By Christiana Lilly, Marie Speed and John Thomason
Singapore has nothing on us. Boca Raton has long been known for its affluence—and, sometimes, its over-the-top displays of wealth. Here’s how the super-rich can—and sometimes do—live in our fair city.
Boca is known for its mini-mansions, its mega mansions and its high-ticket homes, but billionaire investor and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s “vacation” house in the ultra-exclusive Le Lac community (32 properties on 150 acres) eclipses 99 percent of them. This 41,000-plus-square-foot house is part of a compound on 6.5 acres—with separate quarters for staff and security. There are seven bedrooms, 10 baths, nine half-baths, a custom-designed sports bar (occasionally furnished with Red Sox World Series memorabilia and other trophies), an 11-seat movie theater with a concession stand, a private recording studio and a NASCAR simulator room. Douglas Elliman’s Senada Adzem, who has listed the house for $25 million, says its most prominent features are its dramatic Japanese design aesthetic and its complete dedication to privacy. “You do not really know you are arriving until you are there, and when you are there you feel as if you are in a country club,” she says. Home Sweet Home, Boca-style.
The Spa Day
Like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Manalapan’s Eau Spa is whimsical, zany and magical. The spa describes itself as a “wonderland,” and its attendants are likened to “fairies.” Little rubber duckies follow you throughout the spa campus, as do Champagne and mini cupcakes. It’s an adults’ fantasyland, and you need a veritable Golden Ticket, or a spare $950, to indulge in its priciest treatment. Geared toward lovebirds, the Queen of Hearts is a three-hour couples’ experience complete with red flower scrub, a bath “fit for your royal highness,” an hour-long red flower massage, and an hour-long signature facial. It’s good to be queen.
Aficionados of French bulldogs know that this affectionate breed can have coats of many colors. The gene known as merle, which gives the pooches rare colors like blue, black-and-tan and lilac, is a dominant one in Frenchies, but only a couple from each litter have it. And so it goes that the more exotic the hue, the pricier the puppy. At the time of this writing, Boca Raton’s Poochie Couture offered one local dog with a five-digit price tag: a chocolate merle French bulldog named Duke, who retailed for $10,000. With such a hefty investment in your canine, he only deserves the best, so we suggest bringing your rare breed to Lap of Luxury Dog Spa. It’s run by Jonathan David, dog groomer to the stars, who has appeared on Animal Planet and has washed the four-legged friends of Mariah Carey, Ralph Lauren, Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. Lap of Luxury’s “Elite Full-Body Groom” begins at $80.
When life gets ho-hum in Boca, it’s time to buy an Around the World Wildlife Safari ticket from luxury travel purveyors Abercrombie & Kent. Over the course of 25 days, you observe snow monkeys in Japan, giant pandas in China, whale sharks in the Philippines, orangutans in Malaysia, Bengal tigers in India, gorillas in Rwanda and lemurs in Madagascar. The journey concludes with a safari search for the “Big Five” in Kenya. The package includes three meals a day and resort accommodations, and you travel on a private jet with a 50-guest capacity. Prices run “from” $139,950—plus a flight to Seattle for the departure.
Boca has its share of superb restaurants (from the Resort to Arturo’s, Trattoria Romana, Kathy’s Gazebo, and on and on), but a good steak at Abe Louie’s is also a winner. Start with a sauteed chili lobster appetizer, then move on to the 40-ounce Prime porterhouse steak ($90). For dessert, the Seven-Layer Chocolate Cake beckons. But it’s the vino that can elevate this dinner to a very special one: The flawlessly reviewed 2003 Château Lafite Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Class., Pauillac, runs a cool $1,950. That makes a $2,081 meal before tip … but just think about the leftovers!
Or you can always hop on a flight to the Big Apple and have a luxe date night at Masa, the menu-less, chef-curated Manhattan sushi bar that is widely viewed as the most expensive restaurant in New York. Masa seats just 26 people a night, at $595 per person not including beverages and tax. Even the bar itself is valued at $260,000, so keep your elbows off it.
Palm Beach’s Raptis Rare Books carries a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale inscribed by the author, available for a mere $150,000. This one is best enjoyed in your private beachfront cabana, martini at your side—shaken, of course. (For the most expensive book at Raptis, read our Web Extra.)
