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December 2, 2009

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Seagate Hotel

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I go to Delray Beach often since my sister and dad usually spend their winters there. In fact, this year I’ve been a remarkable 10 times. I almost always stay at their place, but if they have house guests then I usually end up at the Delray Beach Marriott. During my most recent visit their guest rooms were empty, but I still didn’t stay with them. That’s because the first independent luxury hotel in Delray opened up a few weeks ago, and I had the privilege to be one of the first guests to get the inside scoop.

The Seagate Hotel & Spa is located on East Atlantic Avenue just a couple blocks from the beach and an even shorter distance to all the fine restaurants on Atlantic Avenue. When I rolled up the first thing I noticed—besides the 5,000-gallon aquarium populated with colorful sea life—was the service. Approximately 200 area residents were hired to tend to all of the property’s operations; in this economy they are just appreciative to have a job, and it shows. Everyone I encountered, from the bellman to the GM, was super friendly.

The hotel has 162 guest rooms that feature contemporary designer furnishings from the upscale Wendell Castle Collection (I’ve never heard of it but the staffers made such a huge deal about it that I figured you might have). I was in a standard room with warm, dark woods and a connecting door that led to the room where my dad stayed. He snores like a hibernating bear, so I know the rooms are built solid—I didn’t hear a peep from him. The window/patio doors are hurricane proof, and slide smoothly and quietly (my biggest peeve about the nearby Marriott), but these didn’t block out the street noise entirely.

All the rooms have dream-like bedding outfitted with fine linens, oversized cloudlike pillows, and a giant down comforter. Between the blackout curtains and the 42" flat-screen LCD TV (with a DVD player), it was difficult to focus on work (Internet is free in the lobby, $9.95 in-room). There’s also an in-room gourmet refreshment center with a microwave and Keurig coffee maker.

What stood out the most was the marble bath, which has a sliding open wall above so if you’re soaking in the tub or in the separate shower you can still look out the window at the incredible Florida sky. The Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and sponges were a nice touch and what’s crazy is that the towels are so new and soft that they don’t even absorb that well.

Throughout the hotel, including in the rooms, there are motion-detection lights, which saves who knows how much energy. Other standout energy-saving features include toilets that offer full- or half-flush options, which is typical in most parts of the world but North America.

The hotel has three restaurants. The signature dining experience is the Atlantic Grille with indoor and outdoor seating. The executive chef came from the Palm Beach Yacht Club and features contemporary American cuisine with a focus on locally sourced seafood. My dad and I ate there on Friday night and the place was absolutely pumping. The in-crowd were sitting either outside along the railing for cocktails or inside at the loud bar listening to the talented piano player.

We ran into my sister’s neighbor, who’s a social butterfly, and he and everyone in his party were raving about the food, decor, and service. I had creamed of corn soup ($7) to start, while my dad had fried oysters ($12). I debated between the steak salad with soba noodles or braised beef short ribs ($28) and decided on the latter. It practically fell off the bone, but it was so filling I only ate half. My dad devoured his halibut special ($29) and we finished with chocolate lava cake and pistachio ice cream ($9).

Another place to eat on property is Etc. Café and Gifts. It’s a cute, bright, airy café next to some of their shops and was the only place showing growing pains. The service was slow and it took a good 25 minutes for our cappuccino, chocolate chip muffins, and ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches ($4.25) to be delivered.

The third restaurant is located about a mile away at the Seagate’s private beach club. They have a brand-new trolley and a couple of Mercedes to whisk guests back and fourth (no charge) so they can take advantage of the beach (there’s water-sport equipment rentals for scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking) or have a casual lunch.

The public can’t walk in off the street, as it’s private club, so they don’t take cash at the beach club (you charge everything to your room). My dad and I ate lunch out on the patio; I had the beef tenderloin and beefsteak tomato salad ($13) and my dad had tuna Niçoise ($15). We passed on dessert since they offer the best cookies sitting out on the bar for free; chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and s’mores—yikes it was tasty.

Back at the hotel there’s a narrow outdoor pool, small state-of-the-art fitness center (with a Kinesis machine), and an 8,000-square-foot spa with seven treatment rooms. The Seagate Spa uses Amala certified organic skin-care products, approved at only four other spas throughout North America. The space is really a nice spa and well run. My dad loved the amenity kit that they give you upon arrival; it was filled with a tooth brush, razor, deodorant… FYI: My dad said their steam room was the best he’s ever been in and he looked forward to going to it each day.

I signed up for the Seagate Spa’s signature treatment, the Hot Shell Massage. That’s right, hot SHELL, not stone. It costs $150 + $30 tip for 50 minutes. These hollowed shells are filled with magnesium and they stay hot for an incredible 80 minutes. Eve, a four-year veteran, did an excellent job rubbing me down and putting the edges in between my toes and other crevices. She also taught me that calling a massage therapist a masseuse is like calling a flight attendant a stewardess. I had no idea.

The Seagate Hotel is offering a special introductory rate of $159/night through December 20, 2009. For more information or to make reservations, please visit

GYM 111
FYI: In case you want a bigger gym, or you aren’t staying at the Seagate, check out my friend Ashley’s gym, Gym 111. It’s up the road on Atlantic Avenue and visitors are more than welcome. Their day pass is $20, or $80 for the week. For more info log on to

Here’s a one-minute video of my stay at the Seagate Hotel.

Next week: We go cruising, again!

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*PLEASE tell us what you think of this week's newsletter!

Note: This trip was sponsored in part by The Swan & Dolphin Hotel & Seagate Hotel.

Copyright 2009 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


The Seagate Hotel




Front desk




More Lobby


Conference Room


Lots of fish tanks


etc. Cafe


Seagate shop


My bed


Room carpet


My Room


Seagate bathtub


Tub Sponges


View from balcony


Seagate pool


Seagate Gym


Welcome tea in Spa




Hot Shell Massage


Seagate GM


Seagate Trolley


Seagate Beach Club


Lunch at Beach Club


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