Intrepid travelers are, no doubt, familiar with the well documented images of The Breakers Palm Beach Resort in Florida. From its stately, immaculately landscaped entranceway to its historical lobby and courtyard and opulent galas and parties at the Venetian Ballroom, The Breakers oozes timeless luxury and sophistication.
Once you arrive on property, however, you quickly realize the resort, which opened in 1926, has admirably evolved into a modern, amenity-laden complex with every convenience and service imaginable. Highlighting The Breakers' spectacular offerings are its hip and happening HMF Palm Beach lobby bar, an expansive, beautifully appointed room and its magnificent pool complex, one of the world's finest, with five swimming pools, a private beach, four whirlpool spas, restaurants and 25 luxury beach bungalows.
Built by Standard Oil icon and Florida development pioneer Henry Morrison Flager, The Breakers is set on 140 acres of some of the most expensive beachfront property in the world. You're drenched in European luxury ambiance at every turn. The Florentine fountain in front of the Italian Renaissance-style hotel is similar to the one in Boboli Gardens in Florence. The main lobby was inspired by the Great Hall of the Palazzo Carega in Genoa.
There are two 18-hole courses on The Breakers golf menu:
Ocean Course--Situated at the resort, the Ocean Course was originally laid out in 1896. It was wonderfully revitalized and enhanced by Brian Silva, a Boston-based golf architect who specializes in restoration projects. Silva transformed the layout from a relatively flat track into a magnificent, mounded, modern-day resort course by reshaping, recontouring and regrassing the entire course. The 6,167-yard, fun-to-play course has left to right and right to left holes that make you strategize and think your way around the layout. Enhancing its character are mature palms, tropical flowers and lakes. While the total yardage length is not imposing, it's a great shotmaker's course. You'll need an adequate sand game, too, with the 88 bunkers dotting the course. The turf is top notch with TifEagle Bermuda grass from tee to green.
For a video view of the Ocean Course, click here to Golf Travel Guru T.V.
Breakers West--Located ten miles from the resort and accessible via the resort's complimentary transportation, this layout set in an upscale residential community was originally designed by Willard Byrd and artfully redesigned by Rees Jones in a neo-classic style. Stretching to 7,100 yards, the Breakers West has generous landing areas off the tee, high-profile features, phenomenal bunkering and lush landscaping.
There are 540 guest rooms, including 68 suites. Thanks to an $80 million enhancement program that redesigned and reburbished the rooms and suites a couple of years ago, the accommodations are fresh and exciting with engaging contemporary color schemes.
Some of the highlights of my room included:
--Plush Euro-style bedding with luxury linens
--Large flat screen television and DVD/CD player
--The Breakers private-label toiletries
--Lush, comfortable bathrobes
--Marble bathrooms with separate shower and tub
--Step-out balcony with inspiring view
--Excellent in-room WiFi and high-speed Internet Service
--A practical and comfortable work desk
--Several outlets to accommodate electronic devices
--Beautiful wall art
Here's a partial list of the resort amenities:
--Full-service oceanfront spa
--World-Class pool complex with five swimming pools
--Two fitness centers and new fitness studio for classes and private instruction
--John Webster Golf Academy
--10 lighted Har-Tru tennis courts with resident pro
--24-hour in-room dining
--Family entertainment center with toddlers' playroom, arcade, craft area, movie room, video game room and outdoor sports court and playground
--Coconut Crew kids program
--Snorkeling, scuba diving, catamaran cruises and other water sports
--Half-mile private beach
--Historic Bicycle Tour of Palm Beach
--Banana Boat rides
--Historic Hotel Tour
--70,000 square feet of inddor and outdoor event space encompassing four ballrooms, meeting rooms, courtyards, beachfront and poolside venues.
10 Little Things I Liked:
1. The pan seared scallops I had at The Seafood Bar--The best I've had anywhere, anytime.
2. Convenient check-in. When the line became too long at the main desk, they seamlessly guided me to the concierge desk for a warm welcome and quick and easy check-in.
3. The phenomenal property tour (available to all guests) by 97-year old Jim Ponce, who once served as the resort's assistant manager and began working at The Breakers in 1951. He provides fascinating stories about the history of the hotel and Palm Beach.
4. The spectacular panorama of the Atlantic Ocean when you walk out the back door of the hotel with the sandy beach below.
5. The exceptional organic coffee served at all of the resort's restaurants and its gift shop.
6. The single malt whiskey I enjoyed at the luxurious and comfortable surroundings in HMF, the phenomenal lobby bar with an outstanding tapas style menu.
