Photo courtesy The Ray

This Delray Beach Hotel Blends Tropical Vibes and Refined Sophistication

Florida Epic Stays
by Molly O'Brien Apr 16, 2024

Arguably the hottest boutique hotel in Delray Beach, Florida, The Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a contemporary, urban beach-inspired hospitality experience. This modern property, with rooms from $202 per night, is located in the artsy Pineapple District of downtown, just a mile from the beach and two blocks from the city’s bustling primary road, Atlantic Avenue. It’s a great spot to set as a home base for enjoying the city’s nightlife and daytime scene.

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What to expect at The Ray Delray Beach

Photo courtesy the Ray
Photo courtesy Azeez Bakare Studios/The Ray
Photo courtesy The Ray

Walking into The Ray is akin to breathing a breath of fresh air. The lobby boasts an abundance of welcoming elements like lush plant life, warm-toned golden lighting, and an array of tastefully arranged, free-spirited furniture and fixtures that welcome guests into the space in a stylish but relaxed way.

The 141 guest rooms and suites, along with the common spaces, feel playful and contemporary, boasting a sophisticated tropical aesthetic including living walls lined with green plants, a rooftop sanctuary including a pool and restaurant, and lively landscaping and design elements — making the private and shared spaces feel like they’re flourishing.

Design features, including large-scale sculptures and immersive art installations, pay homage to the city’s internationally known arts community — and the atmosphere feels like a laid-back spot to spend time just off the main drag.

In addition to the 22,000-square-foot rooftop pool deck with its upscale bar and restaurant, the property also encompasses two additional restaurants, a lobby bar, an impressive fitness center, a coffee shop, and amenities like a golf cart transportation service, beach loungers, hotel bikes, and rentable surfboards and paddle board equipment.

Spending time inside the hotel feels like taking an elevated trip to the ocean. The decor calls attention to its location in Greater Palm Beach, and there’s a tropical mood with a sense of laid-back wealth felt on a European seaside escape — with bright bohemian furnishings and light wooden furniture balanced with a luxurious atmosphere.

I could’ve spent most of my stay wandering around the common spaces and hallways, admiring the photos and artwork decorating the walls. The photography is evocative and cheeky with a vivacious personality — but also encompasses a sense of elegance and elevated style.

To me, the design feels as if polished old-money people were to collide with a luxurious and bohemian weekend of debauchery (and love it). The Ray’s interior spaces spoke to me as an entirely appropriate blend of fun and taste for an upscale South Florida boutique hotel — like it was winking at you, igniting a sense of playfulness from within to let go of sticky inhibitions and instead enjoy the spirited scene.

On-site dining at The Ray Delray Beach

Photo courtesy The Ray
Photo courtesy The Ray

My favorite pastime on-site was to wake up with a morning coffee from the hotel’s coffee hub, Stingers, which serves artisan espresso beverages, teas, and grab-and-go food and pressed juices. It’s open to the public, and features practically any kind of espresso drink you can dream of.

While I was there, the week’s “special” was the “Princess Diana” — a London Fog beverage with a dash of blueberry syrup for sweetness. I also thought it was cool how the shop offers opportunities to incorporate fun add-ons to drinks like Collagen and MCT oil for an “extra boost.”

Those who seek a taste of practically unparalleled Japanese fare with a modern twist can grab a bite at Akira Back. Michelin-starred Chef Akira Back helms this restaurant, which offers a multi-sensory dining experience in a welcoming setting, serving cold and hot “small plates” made for sharing. Dishes are inspired by Chef Back’s childhood memories, Korean roots, and world travel experiences — with tasty food complemented by minimalist aesthetics and decor in an intimate setting.

At Campi, an “Upper East Side-inspired gem made to be reminiscent of New York City’s iconic 40-year-old Campagnola restaurant,” enjoy a casual but elegant Italian dinner with a Floridian twist. This restaurant’s menu serves the flavors of traditional Italian favorites like house-made pasta and fresh seafood paired with a decadent drink menu.

My favorite detail while dining at Campi was its specifically dedicated “negroni” beverage section of the menu, which offers multiple variations on this classic cocktail, such as a barrel-aged “espresso” variation and a “walnut” — in addition to the tried and true Negroni recipe (and many other delicious drinks).

For a more boisterous dining experience, stop into the Rosewater Rooftop by Akira Back, also overseen by Chef Back, serving as the hottest and coolest place to hang out in Delray Beach. This rooftop space is surrounded by lush foliage and emits a fun atmosphere. It’s perched on top of the 22,000-square-foot rooftop space, overlooking 2nd Avenue and serving a lineup of signature food and drink options — including fresh dishes and a creative beverage program. On the evening I stayed on-site, there was a DJ playing in the rooftop space, making it an enjoyable destination for those seeking a nightlife scene off of Atlantic Avenue.

At The Lobby Bar, which sits just off the lobby downstairs, visitors enjoy a light bite, a happy hour drink, or a nightcap beverage in an intimate setting inspired by the sea.

Guest rooms at The Ray Delray Beach

room at the ray delray beach

Photo courtesy The Ray

Guest rooms at The Ray are bright and airy, focusing on art as a key experiential element throughout the spaces. Guests can sit on their sunbathed balcony or terrace, which serves as a spot to soak in the fresh air or relax inside the vibrant interior space. Accommodations are well-appointed — including custom-made furniture, handwoven rugs, chic glass furnishings, and bright wallpapers.

I appreciated the artwork inside my room, with walls covered in photography that felt very much “Barbie” inspired. It was a nice mix of whimsical and nostalgic –- but also perfectly and properly grown-up at the same time.

Upscale room amenities include a 65-inch 4K Smart TV, a Bluetooth Speaker, a Nespresso coffee maker, eucalyptus linens, Frette bath towels and robes, Byredo bath amenities, and a mindfully selected collection of minibar items stocked with premium spirits and beverages. Other state-of-the-art in-room technology elements include mobile key entry and mobile device control for the TV and room service, making the experience feel exceptionally personalized.

Additional on-site offerings and inclusions

pool at the ray delray beach

Photo courtesy The Ray

The large, 1,800-square-foot 24-hour fitness center facility features a wide range of cardio machines and weight training equipment. From treadmills to a Stairmaster, ellipticals to stationary bikes (including two Peloton bikes) — as well as TRX equipment, free weights, and exercise mats — there’s no shortage of opportunities to get a workout in on-site. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light, making the space feel clean and bright. I enjoyed the little details inside the gym, like the mints and filtered water station. The last time I visited Delray Beach, The Ray hosted yoga classes on the outdoor lawn which I enjoyed taking and soaking up the heat and sunshine.

The Ray is an upscale, vivacious place to stay or dine in Delray Beach. From its sun-soaked rooftop to its multiple dining venues and refined but slightly rowdy feeling atmosphere, it’s a well-balanced and luxurious place to set as a home base in South Florida for a sunny adventure.

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