Hotel of the Week: The Iconic Boca Raton Resort Gets Sweeping Update by Rockwell Group
Architect David Rockwell talks to Galerie about breathing new life into Addison Mizner’s original design
As the Roaring Twenties unfurled in South Florida, a sun-kissed cocktail of Spanish, Moorish, and Italian influences emerged thanks to architect Addison Mizner, the progenitor of the now-ubiquitous Mediterranean Revival style. In addition to building a bevy of palazzo residences favored by the Jazz Age elite, Mizner also created an opulent hotel called the Ritz-Carlton Cloister Inn, which later expanded to became The Boca Raton. Today, the lavish resort encompasses some 200 prime waterfront acres with five hotels under the umbrella of one iconic property—which will mark its 100th anniversary in 2026.
In advance of the milestone, the resort enlisted award-winning firm Rockwell Group to oversee a multi-year refresh that included the redesign many of the public areas plus the creation of new signature restaurants in collaboration with Major Food Group. The sweeping update also involved revamping the 224 guest rooms and suites within the 27-story Tower hotel. “This was a two-fold process of stripping back additions and renovations over the years as well as celebrating historic features part of architect Addison Mizner’s original vision,” firm founder and President, David Rockwell, tells Galerie.
To that end, the team injected a sense of warmth and modern luxury through richly textured materials and contemporary furnishings that embraced the Sunshine State’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle. “Each space has its own essence, but subtle, connecting threads tie back to story of the property’s origins,” explains Rockwell.
The soaring Palm Court, for instance, is now free of awkward additions made in the ‘80s and ‘90s, expertly re-envisioned as the heart of the resort with a bar, café, and buzzing social area. “Guests enter through a storefront with glazed arches framed in black steel, a contemporary interpretation of the arches found throughout the property,” notes Rockwell. “The storefront then enhances views out to the lake and encourage the connection between indoors and out—that connection was originally the true guiding spirit of the resort.”
The ornate Cloister Lobby has also been returned to Mizner’s original vision, with traditional limestone floor and white paint deferring to the historic moldings and decorative architectural elements, while a former restaurant space has been reclaimed to one of its earlier functions as a parlor. Now called the Mizner Lounge, the sanctuary connects to the Palm Court and is anchored by a monumental hearth designed by Mizer that was hidden for years but uncovered during Rockwell’s renovation.
Along the way, the team also worked in conjunction with Saatchi Art to commission bespoke installations throughout the property. “For example, the focal point of Principessa Ristorante’s dining room is a 20-foot-long custom tapestry by artist Tamsen Hall. It adds a playful twist on classic Roman paintings,” says Rockwell. “Our team also had fun working with Saatchi Art on sourcing the private dining room’s black and white prints by photographers such as Ellen von Unwerth and Giampaolo Sgura.”
The Flamingo Grill, meanwhile, was the first dining destination to open and boasts a hand-painted tile mural of the Floridian landscape featuring local flora and fauna devised by Rockwell Group and Viúva Lamego, a bespoke ceramic tile company based in Portugal. “It turned out so beautifully, and it feels like a perfect complement to the context of the restaurant and overall resort,” says Rockwell. “Mizner had his own tile company, and I think he would have appreciated the handmade quality of the mural. Our design team also sourced a vintage Murano glass reminiscent of pink flamingo feathers.”
Other restaurants include a location of Sadelle’s, Japanese Bocce Club, and the Harbour House restaurant (located within the Harborside Pool Club). “Japanese Bocce Club is different than anything else on the property,” notes Rockwell. “Since it’s not in a historic building, we were able to conceive of something contemporary and modern. It is playful and fun and provides a nice counterweight to the more traditional design and millwork in spaces such as Palm Court and Principessa Ristorante. It’s like the quirky little sibling to all of the gravitas in the other spaces.”
In all, the new vibe at The Boca Raton is classically Floridian: an airy elegance infused with moments of playful, tropical notes that ground guests in a sense of place. “We wanted to return the property to its ‘Golden Age,’ encouraging guests to make their own discoveries and memories,” says Rockwell. “As one critic said of Mizner’s original resort, ‘The Cloister was simple to severity in its whole, yet rich in delights.’” Lucky for guests, under Rockwell’s expert vision, those delights have only multiplied.
See more photos below.