Victoria’s Secrets: A week with wonderful people

Dining with Ted Vassilev at Mar-a-Lago.

My week began with a delightful champagne breakfast with Ted Vassilev, president of DTR Modern Galleries with locations in Palm Beach, Nantucket, Washington, D.C., and New York. 

Our newest media outlet, Dan’s Papers Palm Beach, will be featuring one of the artists he represents, Hunt Slonem.

Ted is a member of the private Mar-a-Lago Club that is an exclusive, world-class private club offering dining, entertainment and recreation and is often referred to as the “Jewel of Palm Beach.”

At the launch of Dan’s Papers Palm Beach roundtable TV show with hosts Vicki Schneps and Jane Hanson and guests fitness coach Isaac Boots, Maria Danca, fashion stylist Michael Kors, and Devon Nagelberg (co-founder of JECT)

Ted invited me there for a magical breakfast in the club’s main dining room overlooking the lush green croquet court and, further in the distance, the beach club and ocean. The lavishly landscaped 20-acre property has a few guest rooms and offers members an old-world environment for dining, as well as the use of its tennis courts and a world-renowned golf course.

Ted shared that there was going to be a “Cavallino Sunday” champagne brunch featuring exotic cars over the weekend that was sold out, but if I stayed at the hotel I could just “drop in,” so I did!

The time from Tuesday through Sunday offered a week’s worth of excitement and opportunities to meet special people.

On Friday night, I had Shabbos dinner with my friend, the brilliant art dealer Donna Schneier, who now specializes in contemporary jewelry designers. She also happens to be the mother of the renowned rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton, Marc Schneier.

Donna brought me to meet the extraordinary philanthropist and art collector Sandford Baklor and his wife Arlene Kaufman. Together, they have endowed many causes, including creating schools in Madagascar to offering young adults free trips to visit Israel through the Birthright Israel Foundation.

Donna Schneier and Sandford Baklor standing by a painting sold by SoHo/Sagaponack art dealer Lou Meisel.

Sandford and Arlene live in the prestigious “Old Palm” gated community called Palm Beach Gardens.

Remarkably their 19,000-square-foot home reflects their taste and talent, filled with extraordinary art collections from small ornaments to massive pieces in their gardens.

We enjoyed a wonderful Shabbos dinner prepared by their chef Craig. Each dish was mouth-wateringly delicious and the presentation of the food made it a truly great meal!

What a delightful dinner it was. I felt privileged to meet and spend time with such unique people who give back and live in a home surrounded by beauty!

On Saturday, Jean Shafiroff hosted a lunch at The Colony Hotel to meet Richard Johnson, a former “Page Six” columnist who is now working for the Daily News. Joining us was Todd Shapiro, who enabled Dan’s Papers Palm Beach to be featured on “Page Six” in the Sunday edition of the New York Post.

Check out my column on QNS.com this weekend to see the full story!

Richard Johnson with Jean Shafiroff.

I had to cut my lunch short to check in at the Mar-a-Lago Club for an overnight visit. It’s only 10 minutes from The Colony Hotel, which has become my home away from home, and they shuttled me over.

When I stepped into the Mar-a-Lago foyer, it was like stepping back in time. 

The property was completed in 1927 by Marjorie Merriweather Post, who found this unique piece of land located between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth.

She imported the greatest artisans from Europe and worked with interior designers and architects to ensure that her hurricane-resistant home was made with concrete and steel — an innovative idea at the time — that would remain safe and beautiful forever.

It was designated in 1969 as a historic site and in 1972 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Upon her death, the property was maintained by the Post Foundation and ultimately sold to Donald Trump in 1985 as a private residence before he turned it into an membership club in 1995.

To my delight, the property and interior have been beautifully maintained and restored.

I spent the night in an oceanfront cabana in a stone complex adjacent to the water and I loved hearing the roar of the ocean, which served as a complement to the silence and rich interior of my room.

Dinner with friends in one of the old-world dining rooms gave me a sighting of the former president and his wife Melania dining with another couple to celebrate their anniversary.

The sold out dining room’s three-story-high ceilings roared with the many conversations of beautiful people. And the murals and gold filigree walls made me feel I had left Florida for a European getaway.

With (l. to r.) Jane Hanson, Dottie Herman and Todd Shapiro in the Mahogany Room at Mar-a-Lago.

The food was as good and enjoyable as the environment. What fun!

At the “Cavallino Sunday” auto show, I found my jaw dropping constantly at the site of antique and elegant “supercars” on display!

The collectors’ cars on display were remarkable to look at!

A perfect day, and the end of a perfect week!

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