The Breakers is Perfection in Palm Beach
Some experiences change your outlook forever. Once you’ve dined at a Michelin three-star restaurant, you’ll never again look at food the same way. I’ve had the good fortune to indulge myself at quite a number of them over the years, and while it doesn’t exactly turn you off ordinary restaurant fare, it certainly makes you more discerning. Once you’ve seen what’s possible in the culinary arts, eating at your average, pretentious North American ‘fine dining’ establishment and putting up with bush-league servers is like listening to Wayne Newton have a go at “Nessun Dorma.” These thoughts are prompted by a recent visit to a resort that upped the bar from luxury to never-forget-in-your-life perfection. The kind of perfection that makes you want to go back again and again, and again…
Be prepared to be blown away by The Breakers Palm Beach, one of the country’s most legendary oceanfront resort destinations located at One South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida.
The intelligent and educated staff somehow anticipate your every want – before you even mention it! To say the service is flawless is an understatement.
I had the pleasure of spending the better part of a week at this luxurious place and upon entry was instantly transported back in time (but with ultra-modern facilities, of course!) The Breakers is known not only for having the best service of any resort in the state, but for its timeless architectural design. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which all the more made me want to walk around and explore. Coupled with an intelligent and educated staff that somehow anticipates your every want before you even mention it, to put it lightly, I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw.
Old World Appeal with Modern Amenities
Sitting nicely on 140 acres of land and in very close proximity to the Gulfstream, The Breakers basks in a sub-tropical climate noted for year-round breezes. Imagine that crisp summer feel at any time of the year!
The entire resort complex adopts an Italian Renaissance-theme reminiscent of the 1400s, with magnificent Italian villas, Twin Belvedere towers that look very much like the Villa Medici in Rome, a Florentine Fountain in the middle of a carefully-landscaped 1,040-foot main drive and a main lobby greatly inspired by the Great Hall of the Palazzo Carego in Genoa.
The Breakers recently completed a $250 million expansion and revitalization drive so this is the perfect time to come and bask in all the beautiful luxury enhancements.
This AAA Five Diamond resort has 540 guestrooms, 68 of which are suites. The hotel boasts two Imperial Suites, including the Imperial Designer Suite by renowned fashion designer Badgely Mischka and four Royal Poinciana Suites. I had an ocean view suite, which allowed me to drift off to sleep listening to the ocean waves, but you may also opt for a room that allows you to appreciate more of the resort.
The Golf Lovers’ Paradise
I’m no golf enthusiast but I find it hard not to take note of the impressive 18-hole championship oceanfront course, complemented by a lighted, Har-tru tennis course and a Clubhouse that houses fitness facilities; there’s also a second championship course, The Breakers Rees Jones® Course, 20 minutes from the main hotel.
I spent most of my visit checking out the Mediterranean-inspired beach club that overlooks about a half mile of private beach, four (FOUR!) swimming pools, lavish private beach bungalows (for daytime rental), an ocean view fitness center, an array of watersports, and just about anything else I could think of to delight both couples on a romantic getaway and an entire family with kids. The Breakers does not scrimp on shopping facilities, as well, featuring an array of on-site boutiques with distinctive merchandise, from a resort shoe salon and fashion jewelry to designer swimwear and gifts for the home, as we well as renowned brands such as Ralph Lauren and Guerlain.
Sumptuous and Numerous Dining Options
While I’m no sporting fan, I am a lover of food and with all the EIGHT distinct restaurants and eight bars at The Breakers, I was certainly sated to the brim.
The Breaker’s newly renovated HMF isn’t just another fancy resort bar – its a cocktail party that never ends. Be prepared to feast your sight and senses upon entering this magnificently decorated, massive bar that simply reeks of understated luxury.
The lounge offers a brilliant combination of classic drinks and endless choice of eats, perfect for sharing like the mid-century style. Styled after the speakeasy era and impeccably designed to evoke a sense of high-class American glamour, HMF houses an elegant bar with a sparkling lounge area where you can dine comfortably in a secluded style. HMF’s menu includes signature, hand crafted drinks ranging from the traditional concoctions to the experimental, with innovative twists in sodas and elixirs. For the wine aficionados, you will be spoiled for choices with the bar’s mega collection of 28,000 bottles of wine, hailing from all around the world.
If you are hungry for more than the cocktail culture, fret not as HMF’s vast menu includes a wide range of eats, starting from salads, sushi, to oven baked pizzas and even bowl style dishes of pasta with Asian take and American comfort foods. But the highlight of the menu at HMF are the ‘globally inspired’ sharing plates by Restaurant Chef Joey Tuazon.