7. The key lime pie I enjoyed at The Seafood Bar and Flagler Steakhouse. (I had it twice because it's just so darn delicious).
8. The tremendous service I got from Chris and Michael at The Circle for breakfast and from Jason at Flagler Steakhouse.
9. The designer toiletries in my guest room, which came in larger than normal containers.
10. The tapas-sized gourmet meatball dish (Nonna's Meatball and Gravy) I devoured at HMF.
The Breakers has eight restaurants and eight bars.
HMF--A one-of-a-kind lobby bar/restaurant that blends the classic "Palm Beach cocktail culture" ambiance with a fresh, hip vibe. The menu is loaded with tapas size servings of exceptional dishes and, of course, a wide variety of cocktails and wines. Some of the amazing items I enjoyed include the Warm Onion and Reggiano Dip, Wood Roasted Sea Bass and Chicken Albondigas Tacos.
The Seafood Bar--Offering an exceptional view of the Atlantic Ocean, this unique restaurant has an aquarium bar and vaulted, open-beam ceilings. Absolutely, positively, you must enjoy the Seared Scallops (served on a bed of Florida corn and Pearl Couscous) and Key Lime Pie.
Flagler Steakhouse--Located on the second floor of The Breakers Golf and Tennis Clubhouse, this classic steakhouse with black and white photos of Frank Sinatra and other legends dotting the walls leading to the entrance, has a comfortable, clubby feel. Highlighting the menu is the Dry Aged Tomahawk Rib Chop, Steak Au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce and Sweet Corn and Lobster Chowder.
The Circle--Breakfast is served in this historic circular room, which has an intricate, hand-painted ceiling and beautiful ocean views.
The Italian Restaurant--A family-friendly restaurant with fresh pastas, grilled specialties and pizzas baked in a brick oven.
Echo--Located a few minutes from The Breakers in Palm Beach, this impressive restaurant features four distinct cuisines from Asia--China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Beach Club--A perfect place for alfresco dining for breakfast and lunch that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and pool complex.
The Ocean Grill--A beachside bar and grill with views of the pool, beach and 10th green of The Ocean Golf Course.
The Surf Break--An ideal, open-air setting at the pool complex where you can enjoy a cocktail, frozen drink or ice cold beer.
There are 11 boutiques for convenient shopping at the resort:
Lily Pulitzer at The Breakers--Tropical resortwear by the noted designer
Match at The Breakers--Resort footwear
Absolutely Suitable--Designer swimwear
Coconut Crew--Designer fashions for youngsters
Guerlain--Beauty care products
Mix at The Breakers--Jewelry and accesories
Ralph Lauren--Selection of fashions from the American designer
Signature Shop--Private label clothing with The Breakers logo
The Breakers News and Gourmet--Resort gift shop with everything from fresh coffee and newspapers to elegant gifts and souvenirs
The Sports Pro Shop-Sports oriented merchandise
Beach Shop--Beach items from sunscreen to toys and flip flops
THINGS TO DO
Here are some entertainment and recreation suggestions if you decide to venture from the resort:
--Shopping on Worth Avenue, the ritzy district a few minutes from the resort which has every major designer shop imaginable from Louis Vuitton to Gucci to Cartier. Worth Avenue is Palm Beach's answer to Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive.
--Shopping at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach, the open-air, Italian inspired, upscale shopping complex with over 100 stores and restaurants.
--During March, spring training baseball in nearby Jupiter at Roger Dean Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins play games.
--The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, the fascinating 73-room mansion of the wealthy founder of The Breakers, who played and influential role in making Florida accessible to the masses.
--Deep sea fishing. You can secure a charter boat at Sailfish Marina in West Palm Beach and be fishing for catches like wahoo, dolphin and sailfish in less than thirty minutes.
--For some nighttime revelry, head to Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, about a 10 minute drive from The Breakers, where you'll find nightclubs, live music, restaurants and historical landmarks. Some popular spots include Bar Louie and Duffy's Sports Bar & Grill.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Breakers Palm Beach is located at One South County Road, Palm Beach 33480 about seven miles from Palm Beach International Airport. If you're driving, exit on Okeechobee Boulevard from I-95 and head east about nine miles and travel over the Intracoastal Bridge to South County Road.
GET THE SCOOP
For more information on the resort, go to www.thebreakers.com. To check on rates and availability call (888) 273-2537 or (561) 655-6611