With the pandemic in a lull, demand for accommodations at Palm Beach’s hotels is heating up. The Breakers, for one, is sold out for the rest of the March.
Other island hotels say their occupancy rates — the percentage of their rooms currently booked — now rival or exceed pre-pandemic levels as vacationers pursue travel plans formerly foiled by the pandemic.
While the omicron variant put a damper on the holiday season, its rapid decline sent travelers back on track, with beachy destinations popular, travel experts say.
Add to that groups that rescheduled previous getaways for this year, , said The Brazilian Court’s director of sales Stacy Lee.
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All this fun in the sun among comes at a robust price for visitors to the island.
When higher demand for accommodations gobbles up rooms and suites, nightly rates go up for the smaller slice of them that remains available for booking.
At the island’s biggest hotels, nightly rates now start at around $1,300 to $1,500.
Rates at smaller hotels in town also are notable these days.
At The Breakers, this time of year typically sees limited availability for accommodations, but all 538 of the rooms and suites at the 140-acre resort-hotel are booked for the rest of the month.
Dates remain available in April, when nightly rates start at about $1,390, according to The Breakers’ website.
“The urge to travel is at an all-time high,” Sara Flight, director of communications, told the Daily News. “Both The Breakers and Palm Beach are desirable destinations to escape colder climates and enjoy an array of al fresco activities.”
On top of The Breakers’ amenities, Flight credits extra-high interest in the hotel to its B-Safe coronavirus protocols.
The Brazilian Court, which has a total of 80 rooms and suites for guests, has nightly rates starting at $1,259 in March and $989 in April, Lee said.
At the Palm Beach Historic Inn, a bed-and-breakfast with 10 rooms and three suites, nightly rates have “doubled,” with weekdays rates now starting at $650 a night, General Manager Priscila Duarte told the Daily News.
“We have been almost sold out for weeks,” she said. “Being busy in season isn’t unusual, but it has been really busy.”
The Chesterfield, with 53 rooms and suites, has been 80% full in recent weeks “with many dates with limited or no availability,” Arnelle Kendall, director of communications, said in an email.
High demand likely will continue “well past the usual end of season,” she said, noting current nightly rates at The Chesterfield start at around $1,000.
Earlier this season, the hotel resumed nightly musical entertainment in its Leopard Lounge — an added enticement for visitors.
Though hotel occupancy countywide was 66% in January, it’s projected to hit around 80% for February once officials finish crunching numbers, according official from Discover the Palm Beaches, the county’s tourism marketing agency.
“The jump (to 80%) has to do with several factors,” Lindsey Wiegmann, the agency’s director of public relations, told the Daily News.
“Omicron faded and people are more confident about traveling,” Wiegmann said. “We also had the return of a lot of activities in the county that draw people — from the Honda Classic to polo and the Winter Equestrian Festival.”
Discover the Palm Beaches’ most recent statistics also show nightly hotel rates countywide are up around 25% from pre-pandemic 2019.
Michelle Phillips, marketing director at Eau Palm Beach Resort in Manalapan, said she has noticed a “similar” uptick
in rates throughout Florida.
Nightly rates at Eau, with 309 rooms and suites, currently start at around $1,300.
“Occupancy has remained at or above pre-COVID levels and we anticipate this to be one of our best first quarters,” Phillips said in an email.
A multimillion-dollar renovation is being completed at 6-acre Eau, which has remained open during the process. Pool decks and children’s recreational facilities have been enhanced and new dining outlets added.
Phillips said she and her colleagues “anticipate a steady surge of travel (to the Palm Beach area) throughout the remainder of the year.”
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