This local resort made Travel + Leisure’s Top 10 list

The Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa ranks among the Top 10 hotels in Florida, according to Travel + Leisure magazine.

The Manalapan resort took the 10th spot on the list, which appears in the August 2017 issue of the magazine, and on Travel + Leisure’s website.

Eau Spa (Provided)

RELATED: Chinese leader stay at Eau chance for resort, county to stand out

Other Florida hotels to make Travel + Leisure’s list include: Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate; Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach; and Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in Little Torch Key. The top spot went to the Gasparilla Inn & Club in the small beachfront town of Boca Grande.

The list marks the second time this year the Eau Palm Beach has been honored by a major travel publication.

In February, the Eau was one of two Palm Beach County resorts to earn top honors from Forbes Travel Guide. Both the Eau and the Four Seasons Palm Beach received Forbes’ Five-Star Award — the highest designation.

RELATED: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa receives Forbes five-star rating

The Eau, located on a 7-acre site with ocean views and lush tropical gardens, underwent a major transformation in 2013 — dropping the Ritz-Carlton name and re-branding itself as a beachfront getaway for both out-of-town guests and locals looking for a beachfront retreat.

It’s amenities include an award-winning spa; four restaurants and lounges; three Har-Tru clay tennis courts; two pools; children and teen clubs and more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stayed at the resort when he traveled to Palm Beach County in March to meet with President Donald Trump — a visit that put an international spotlight on the hotel.

President Xi’s visit marked the second time in five years that a president stayed at the property.

Former President Barack Obama spent a night at the resort while on the campaign trail in 2012. The property was still operating under the Ritz-Carlton brand during Obama’s stay.

 

 

Amazon Prime Day 2017: 5 tips for finding the best deals

Amazon plans to bring back its popular “Prime Day” sale on July 11, offering 30 hours of deals to members in 13 countries.

The bargain hunters at FatWallet.com and BestBlackFriday.com have offered up these eight money-saving tips to make sure you get the best deal.

In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017, photo, a package from Amazon Prime is loaded for delivery on a UPS truck, in New York. Amazon is extending its annual “Prime Day” promotion to 30 hours this year. Amazon will offer discounts and other deals in an effort to boost sales during the slower summer months. This year’s Prime Day will start at 9 p.m. ET on July 10, 2017. While Amazon has claimed success, there have been grumblings that Prime Day deals have been unimpressive or involve older models. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Check your account settings

Prime Day starts at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Monday, July 10 – and Amazon said new deals will be offered as often as every five minutes. FatWallet’s experts recommend checking your account settings now to make sure you’re ready to shop.

RELATED: Amazon’s “Prime Day” deals return July 11; Here’s what to expect

Deals can sell out within seconds, so FatWallet offered these tips to save you time at checkout:

  • Let Amazon know all of your information (billing/shipping) so it’s much easier and faster to purchase an item
  • Add your billing, shipping addresses and credit card(s) Once those are saved it’ll be
  • Enable 1-Click Ordering (some Lightning Deals do not allow 1-Click Ordering)
  • Make sure that your cart is empty before you start shopping
  • Clear your browser’s cache to help avoid any issues during checkout

Do Research

Amazon’s Lightning Deals do not have a visible price until they become available, so it can be tricky to know if it’s a great deal in the moment, FatWallet says. The website recommends making a list of upcoming deals you’re interested in and scouting around the web for competing prices. You can also use a website like camelcamelcamel.com to check pricing histories to help you buy with the confidence you’re saving money.

Check for a preview of deals

Over the past two years, Amazon has held off until the day or so before Prime Day to provide a significant preview of deals, according to BestBlackFriday.com.  The website expect Amazon to wait until early in the day on July 10 or sometime on July 9 to release this year’s list.

Use your desktop or laptop computer for purchases

While Amazon’s app is a great tool for browsing and finding upcoming deals, BestBlackFriday.com recommends purchases on a computer. It is quicker and allows you to have more than one window open, which is essential for comparing prices and looking up third-party reviews for products.

Watch for sales at other stores

Don’t forget sales from competitor stores.  While Amazon is the star on Prime Day, BestBlackFriday.com says competitors like Walmart, eBay, and Best Buy are likely to have strong sales themselves.

Back-to-school shopping: Retailers already stocking shelves with school-related items

Students won’t return to school in Palm Beach County for another five weeks, but retailers are already lining store shelves with back-to-school items in hopes of catching early-bird shoppers.

