Our very first visit to Boca Raton, FL proved unforgettable thanks to our stay at the Waterstone Resort and Marina. This quaint, boutique hotel is the ideal alternative to those large-scale bustling, commercialized resorts.
From uncompromised, gorgeous views, to a variety of watersports at your fingertips, to an array of activities in the famous Boca Raton, here’s why we recommend a stay at the Waterstone during your next trip to the West Palm Beach area.
The Stunning Views of Lake Boca and the Ocean
I can’t say enough about the in-room balcony views from the Waterstone Resort and Marina. One side of the hotel faces the beautiful Lake Boca, a stunning and expansive section of Florida’s intercoastal waterway.
The other side of the hotel faces the Boca Raton Inlet, South Inlet Park, and the Atlantic Ocean. You’d be hard pressed to find a room with a mediocre view at the Waterstone. Every single room has a balcony and view of one of these two areas. But as usual, the higher the better. We stayed on the ninth floor overlooking the lake and it was breathtaking.
There’s something unique and special about Lake Boca Raton, the view from north facing rooms. It’s described as a boater’s paradise, and we could see why. Although a part of the inland waterway, it’s quite wide, and at times deep dark blue in color.
Protected on all sides, the lake is often calm and a great place to enjoy the more easy-going watersports. An area known for its tasteful opulence, the architecture surrounding the lake does not disappoint and really adds to the gorgeous water view.
Those in south-facing rooms can see the Boca Raton Inlet and ocean beyond. Some controversy surrounds the name of the inlet, and the town that popped up around it. Locals still claim the name translates to Mouth of the Rat, describing the narrow and somewhat treacherous entrance to the lake from the Atlantic Ocean. Others claim that Raton is a Spanish name for rugged rocks or stony ground near the coast. We prefer the Rat’s Mouth – much cooler so let’s go with that!
A Variety of Water Sports on Premises
A lot of hotels offer access to water sports, but how many offer this range of choices right on premises? The Waterstone doesn’t have “marina” in its name for nothing. The calm lake is perfect for relaxing water activities like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, both of which can be rented on site.
If you have the need for speed, be sure to check out the Waverunners which can also be rented hourly. An expert dock master will help get you settled with any of these activities, so don’t be shy.
We opted to rent the hotels very own pontoon boat for an hour, and it wound up being the most memorable activity of the stay. As mentioned, Lake Boca Raton is a unique and spectacular place to enjoy boating. We headed northward through the lake and into the narrower waterway.
We could have headed south a bit towards the inlet, but the hotel’s pontoon boat is not meant for the ocean, and this route wouldn’t have gotten us very far.
Once you make your way past the lake get ready for a scene right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Slowly cruise right past one mega mansion after another, all huge but intricately designed to fit right in with the surrounding area. It really is beautiful. And while you may or may not be able to afford one of these gorgeous homes, the boat ride offers a wonderfully vicarious look.
If you have some boating experience you can rent the pontoon boat. Or opt for a guided tour.
The hotel also works with a series of local partners to offer exciting water activities such as Fly Boarding and Fishing Charters. What’s Fly Boarding? It’s a waterjet propelled board that you stand on to fly ten or so feet in the air above the lake. It’s Very safe, and a big favorite of guests.
If you really want to turn up the volume, ask about the Catamaran Cruise. The 55 foot Catamaran is available for small parties or special events – reservations required.
Beach Access Just a Short Walk Away
During our Florida road trips, we always seek out the easiest way in and out of the beach. We love hitting the beach, but we’re not ones to spend an entire day there. There’s too much else to do! If you’re like us, the Waterstone is the perfect solution.
Did we mention the water sports activities? Well when you’re done with that, pop on over to the ocean beach at South Inlet Park, which is just a five-minute walk or an even faster free shuttle service ride from the resort. The resort will give you complimentary umbrellas, chairs, towels and bottled waters. That’s our kind of beach access! If you choose to walk, the beach chairs are those “backpack” variety for easy carrying.
A quick trip to the each will also get you a close-up view of the Boca Raton inlet. In between swims in the ocean, our family enjoyed walking right out on the jetty and next to the inlet for a great photo op.
South Inlet Park also features both natural and artificial reefs that extend from the tip of the jetty all the way to the end of the park, and for this reason is a favorite for snorkeling and scuba diving. If you need a little guidance the hotel offers a 1-hour snorkeling venture.
Sometimes our kids just want to leave nature for a while and head to the pool. The Waterstone’s heated outdoor pool was a favorite of theirs, even amongst the many we visited on our trip. And yes, there’s a pool bar on site, which in my opinion is pretty non-negotiable when it comes to a quality hotel pool.
The Waterstone Rum Bar & Grill features a selection of top shelf rums and other drinks and poolside food choices, with live music on the weekend. Did I mention it’s a waterfront pool with a great view of the lake and inlet? Go ahead and splurge and rent a poolside cabana.
So Much to Do in Boca Raton
Clearly you’ll need to spend at least four or five days in Boca if you want to cover the gamut of activities. We spent a few hours at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Funny name – and named after an indigenous tree, Gumbo Limbo is best known as a rehabilitation center for sea turtles. And there’s plenty more to see. We enjoyed the various snakes, spiders, a blow fish, and even a moray eel!
The award-winning Sugar Sand Park is touted as one of the best kept secrets of Boca. It boasts an amazing outdoor water playground with a science theme, and a carousel. Even though this park is not on the water, it’s worth checking out.
Have you heard of Mizner Park? It’s a planned development/lifestyle center in downtown Boca that includes a number of great shopping locations and eateries. Don’t forget to check out the Boca Raton Museum of Art while you’re there.
Golfing anyone? The Club at Boca Pointe is Jack Nicklaus, Inc designed 18-hole championship course with special pricing for Waterstone guests.
When you’re done, be sure to make it back to the resort for the Champagne reception, 4:30 to 6:30 daily.
Fine Dock Side Dining Without Leaving the Resort
You don’t have to leave the resort to experience the area’s only waterside dining experience on Lake Boca. A dinner at Boca Landing is a must during your stay. Featuring craft cocktails, and Chef Kelley Randall’s steak and seafood cuisine, the Boca Landing was a spectacular waterside end to our busy waterside day.
We particularly enjoyed the Whiskey Smash made with Bulleit bourbon, lemon, cherry and honey, along with Crispy Calamari. For dinner the 1855 New York Strip Steak and Pan Seared Sea Scallops hit home. The chef pays attention to seasonal ingredients from the land and sea, so be sure to check the specials.
If you happen to be in Boca and aren’t staying at the Waterstone, Boca Landing is still a great choice. The marina is open to any boaters that want to stop in and dine – reservations are suggested.
We loved our stay at the Waterstone Resort and Marina. By the way, the resort is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, which is a great way to take advantage of all that Hilton has to offer, while staying at a small, boutique location.
The Waterstone Resort and Marina can be found at 999 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL.
Disclosure: Thank you to Waterstone Resort and Marina for hosting us. Opinions here are all own, as always.
Leaving the corporate world behind (a bizarre domain where a 25 year resident can still feel like a foreigner) Daniel set his sites on full-time travel writing and digital marketing. His plans include building an amazing business or three, maximizing time with his partner for life Lesli and four spectacular kiddos, and writing and delivering dad jokes.