Women here may go to the Paris shows or spend a weekend in New York shopping. Or they may simply stay here, where the shopping is just fine; Boca’s local mall is a tribute to luxury, with anchors like Saks, Bloomie’s, Neiman’s and Nordstrom. Men have Guy La Ferrera, the go-to haberdashery for 36 years in Boca. La Ferrera maintains an Italian tailor on site, and 40 percent of customers order custom suits (averaging $3,500 to $4,000) or shirts (starting at $245). You can get a handmade silk shirt for a cool $950, or custom-made Mark Chris shoes for $1,175. Or maybe you’re a simple blue jeans guy; a starter pair goes for a rock-bottom $190.
By Boca Raton standards, a facelift is pretty much like brushing your teeth in the morning; everyone does it. But Dr. Scott Ennis, M.D., FSACS, offers his Boca patients a little extra. Upon completion of the procedure, patients of Dr. Ennis are ferried by a Rolls-Royce Ghost from his luxurious office in the Boca Grande building to the Boca Raton Resort & Club. They are escorted through a private entrance to the very elegant (and private) Yacht Club for a week or so, where they are pampered with in-room massages, room service, the works—while they heal. Dr. Ennis says many of his patients come to him from around the country and internationally, so the luxury convalescence is practically essential. He or his wife, Donna, a double-certified nurse practitioner, visit his patients the day after surgery (and when necessary) at The Resort. And everyone lives happily—and more beautifully—ever after. The average cost of a coveted Ennis facelift and Resort recuperation is $25,000 to $35,000.
The upper 1 percent in Boca need help, like anyone else. Angelique Gerow of 360 Concierge and Staffing, which handles estate staffing and management throughout South Florida (and yacht provisioning, aircraft charters, you name it) says her firm specializes in a “very bespoke” level of service, operating on a “boutique personal level.” She says staffing needs are rising in Boca, due to the economy and people “getting busier.” The most common requests are for a private chef, but she says the ultimate staff needs for an estate between 10,000 and 60,000 square feet would be a chef/house manager, a lead housekeeper and a secondary housekeeper who is also a dedicated laundress. The requests for drivers are not as frequent these days due to Uber. (Yes, even wealthy people like Uber!)
When it comes to must-have, exclusive bags, the Hermes Birkin bag is still unsurpassed. While prices begin around $11,000, David Beckham bought his wife, Victoria, the white Himalaya crocodile diamond Birkin bag at a Christie’s auction in 2016 for a record-breaking $379,261. The beauty is made of white crocodile skin adorned with 240 diamonds on 18-karat gold hardware. So if you want to bend it like Beckham, head straight to Hermes at The Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach, but be forewarned: The Birkin is also known for its notorious wait list.
Nestled within the vaults of Hamilton Jewelers on Worth Avenue is a one-of-a-kind ring: a light pink pear-shaped diamond ring, weighting 30.42 carats and priced at a cool $1.25 million. “Natural color diamonds have long been treasured for their rarity—coveted by many but owned by few,” says Hank B. Siegel, president of Hamilton Jewelers. There is another masterpiece at Jay Feder in Boca Raton: a necklace boasting 520 square rubies, 302 round diamonds and 10 baguette diamonds. Most impressive, the stones in this Oscar Heyman necklace are in an “invisible” setting—making the necklace so flexible, it’s like tying a silk ribbon around your neck. “It’s like they’re floating,” says Kevin Ray, the merchandising and special events coordinator at Jay Feder. ‘To do something like this is pretty incredible.” You can add it to your collection for a mere $975,000.
Parents have their choice of several private schools in Boca, but the most expensive is St. Andrew’s School. For 2019-2020, tuition starts at $24,340 for pre-kindergarten students and goes up to $49,850 for boarding upper school students. To become a Scot, all students must go through the application process, which includes a campus tour, testing, teacher recommendation letters, interviews and a classroom visit.
Gone are the days of sticky floors and sharing an armrest. The moviegoing experience at iPic has elevated a night out on the town, with private pods, servers at your beck and call at the push of a button, reclining seats, blankets and throw pillows. To up the ante, some have rented out the theater for private parties. While the cost of renting auditoriums varies, a 44-person cinema would be nearly $2,500—before noon. The event can be customized to include the newest blockbuster movies as well as catering from its culinary team.
Aston Martin unleashed the DBS Superleggera in 2019—big news in the luxury car world, as the British brand hadn’t released a car of this caliber since the ultra-exclusive One-77 in 2009. The Superleggera boasts 700 horsepower and 900 Newton meters of torque, and a sleek new body, grill, spoiler and wheels. If you want one in your garage, it’ll set you back $308,081—or more. “A nicely equipped car with a lot of upgrades generally averages around $350,000,” says Jim Horton, the general manager of Aston Martin Jaguar McLaren Palm Beach (which won the Aston Martin Wings Award, the highest honor for dealers).
This story is from the May/June 2019 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.