People who’ve lived in South Florida for over 20 years remember those quiet summer days before Ricky Martin and Will Smith turned the Sunshine State into a 12-month destination. There are few remnants of that halcyon “Old Florida” but all is not lost.
One hour north of Palm Beach, Gloria Estefan's 94-room Costa d’Este Resort Vero Beach is designed for those people seeking to escape the crush.
The South Beach look vividly contrasts Vero's fishermen bars and pricey condos. For example, the orbital “cheese holes” covering the facade conjure up thoughts of legendary Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus, who designed the iconic Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels.
The lobby’s focal point is a copper chain curtain where a slide projector paints a diaphanous bird of paradise on the shimmering metal canvas. Behind that, dozens of candles flicker in square cutouts inside a synthetic amber onyx wall. All of the light in Costa d’Este is amber to create a candlelit mood.
Leading to the pool, a small Romero Britto drawing is the hotel's most prized piece of art.
The pool is the heart of Costa d’Este, with both locals and guests mingling around the pool bar. You spend a lot of time here lounging around the pool, which extends right up to the beach sloping down into the sea. That's why you come here.
At the pool bar I meet some long time Vero residents. It's easy to spot them. They move slowly, talk softly, and they're often looking at the horizon thinking of another time.