As I mentioned, HMF isn’t the only restaurant at The Breakers. The Circle features daily breakfasts and the resort’s much-talked-about Sunday Brunch (in a breathtaking room covered in murals and featuring views of the Atlantic); The Tapestry Bar, a cocktail lounge serving wine, serves delicious appetizers and desserts (perfect for afternoon tea and live entertainment); The Beach Club Restaurant overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is stylishly set as an al fresco dining area (I love informal al fresco settings, so this is where I stayed longest!)
For the seafood fans, the resort has The Seafood Bar located at the oceanfront and is known for its signature aquarium bars. If barbecue is more your thing, check out The Ocean Grill, or if you’re craving for Asian cuisine, head over to Echo.
I am a lover of food and with the NINE distinct restaurants at The Breakers at my fingertips, I was certainly sated to the brim.
The Italian Restaurant specializes in brick-oven pizzas, fresh pasta and grilled specialties, so if you want to truly complete the Mediterranean experience, this is where you should go.
The Ocean Grill is one of my favorite places to have lunch at The Breakers. A beachside bar and grill with views of the pool and beach with panoramic views of the 10th green of The Ocean Golf Course, this restaurant offers casual luncheon fare in a setting reminiscent of a seaside cottage.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Virginia Philip, The Breakers’ resident sommelier, whom I briefly interviewed, holds the coveted Master Sommelier Certification and “Best Sommelier in America” title. Philip is impressively one of the only 21 women among the 174 Master Sommeliers worldwide.
On another trip to The Breakers (can’t get enough!), we stayed on their Flagler Club floor, which granted us access to their large outdoor lounge/terrace with views of the entire property. When your room is part of the Flagler Club, you get a bunch of great amenities included, such as personal concierge services, elaborate continental breakfast, late-morning refreshments and indulgences, afternoon tea service, pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres (which, honestly, doubled as a light dinner for us), full bar, tea and coffee services, and decadent desserts to complement your favorite after-dinner cordial. If that’s not enough, it also includes a daily spa & fitness membership.
The Breakers takes pride in being the ultimate luxury getaway for all generations, but what makes it more proud is its conscientious approach to preserving the environment. The Breakers has partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to implement “green” practices as part of the Florida Green Lodging Program.
The resort takes pride in its conscientious and holistic approach to sustainability and preserving the environment.
These include the use of energy efficient lighting throughout the property, Energy Star rated equipment, the purchase of renewable energy to reduce carbon footprint, a deep well and water plant, and recycling containers, among others. Every week the company also hosts a Green Market for staff, features produce by local organic growers, as well as those coming from its own herb and vegetable garden. The Breakers is also known to be the first in the world to serve Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee.
A Blissful End to the Experience
I am firm believer that the best way to cap off any vacation is a luxurious spa treatment and The Breakers did not leave me wanting.
The Spa at The Breakers is an indoor and outdoor combination of facilities on 20,000 square feet of space. It has a private oceanfront area for outdoor treatments, a lap pool, a whirlpool spa that faces the ocean, saunas, steam rooms, cushy relaxation rooms and 17 private treatment rooms. The beds in the treatment rooms feature luxurious down feather pillows and duvets, so you feel like you’re in bed (if only my bed at home felt this comfortable!)
The treatment I experienced was an anti-aging facial, which included hand and foot treatments, and was possibly the most comprehensive facial I’ve ever experienced. I learned things about my skin that I had no idea I even needed to think about! For example, did you know that dairy (cheese, especially) can cause calcium build-up bumps on your forehead?
Afterwords, I booked a cabana by the pool, equipped with a full bathroom with living room-style furnishings including a plush daybed sofa, table, chair and ceiling fan, a sexy and private open-sky shower, a full bathroom and changing area with luxury toiletries, an overflowing mini-bar and lots of healthy snacks, an attentive waiter to bring me whatever I hungered for, my own “concierge service” attendant, towels, magazines, a TV with DVD, wi-fi, private luxuriously padded sun chairs, and pretty much anything else I could desire.
Three days certainly turned out to be too short to enjoy everything The Breakers has to offer — and I’m glad it is, as I will definitely be back.
Reasons to visit: Great golf course, close to incredible high-end shopping, being right on the beach, living in the lap of luxury.
‘Room’ for improvement: One of the few hotels we couldn’t find a single thing to improve on.
Favorite accommodations: Any room that faces the ocean, balcony is a plus.
Pricing: Average is $365 per night for ordinary months such as August plus $42 for taxes and fees.
Best time to visit: This part of Florida is gorgeous pretty much any time of the year, but can get very hot and humid in July and August.