The Fourth of July holiday marks the unofficial start of the back-to-school shopping season, as big box retailers mark down summer items like patio sets and backyard supplies to make room for pencils, paper and other school-related items.

RELATED: Will 20 new programs spell the end of gifted clusters?

Back-to-school is the retail industry’s second biggest shopping season of the year, falling behind Black Friday and holiday shopping rush.

Parents of K-12 and college students are expected to spend more than $121.6 billion in this year, according to MediaMath, a programmatic ad tech company for marketers.

(Photo by Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post).  School supplies Indiantown Community Outreach will give away during the 5th annual Back to School Bash.

Spending on back-to-school items starts ramping up right after the Fourth of July holiday, peaking between late July and mid-August, according to a MediaMath study.

Back-to-school related sales are expected to grow by 4 percent this year, according to eMarketer, a market research firm.

Workers at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard spent part of the Fourth of July clearing out a corner of the store to make way for school supplies. Patio items were marked down as much as 70 percent to make room for the back-to-school rush.

Florida’s popular back-to-school sales tax holiday will return next month. The holiday, which runs Aug. 4-6, is worth an estimated $33.4 million.

During the three-day weekend, shoppers won’t be charged the state’s 6 percent sales tax or the county’s discretionary sales surtax on certain school-related and other specified items.

The annual tax break this year includes clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less; certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and personal computers and certain computer-related accessories, selling for $750 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

See which new store just opened at CityPlace

CityPlace

Natuzzi Italia has opened a 9,000-square-foot store at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, a move that signals the shopping, dining and entertainment center continues to boost its home furnishings offerings.

The Italian furniture brand is located on Rosemary Avenue, just south of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

Natuzzi’s products, made in Italy, feature sofas, armchairs, furniture and home furnishing accessories. The company is known for its sleek, contemporary styles.

Natuzzi has six other stores throughout Florida but only one other in Palm Beach County, in Boca Raton. Worldwide, Natuzzi has 1,200 stores.

In a statement, Natuzzi’s global retail chief, Nazzario Pozzi, said the company is moving quickly to expand its presence in the United States.

Plans for Natuzzi’s new store first were revealed to the Palm Beach Post in September 2015 by Ken Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of New York-based Related Cos. and the developer of CityPlace.

At the time, Himmel predicted the store would open in the spring of 2016. It’s not clear why the store is opening more than a year later.

But back in 2015, Himmel said Natuzzi was lured to the site by the presence of a massive  “mansion” being built in the median of Okeechobee Boulevard for Restoration Hardware, a furniture and home furnishings store.

The 60,000-square-foot store is slated to open soon and will kick off Himmel’s plans to transform CityPlace into a home furnishings destination.

CityPlace has changed up its retail roster during its 17 years of operation.

It was designed as a large retail destination, with a number of high-end stores. Then it focused on home furnishings during the real estate boom. It then switched heavily to entertainment and dining when the recession hit.

Lately, women’s retailers have cycled out due to the advent of on-line sales, so Himmel has said home furnishings stores will play an important role at the center.

Last September, The Shade Store, a  Port Chester, N.Y.-based company selling premium custom window treatments, opened at CityPlace.

 

Brightline trains to use locally-blended biodiesel fuel

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline will use a blend of biodiesel fuel produced by Florida Power & Light at a Riviera Beach plant to power its fleet of passenger trains.

The rail company has inked a two-year deal with FPL to supply its five trains with the cleaner-burning fuel. Under the contract, FPL will produce 2 million gallons of biodiesel a year for Brightline’s fleet.

Outside Brightline’s West Palm Beach Station in May 23, 2017 (Photo: Jennifer Sorentrue/The Palm Beach Post)

Biodiesel fuel is a cleaner-burning alternative produced from renewable sources like corn, soybeans and used cooking oil.

FIRST LOOK: Inside WPB’s new Brightline train station

Tom Rutkowski, Brightline’s Chief Mechanical Officer, called the collaboration a “major milestone” for the company, adding that the deal is a “perfect partnership of smart energy powering smart trains.”
FPL started using biodiesel to power its own fleet nearly 20 years ago. The alternative is now the primary source of fuel for more than 1,750 vehicles in the company’s fleet, said Sam Forrest, FPL’s Vice President of Energy Marketing and Trading.

About three years ago, FPL signed its first contract to blend biodiesel for an outside group.

With the Brightline contract, FPL will produce roughly 6 million gallons of biodiesel a year for its own fleet and other outside partners. The company also has a contract to provide biodiesel for the county’s Solid Waste Authority.

