to do on a Thursday, until we stumbled upon the unofficial LGBT night at Polo Steakhouse within The Colony Palm Beach. The hotel, which has celebrity rumors and stories artfully attached to it, also sets the standard for what Floridian beach chic decor is and should be. Thursday nights, although not officially “gay” night at Polo, is typically full of Palm Beach gay elite—dressed to impress and ready to mingle.
At first, Andrew and I were a bit intimidated to walk into Polo being that we didn’t know anyone, but we were quickly greeted with smiles and a welcoming formality that felt instantly comfortable. The inside of Polo was saturated with heavy dark woods and hunter green walls, accented with vibrant blues on the tabletops and plenty of men wearing pastel colored pants and sweaters. Spending some time there with the locals helped amp up Andrew’s and my excitement for the International Gay Polo Tournament, as we met several others who would be attending. After a few cocktails and casual conversation with new friends, it was time for the Royal Room.
You just have to
One hasn’t experienced The Palm Beaches until they’ve spent an evening at The Royal Room Cabaret at The Colony Palm Beach, and since I had done my research, I had reserved a table for Andrew and me that evening. The Royal Room is quintessential elegant Southern Florida and is chock full of history and entertainment. The performers at The Royal Room rotate frequently and that night, we were treated to twin brothers, Anthony and Will Nunziata, yearly regulars with a loyal following in The Palm Beaches and around the country.
I didn’t think either Andrew or I were much cabaret or show tunes type guys, but something about that exclusive room within that historic hotel transformed us into toe-tapping, piano loving men. The white-glove service, old-school cocktails and classic dinner menu accompanied by the two brothers on stage belting out harmonious notes, made for such an incredible evening that we stayed afterward, almost like groupies, to meet the guys and snap a photo with them.
Horsing around in style
The rest of the weekend was dedicated to the International Gay Polo Tournament and its associated events, many of which were held in Wellington, a village within Palm Beach County that serves as the home to the world-famous International Polo Club (and which also happened to play host to the weekend’s opening night party).
Wellington is known as an equestrian and polo capital that is home to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The city attracts the world’s most accomplished polo players, and Andrew and me. Upon arriving to the opening night party and hearing the music and seeing everyone dancing poolside, we were quick to jump into the fun. This was just one of the fabulous events before the tournament, but we were especially excited for the tailgate contest held on the playing field the day of.
As we walked past each group and soaked in themes, it was hard to choose who had outdone whom. With five categories, there were a lot of winners—not the least of which, the spectators. Best in Show went to the “Brunch at Tiffany’s” tent. My favorite part of the day was the traditional stomping of the divots, which took place mid-tournament, where the crowds walked the field for complimentary champagne and socializing.
It was a hot, sunny day, so our matching white chinos were a solid choice, especially when accompanied by the ice-cold champagne. At one point, looking out onto the field, hearing the sounds of the horses’ hooves thumping the grass and the clicks of the polo mallets hitting the ball, I found the running commentary in my head had been silenced—I was completely immersed in the moment, from a woman in a bright yellow dress and a sun hat as big as they come to the claps from the crowd when the action picked up.
I was happy to be experiencing this event here with Andrew. From the comfort of strolling outside hand in hand, to the luxurious romance, and from the top-flight entertainment to good sporting fun, trying out a new event looked good on us.
At the start of the trip, we each made a wish at the Eau Spa wishing well. We still don’t know specifically what the other wished for, but we did find out both came true.
Realize your wishes in The Palm Beaches.