Boca Raton, Florida Hotels, Resorts & Hotel Accommodations

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State FLORIDA

BOCA RATON
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TRAVEL FORUMS, CHAT AND DISCUSSIONS
BOCA RATON (literally "the mouth of the rat"), twenty miles north of Fort Lauderdale, is noteworthy mostly for its abundance of Mediterranean Revival architecture , a style prevalent here since the 1920s and kept alive in the downtown area by strict building codes. New structures must incorporate arched entranceways, fake bell towers and red-tiled roofs whenever possible, ensuring a consistent and distinctive "look." It all goes back to Addison Mizner , the "Aladdin of architects", who swept in to Boca Raton on the tide of the Florida property boom and bought up 1600 acres of farmland. Mizner's vision of gondola-filled canals, luxury hotels and even a great cathedral never came to fruition, but the few buildings he completed left an indelible mark. His million-dollar Cloister Inn , for example, grew into the present $200-a-night Boca Raton Resort and Club , 501 E Camino Real, a pink palace of marble columns, sculptured fountains and carefully aged wood (tel 561/447-3000 or 1-888/491-BOCA; $130-250+). In its legendary confines at Mizner Park , off US-1 between Palmetto Park Road and Glades Road, the open-air plaza is adorned with palm trees and waterfalls. The park is also home to the International Museum of Cartoon Art , 201 Plaza Real (Tues-Sat 10am- 6pm, Sun noon-6pm; $6; tel 561/391-2200), worth a stop for its expensive collection of political cartoons and comic strip exhibits. The collection has an interactive area geared toward kids. A mile north of Hwy-798 (which links downtown with the beach) at 1801 N Ocean Blvd/Hwy-A1A, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center (Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, Sun noon-4pm; $2 donation) covers twenty acres inhabited by osprey, brown pelicans and sea turtles. Night turtle-watching tours are offered between May and July; book well in advance (tel 561/338-1473). Boca Raton's most explorable beachside area is Spanish River Park (daily 8am-dusk; cars $8 Mon-Fri, $10 Sat, Sun & hols, pedestrians and cyclists free), a couple of miles north of downtown. Most of these fifty acres of vivid vegetation and high-rise greenery are only penetrable on trails through shady thickets. OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN FLORIDA
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