Sunday, October 19 Hartford Courant

TRAVEL

LUSH OASES IN THE SUN
BLOOMS, ROOMS, DELIGHT AT BED AND BREAKFASTS IN SOUTH FLORIDA

South Florida B&Bs Offer Doses Of Lush Charm

By LIZ DOUP |
October 19, 2008

Maybe it was the sheer loveliness of the 1925 home. Or the breakfast served poolside, with linens and fine china. Or the well-tended flowers blooming everywhere.

It was probably all that and more, making us feel like we were on a vacation thousands of miles away.

Except home was still in South Florida, just a 30-minute ride south on I-95.

That's the beauty of a good B&B. Whether you live down the road or across the country, the beauty and congeniality of a good bed and breakfast win out over a cookie-cutter hotel room every time. And South Florida has many good B&Bs to offer locals and tourists.

OAK FLOOR, HIGH CEILINGS AND FILLED WITH ANTIQUES

Michelangelo RoomSabal Palm House, Lake Worth

Vibe: If you're looking for a romantic getaway, The Sabal Palm House, 109 N. Golfview Road, is the spot. The two-story home, built in 1936, features oak floors and high ceilings and is filled with antiques. Lace curtains cover the windows. But there are modern touches, too. All the rooms have flat-panel HDTVs.

The house, winner of AAA's Four Diamond Award for the last eight years, overlooks Lake Worth Municipal Golf Course and is near the beach and downtown Lake Worth. Colleen and John Rinaldi bought the B&B six years ago.

"I felt like the house gave me a hug," says Colleen Rinaldi, describing the first time she walked through its front door. "Now I want to make people feel at home."

The Rinaldis live on the first floor of the carriage house behind the stately home, so they're easily available to guests. Every day, Colleen Rinaldi bakes cookies for afternoon tea.

Accommodations: The seven guest rooms — four in the main house, three in the carriage house — are named after famous artists. Each room contains reproductions by Renoir, Degas and others, along with a book about the artist.

Off the living room is a refrigerator filled with complimentary drinks, including wine. John Rinaldi handles breakfast duties, and a recent sampling included fresh fruit, muffins and cream-cheese-stuffed cinnamon raisin French toast.

Highlights: The home is near downtown Lake Worth, where restaurants and shops fill the main streets of Lake and Lucerne. The Rinaldis provide beach towels and chairs if you want to hit the ocean, just over the bridge.

For a fee, you can request champagne and roses in your room or silk red rose petals placed on your bed during turndown.

Because the Rinaldis cater to guests who want a quiet, romantic setting, this bed and breakfast doesn't accommodate children.

Rates: $155 to $225; Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, $155 to $285; January, $165 to $265; Feb. 1 to March 31, $185 to $285; April, $165 to $245.

Contact: 888-722-2572; 561-582-1090; sabalpalmhouse.com