The Brazilian Court Gets a Full-scale Renovation But Keeps Its ‘Private Residence’ Feel

Palm Beach gets plenty of love each winter, but this year it’s proving itself a major contender for a springtime destination. One of the town’s most legendary destinations, the Brazilian Court Hotel, is entering a new era with a full redesign, shepherded in by owner Bobby Schlesinger. 

Schlesinger’s family has owned the hotel, which was built in 1926, since 2001. An initial full-scale gut renovation was embarked upon that year. Leslie Schlesinger, Palm Beach interior designer and Bobby’s mother, was inspired by the original architects Maurice Fatio and Rosario Candela in that 2001 redesign and focused on restoring their vision. 

Leslie died of cancer in 2011 and her business, Leslie Schlesinger Interiors, is now operated by Lauren Hastings. Now Hastings and Bobby have teamed to reimagine the Brazilian Court, paying homage to his mother’s work at the property while bringing new life to the 80-room hotel.

Outside In

“From a global perspective the hotel is situated around two courtyards, a north courtyard and a south courtyard, and that’s the lifeblood of the hotel,” Schlesinger says. “Aside from The Breakers, we have the most outdoor space in downtown Palm Beach for a hotel, private outdoor space. And we wanted to bring that coloration of landscaping into the rooms.”

The result is a use of dark natural wood throughout, including teak and pecky cypress, as well as deep green hues, all meant to “bring the outside in.”

The color palette — nature-inspired shades of green and wood, rather than the typical pink and palm-tree green generally associated with Palm Beach — is in honor of Leslie.

“When she designed the hotel she was lauded for the use of not traditional hospitality grade materials,” Schlesinger says.

Custom Details

Elements in the new hotel, including “the limestone in the bathrooms, the fact that we were doing jetted bathtubs; five- and six-piece bathrooms; the custom millwork on the ceilings; the use of pecky cypress throughout the property; the use of velvets; using these warm tones of warm natural tones of greens and yellows and saffrons — that was all really harkening to what she brought to the property. Just putting our own touch on it,” Schlesinger says of his mother’s design.

One of the aims of the redesign was to have a place in the lobby for guests to enjoy live music, which takes place on Friday nights, as well as Sundays during brunch. Bay window inset banquettes have been built to allow for space to enjoy a cocktail while the music plays.

There is also a new teak poolside bar, as well as the introduction of a private 44-foot yacht owned by the hotel, which is Schlesinger’s favorite new detail. 

“We offer complimentary trips to all of our guests three times a day. We’re the only hotel in Florida that does anything like this,” he says. “It’s a level of consistency and a level of quality that is representative of what we have always achieved at the Brazilian Court.”

Just Like Home

Schlesinger has noticed that the hotel enjoys a healthy mix of steadfast Palm Beach regulars as well as new, young faces.

“The people who valued the Brazilian Court 20 years ago are still coming as guests. We always try to appeal to a new generation and we’ve been successful in doing that. But we also pride ourselves on guests who have stayed with us for years and at this point, would choose no place else to stay,” Schlesinger says. 

One thing that has remained the same since the family took over that separates the hotel is its residence-like approach to rooms, with one-, two- and three-bedroom options.

“You really feel like you’re in your own private apartment when on the property. You don’t have to get into an elevator to go anywhere onsite. Everything is accessible from multiple points throughout the courtyards, so you don’t feel like you are checking into a hotel,” he says. “You feel like you’re at a private residence in Palm Beach with all of the amenities of the most luxurious hotel you can imagine.”

Rooms start at $1500 a night in season.

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