I just returned from a quick retreat (for me!) in Hollywood, FL. Mac Daddy had a conference to attend last week...so I went along for the ride. And boy am I glad I did!!!
We stayed at the Westin Diplomat...one of our favorite properties along the south Florida coast...just north of Miami Beach and just south of Ft. Lauderdale. This impressive property has changed since our last visit...there's a BEACH again. (The beach had been totally washed away by a hurricane on our last visit. )
What did I do for 3 days? Absolutely nothing!!! .........unless you count reading, napping (on the wonderful "Heavenly Bed"), sketching, and photographing the property as activities. I was a "lotus eater". And it felt good! (Poor Mac Daddy was "on" from 7am until midnight each day...I hardly saw him.)
Here are a few images of the hotel property...and some of the images I sketched.
This is one of the floral displays in the lobby...it's a cypress branch, about 12 feet long, with bromeliads and orchids wired onto the trunk. Spanish moss filled in the gaps. These trunks were "planted" into very large urns. They were spectacular! (I want to copy this planting for my lanai.)
Thanks to a reclaimed beach project, there was now a beach at the resort. Although narrow, there was room for the kids' club activities, a lifeguard hut, a couple of rows of chaises, and room for a long stroll up and down the coast. I especially loved the giant checkerboard! Alongside the checkerboard were children digging deep holes (heading to China?) and building castles in the sand...all under the watchful eyes of chaperons provided by the hotel.
My favorite spot was in the shade of the beach-side restaurant. (I am very careful with my fair skin...year round!) Early November is a quiet time of year for Florida tourism, so there were few people to crowd the tables....and the wait-staff was kind enough to allow me to sit and sketch...and read under the shade of the umbrellas. I did, however, have an interesting companion for lunch. He did not talk much, but carried on a lovely tune throughout my meal. Do you think he was trying to sing for his supper?
This is the view from my (our) table...AHHHHHH......
Maybe one day you will see a painting of this view.
It certainly was calming..........
The Diplomat features 2 levels of pools...the upper pool has a gradual entry, perfect for children, and those who do not handle steps well...even wheelchairs are allowed. In the center of this pool is a large round circle...a window to the pool below on the lower level. So cool!
(the above photo is from the Westin Diplomat website. Note the crescent of a pool at the top left...that is the corner of the lower pool...a large, freeform structure.)
This property is a wonderful destination...especially in the fall or the spring...before and after the tourist season.
On our journey home to the west coast, we stopped at our favorite restaurant on the beach in Lauderdale By The Sea (Fort Lauderdale)...Sea Watch. (You might enjoy the photos on the website...beautiful!). This restaurant is nestled between tall sea grapes, sand dunes, palms and the crashing waves of the Atlantic. On our last visit, we had a bright green iguana sitting on the palm beside our open window....and we have watched the skies change as a hurricane made its way to the coast. Incredible! (We always ask to sit on the enclosed porch, where the sea breeze and ocean sounds glide through open windows.)
As we meandered up the coast, we were in awe of the gorgeous ocean views and the incredible mansions along the way to Palm Beach. It was quite sad, though, to see all the FOR SALE signs.
(This photo was taken through the window of our moving car. The house is probably around 10,000 sq. ft. and it backs up to the Atlantic. Just one of many compounds along the coast to Palm Beach.)
It was a lovely respite to our busy lives...just wish my husband could have had some time to relax a bit. At least we had the drive to and from Hollywood to chat and enjoy being together...
Just a quick note.... Maya is having a Tabletop Giveaway...featuring Outer Banks Trading Company...one of my favorite businesses. Be sure to stop in and sign up. (or at least look at the OBX website. There are so many wonderful items on these pages!)