“At FPL we have long been committed to energy independence as well as environmental stewardship,” Forrest said.

Each of Brightline’s locomotives can hold up to 2,200 gallons of fuel. The trains are expected to use about 2 gallons of fuel per mile, which means the 67-mile one-way trip from Miami to West Palm Beach consumes 134 gallons of biodiesel, the company said.

Brightline is expected to begin service later this summer. A grand opening is expected to be held in the fall.

Once operational, Brightline’s trains will shuttle passengers between West Palm Beach and Miami in about an hour. Ticket prices have not been announced.

Eventually, Brightline plans to expand service north to Orlando.

Construction on the West Palm Beach-to-Orlando leg has not yet begun. Brightline officials have said the project will take at least two years from the time work starts.

CityPlace sues to evict Revolutions bowling, again

Revolutions at CityPlace

CityPlace has sued Revolutions Bowling Bar & Grille twice this month, and the latest lawsuit looks like the West Palm Beach retail center is serious about evicting the bowling alley — and collecting on guaranties backing a lease.

On June 23, CityPlace filed a Palm Beach County Circuit Court lawsuit, alleging Revolutions owes $429,801 in past due rent.

The lawsuit seeks to enforce a guaranty of $3 million by Revolutions chief executive Bruce Frank. The complaint also seeks to enforce a guaranty by Revolutions’ parent company, Jupiter-based Frank Entertainment Companies.

Frank Entertainment owns Cinebowl & Grille at the Delray Markplace. It also owns the Cinebowl slated to go into the Abacoa entertainment center in Jupiter, a deal just approved by the Jupiter town council.

It’s unclear what effect the guaranty enforcement on Frank Entertainment will have on its plan to go into Abacoa. But the guaranty does state that CityPlace Retail can pursue any of Frank Entertainment’s assets, court records show.

This lawsuit follows an eviction action filed June 2 by CityPlace in county court, seeking to toss Revolutions from the center for failing to pay the rent due by May 15.

This marks the fourth eviction lawsuit CityPlace has filed since Revolutions opened at the center in 2013.

The latest legal actions indicate CityPlace has lost its patience with Revolutions, which operates a high-end bowling alley at the north end of the mixed-use center on Okeechobee Boulevard east of Interstate 95.

Late last year, Revolutions quietly fended off two eviction lawsuits filed against it by CityPlace, according to court records.

Last November, CityPlace Retail sued Revolutions, alleging it was behind on the rent by $141,255 as of October 12, 2016. The Palm Beach County Court lawsuit was settled within days.

But the very next month, CityPlace sued Revolutions again, this time for $78,632. That figure represents one month’s base rent of $56,250, plus taxes, plus $10,441 in back payments for chilled water for the HVAC system.

This lawsuit was settled, too.

In May, Bruce Frank, Revolutions chief executive, said the bowling lane business has been strong. But it’s the food that has struggled to make its mark in a center crowded with competing restaurants, he said.

Late last year, Frank teamed up with Burger & Beer Joint of Boca Raton to offer burgers and other fare to bowlers and visitors. B&B also opened up an outdoor Flair Street bar at Revolutions

Live music, plus the new food and drink additions, should boost Revolutions fortunes, Frank said at the time.

Earlier this year, Frank said Revolutions had invested $7 million in CityPlace.  Frank could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

To read Revolutions’ response to the lawsuit, and its counterclaim against CityPlace, go to mypalmbeachpost.com

Brightline holds safety workshop for police, fire officials

Officials with All Aboard Florida’s Brightline held a train safety workshop on Saturday for police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

More than 35 first responders attended the workshop, which was held at Brightline’s rail repair yard in West Palm Beach, the company said.

Brightline hosted more than 35 first responders from Broward and Palm Beach counties and cities at Workshop b on Saturday, June 24. (Photo provided by Brightline)

RELATED: Rep. Brian Mast questions former Brightline head about financing, safety

During the four-hour workshop, Brightline’s emergency management team provided training, an equipment and facility tour, and an overview of its safety and security plans, the company said.

MORE: Brightline, FPL to partner on biodiesel fuel for trains

“Safety is Brightline’s top priority, and it’s critical that we partner with all first responders along the rail corridor before we launch our service,” said Brightline Safety and Security Director Robert Gatchell, a railroad law enforcement veteran, serving 15 years for New Jersey Transit. “This specialized training and preparedness workshop offers our local responders insights on how rail works and how to deal with rail incidents. Collaboration is key to the safety and security of our guests, employees and the many communities in which we will operate. Our unified goal is for the highest level of safety preparedness.”

