The Breakers Palm Beach: Old-World Elegance Meets New-World Hospitality
The Breakers in Palm Beach is on the short list of the finest hotels in America, with good reason. Opened at the height of the Roaring ‘20s with Gilded Age opulence in mind, this sprawling compound has hosted the rich and glamorous with an air of class and sophistication. We spent a weekend there at the invitation of the hotel recently, and discovered another thing: It’s also just a great place to kick back for a few days.
Approaching The Breakers by car and stepping into its sun-filled lobby, it’s impossible to not get swept up in its majesty. The Italian Renaissance-inspired resort is modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome, and its sprawling lobby is decorated with frescoes by artist Alexander Bonanno. Today, the complex occupies 140 acres along the Atlantic Ocean, with a minimum of $25 million being spent on maintenance and upgrades.
Alongside the half-mile of private beach is a beach club offering four pools, five hot tubs, 25 bungalows, and outdoor dining options The Beach Club Restaurant and Ocean House. Only open to guests of the hotel, a whole day can easily be spent at the Beach Club alone, but we recommend you also allot time to play golf on the grounds (there are 36 holes in all), visit the spa, browse through the offerings at the 11 onsite boutiques (including Guerlain and Ralph Lauren), wander through the sumptuous ballrooms and courtyard, and check out the restaurants.
There are eight restaurants and eight bars at The Breakers, all with their own unique menu, style, and character. HMF is located in the hotel’s soaring original main dining room, and offers stunning cocktails and an expansive menu of plated intended for sharing, running the gamut from Korean short ribs to Hamachi crudo, SoCal-style fish tacos, and shrimp pad Thai. Seafood Bar offers super-fresh fish and other seafood preparations with a great view of the ocean (and its legendary bar is actually filled with little tropical fish). Flagler Steakhouse, located a short walk away in the golf course clubhouse, serves an upscale menu of dry-aged steaks as well as high-end non-steak options. And for Sunday brunch, a visit to the lavish, frescoed Circle will present you with a mindboggling array of upscale buffet options including lobster, stone crab, fresh sushi, caviar, eggs Benedict, pancakes, lamb chops, prime rib, pastries, and dozens of desserts including an ice cream sundae bar and crepes made to order, all washed down with plenty of Champagne.
Rooms are tastefully decorated with a peaceful blue color scheme, and make sure you open your window to let in the ocean breeze and the sounds of the breakers that gave the hotel its name. A day spent strolling the grounds of The Breakers has been a restorative respite from the daily grind for more than 100 years, and once you get a taste of its high level of service and hospitality, great food, stunning views, sumptuous architecture, and sharp attention to detail, you just might never want to leave.