The best resort experiences are those so seamlessly orchestrated, you'd barely know they were orchestrated at all. And at a new luxury Vero Beach property owned by one of Florida's most famous musical couples, a romantic Cuban-fusion dinner at oceanfront restaurant The Wave segues so smoothly into a night of dancing under the stars, it's no surprise that someone with star quality is pulling the strings.
Award-winning singer/producer couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan opened Costa d'Este Beach Resort in beautiful Vero Beach in June 2008. Since then, the $50 million luxury oceanfront resort has become the place to see and be seen in this laid-back beach town on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Vero Beach, about 100 miles southeast of the Orlando airport, is a tony town that tones down its glitz factor while highlighting the natural beauty of its beaches and the artsy edge of its residents. Vero has been ranked among the top 100 art towns in the country, and art galleries abound. The town’s appeal comes in its ability to be stylish in a most casually chic way.
“Vero Beach people love to have a good time, and this is a place to have fun and relax,” says Isabel Saavedra-Tragash of Miami-based STA Architectural Group, the firm that brought the Estefans’ vision of Costa d’Este to fruition. “The resort was a fresh addition to the amenities they have in Vero Beach, and people have really welcomed it.”
To prove that point, all you have to do is visit on a weekend night or Sunday afternoon, when DJs and live entertainment set the vibe for fun. Locals and tourists mingle on the oceanfront patio and at the poolside cabana bar, mojitos in hand.
“People really enjoy the music,” says Saavedra-Tragash, who got to know Vero Beach and its residents while she was designing the hotel, “And being that Emilio is a part of this, at night there’s live entertainment – it’s a very casual way of turning from dinner to dancing and music.”
Of course, the hotel’s design has to be conducive to conviviality, too. And Saavedra-Tragash’s keen sensibility and creativity – paired with the Estefans’ input – succeeded immensely in turning the existing circa-1970s Palm Court Hotel that sat on the property into the super stylish Costa d’Este.
“The existing hotel had a very strong geometry, and we decided, ‘let’s take a feature that was expressed in a subtle way and let’s push it, let’s express it further,’” says Saavedra-Tragash, explaining that most of the original structure was demolished, with the exception of a few key features, including the arched facade in the Palm Court Hotel’s exterior.
Those circular designs, along with the curvilinear forms of sea turtle eggs and other oceanic elements such as water bubbles, were the inspiration for the current hotel’s unique porte-cochere and porthole cutouts in the guest rooms that lend a nautical feel.
The organic color scheme and natural materials employed in Costa d’Este’s design succeed in promoting relaxation while reflecting the hotel’s stunning natural surrounds.
“We tried to keep a very organic, neutral palette,” says Saavedra-Tragash. “We felt Vero’s colors of nature – the ocean, the vegetation, the contrast between the sand and the blue of the sky – were very strong and very powerful. And we were preparing a backdrop for those vibrant colors.”
The hotel’s décor manages to be at once subdued and warm. The original building’s concrete floor was polished to a warm luster, and accents such as teak wood, mother-of-pearl inlays and tumbled stone walls in the bathrooms carry on the ocean-organic and nautical theme.
But the décor is also contemporary, too – backlit teak headboards crown beds clad in luxurious Egyptian linen, and amenities such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations are standard in all rooms.
Vying for attention with the beautiful rooms are the ocean views off guest room balconies. An uncrowded stretch of beach is steps away from the resort’s sleek infinity-edged pool.
- 90 guest rooms, four one-bedroom suites
- The Wave Kitchen & Grill, serving a mix of fresh American fare and Cuban fusion cuisine made from locally sourced foods.
- Infinity-edged pool
- Cabana pool bar
- The Spa at Costa d’Este – Vero Beach’s only resort spa features four treatment rooms and a Zen-like décor
- Fitness center with cardio, circuit-training and strength-training equipment, plus free weights
Friday & Saturday: DJs spin poolside from 7:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m.
Sunday: Live music poolside, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (spring and summer)
3244 Ocean Dr., Vero Beach