Brightline is expected to begin service later this summer. A grand opening is expected to be held in the fall.

Once operational, Brightline’s trains will shuttle passengers between West Palm Beach and Miami in about an hour. Ticket prices have not been announced.

Eventually, Brightline plans to expand service north to Orlando.

Construction on the West Palm Beach-to-Orlando leg has not yet begun. Brightline officials have said the project will take at least two years from the time work starts.

Brightline in April launched a safety campaign designed to warn students and those living near the Florida East Coast Railway corridor about the dangers of walking along train tracks.

The company has asked cities along the route to help promote the campaign, part of a national program called Operation Lifesaver, which is designed to reduce collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and prevent trespassing on or near railroad tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

Job fair to be held next week at West Palm Beach Marriott

Job seekers will get a chance to meet with over 25 employers at a career fair planned Tuesday (June 27) at the Marriott in West Palm Beach.

By Stuart Pilbrow

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marriott at 1001 Okeechobee Boulevard, located just east of Interstate 95. According to organizer jobnewsusa.com, more than 1,000 positions will be available.

Job seekers can view the event directory and pre-register online at www.jobnewsusa.com/southflorida.

 

Botox at the beach? You can have it at the Four Seasons

Palm Beach Post file photo

 

The Four Seasons Palm Beach has it all when it comes to relaxing: Ocean views, soothing interiors and a spa providing massages and facials.

But in a new level of service, now offers a plastic surgeon’s services to guests who want to keep that refreshed look going, long after they check out of the hotel.

Dr. Harold Bafitis, a board-certified plastic surgeon, provides services such as Botox, fillers and Coopsculpt in a dedicated spa room. Bafitis is available both to hotel guests as well as local residents, based on appointment availability. The Four Seasons is at 2800 S. Ocean Blvd.

The Four Seasons in Maui offers plastic surgery services, but this arrangement marks the first time the Four Seasons has offered this service in the continental United States.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Harold Bafitis now gives treatments at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)

“We’re the only ones offering the combination of the resort experience and the spa experience,” said Colin Clark, formerly general manager of the Four Seasons. (Since the interview, Peter has taken a job as general manager of the Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai, Hawaii.)

Bafitis’ services have been offered quietly for the past several months, and they’re gaining steam with hotel guests who love the extra services.

“We make them look good and provide  services to this five-star hotel and spa that’s never been done before. It’s worked out well,” Bafitis said.

Bafitis said these types of services have been done on cruise ships in the past, but he thought providing them at a five-star resort would be a good fit. And with the Four Seasons right in his backyard, it seemed like a smart way to broaden his patient base.

From the hotel’s standpoint, the alliance could be a springboard to offering plastic surgery services at other properties, Clark said:  “We might be taking it to other Four Seasons as well.”

Spa director Al Kawasmeh said Florida was a natural for Four Seasons to try the services out with guests. People in Florida are into wellness and fitness, Kawasmeh noted.

Kawasmeh is in the perfect position to suggestion expansion of the plastic surgery services to other Four Seasons resorts: This month, he was named senior spa director for the Four Seasons’ North America hotels and resorts.

Prices range from $14 to $16 per Botox injection, $400 to $750 per cc for fillers and about $600-$800 for Coolsculpt, a non-surgical fat removal procedure. There’s no bruising, no special garments to wear: “You go right to the pool,” Bafitis said. Guests often book services prior to arrival.

Even though it’s off season now, the hotel never really slows down. Occupancy is strong year-round, so gone are the days when summers are quiet, hotel officials said.

Bafitis said he’s benefited from the Four Seasons alliance, too.  He was required to attend hotel training, where he learned the Four Seasons philosophy toward guests. They include smiling all the time, making eye contact and providing an extra level of service that’s not expected but is appreciated.

Bafitis said he now employs these techniques in his plastic surgery practice, which has offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and Wellington.

 

Hoffman’s giving Dads FREE chocolate cigars on Father’s Day

photo provided by Hoffman’s

The first 50 dads in line when the doors open at any of Hoffman’s Chocolates‘ South Florida locations on Father’s Day will receive a FREE treat.

The candy maker is giving away a free chocolate cigar to the first 50 dads to visit any of its shops on Father’s Day (June 18).

RELATED: Dads eat FREE at this chain on Father’s Day

Hoffman’s will also have buy one get one free ice cream all day.

Hoffman’s Chocolates has stores in Greenacres, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Delray Beach, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Weston, Hollywood and the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

For more information,  visit www.Hoffmans.com.