The Breakers, Palm Beach

Reviews / August 20, 2014

Contributor/ Amy Hughes

Best Known For
This legendary hotel set the standard as the first American resort.  Industrialist Henry Flagler single-handedly turned Palm Beach from a backwater into a world-class holiday destination when he built the hotel in the late 19th century, attracting the likes of JP Morgan, the Astors and countless others with padded pockets.   The Breakers is one of those oh-so-special places to at least go for a drink when in the neighbourhood.

The Good Stuff
This is summer camp for grown-ups.  From water sports to city cycling tours, it takes a good week to savour everything.  Fashion team Badgley Mischka  are so enamoured, they approached The Breakers to design a 1,700-square-foot suite, costing $80 million. Ocean-themed rooms for us mere mortals carry strong and detailed design values without going overboard.  Printed fabrics in cool blues and greens are modern and comfortable.  Hire a beach bungalow and enjoy the twice-daily treats, including frozen, dark chocolate-covered key lime pie.

The Vibe
Despite its grand history, the vibe here is beach casual.  You’ll want your Villebrequins, but its flip-flops, rather than suede loafers.  There are plenty of families, but quiet pools serve those sans kids.  The resort does a brisk conference business, so it’s not unusual to pass groups in suits (not for swimming), en route to the pool, which can be a bit odd, but easy to get over with the first dip.

Inside the hotel – 9/10
The hand-painted, frescoed ceilings in the public areas bow to The Breakers’ fine heritage, while rooms defy any stodgy stereotype.  HFM, the newly refurbished bar and restaurant is all Gatsby, with a lively, sexy vibe, filled with beautiful people and even more beautiful small plates of fusion street food (yes, it works). 

Outside the hotel – 8/10
With nine restaurants and a dozen shops on-site, there’s no reason to leave, but when forced to check-out, head just a mile down the road to the Norton Museum of Art, a vast collection of important modern and contemporary works, including American Impressionists.   Worth Avenue offers a glimpse into the world of the Palm Beach scions, lined with designer shops and restaurants.


Image courtesy of The Breakers

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Amy Guttman
As a child, Amy Guttman regularly cracked open the World Encyclopaedia to discover new, exotic-sounding locations on the glossy pages of the World Map, conjuring up images of locales like Bora Bora and Papeete. Ever since, she's chosen adventurous over mainstream, when given the chance.