Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach

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Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - The Breakers Palm Beach.

Be one of the upper class – at least for a night – at the Gilded Age hotel Henry Flagler built so his wealthy friends and socialites could escape blustery New York to a palm-filled Florida oasis. As Flagler envisioned 100 years ago and has remained so until today, The Breakers Palm Beach is the choice of former presidents, modern-day industrialists, and billionaire National Football League owners.

Despite its cultivated elegance and Italian Renaissance design, The Breakers is hardly stuffy or pretentious to its guests. While it seems like everyone is wearing pink, green, or orange in the winter season, there’s a relaxed party atmosphere, especially at any of the four pools, outdoor patios, and bars at almost every corner of the building. Best of all, there are no resort fees or hidden charges.

Taking up a wide swath of Palm Beach island, The Breakers and its Ocean Gold Course are situated on 140 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Palm Beach, Florida. It’s the smallest and most exclusive of The Palm Beaches which includes West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Shores, Palm Beach Gardens, and North Palm Beach. Call it four stars or five stars – however best you want to describe it – this is the Palm Beach hotel.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Not staying at the hotel but want to peek inside? Present an ID at the main gate and then park for free. Non-guests can wander through the main public rooms, shop, eat at restaurants, and use spa services.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - The Great Hall.
The Great Hall. Photo by R.C. Staab

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Open the Door into History

After traversing the lushly landscaped 1,040-foot, palm-lined main drive past the resort’s Florentine Fountain, park your car for free, or drop it off with the valet. Walk inside the breathtaking lobby that is influenced by the Great Hall of the Palazzo Carrega in Genoa. The hotel has a remarkable number of indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the north and south wings where guests sit in comfortable chairs and use the hotel’s free Wifi or just peoplewatch.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Guest room.
Guest room. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Experience Subdued Luxury in the Guest Rooms

There are 534 guest rooms with 72 suites (two Imperial Suites and four Royal Poinciana Suites). Each room offers views of the Atlantic Ocean or resort grounds with décor inspired by but not overwhelmed by the Palm Beach palette of bright colors that can be seen in some of the upstairs corridors. All rooms feature a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, mini-bar, ironing board, and iron, hair dryers, a safe and specially created Sea Grass shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and lotion.

Complimentary rollaway beds and cribs are available for those staying in Premium and Atlantic Guest Rooms, as well as most suites. Rollaway beds are not permitted in Deluxe guest rooms and suites, nor in the Flagler Club. Pets are not allowed.

For a more exclusive option within the hotel proper, The Breakers offers a private-access 21-room boutique hotel, the Flagler Club, atop the resort on the 6th and 7th floors.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Hotel staff recommends the Flagler Club for women traveling solo. Guests can customize their experience based on preferences and gather with other Club members during cocktail hour.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Adult lap pool.
Adult lap pool. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Pools a Plenty

An extensive area south of the main building is chock full of guests sunning, swimming, relaxing, reading, and enjoying the beach. There are four oceanfront pools and six whirlpool spas and hot tubs including an adult-only pool and a family pool with a gradual slope. Available for rent are 25 poolside bungalows, each with a private, full bathroom with a shower and individual climate control. Pools are open from dusk to dawn.  

SheBuysTravel Tip: Plan ahead.  Most people change clothes in their rooms because there’s a small bathhouse with only three showers and a few lockers near the children’s pool.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Atlantic Ocean Beach by The Breakers.
Atlantic Ocean Beach by The Breakers. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Splash in the Sand or Take in the Sun at the Beachfront

There’s a long private beach in front of the hotel with lounge chairs and umbrellas at no additional fee. Beach watersports are complimentary, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and boogie boarding.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The lifeguards at the beach regularly fly flags to advise water conditions. There’s also a purple flag that indicates “dangerous marine life,” typically meaning there are stinging jellyfish in the water rather than sharks.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Outdoor Playground.
Outdoor Playground. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Kids Will Love This Place!

In addition to regular family programs, the hotel has a huge, 6,100-square-foot, multi-faceted Family Entertainment Center. It includes three areas:

  • The Arcade features more than 20 classic and contemporary games, from Skee-Ball, Super Shot Basketball, and air hockey to a video game lounge with Xbox® and PlayStation® 4.
  • The 4,500-square-foot shaded outdoor playground is designed for active kids with slides, tunnels, bridges, and mounds.
  • The nine-hole mini golf course and outdoor basketball court are perfect for individual or group play.

As part of the center is the Italian Restaurant, a casual, full-service restaurant with comfort dishes and lighter fare. Outdoor patio seating is available.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Fitness center.
Fitness center. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Work Out at the Gym

A 6,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor fitness center is located above the resort’s Beach Club complex, with a terrific view looking out on the ocean. There are plenty of cardio machines and some weights in a large, open area for floor workout exercises or to lift weights. The gym is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily.

SheBuysTravel Tip: There is only one bathroom and no changing facilities or locker room.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - The Spa
Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Take a Welcome Break

The Spa has 17 treatment rooms, eight salon stations, and ocean views. Guests can indulge in custom massages, facials, and premium body care treatments. If guests are looking for a steam room or sauna, an appointment at the spa is required.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Tennis courts at The Breakers Ocean Club.
Tennis courts at The Breakers Ocean Club. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Serve It Up

Perfect your serve or engage in a friendly match on one of 10 Har-Tru tennis courts. Clinics and lessons are offered. Lighted courts allow for evening play. The courts are located near the Flagler Steakhouse across North County Road from the hotel.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Ocean Golf Course.
Ocean Golf Course. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Play within Sight of the Hotel

Two 18-hole courses deliver variety and playability for all levels.

  • Ocean Course: Discover acre upon acre of lush greens at one of Florida’s oldest golf courses. Most recently redesigned by renowned golf course architect Rees Jones, Ocean Course offers contemporary playability, inspiring players of all levels. This is the course adjacent to the hotel.
  • The Breakers Rees Jones® Course is 10 miles from the resort in West Palm Beach as part of the Breakers West residential community. The course allows for flexible play with varying degrees of risk, reflecting the signature style for which the designer is known.
Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Shopping Arcade.
Shopping Arcade. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Shop without Leaving the Hotel

There’s a sports pro shop with equipment and apparel, a beach shop, a shoe emporium, and various clothing stores including Polo Ralph Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren Kids. The News & Gourmet shop has a coffee shop, snacks, and quick meals to go, plus gift items.

SheBuysTravel Tip: See information below about Worth Avenue. 

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - HMF Restaurant.
HMF Restaurant. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Dine in Stunning Spaces

HMF: Named after Henry Morrison Flagler, this chic social club is busy most evenings for cocktails and after-dinner drinks. The menu includes shared plates, handcrafted cocktails, and an award-winning wine list.

Seafood Bar: Creating the sense of dining aboard a luxury, private yacht, this oceanfront restaurant is a dining favorite among guests and Palm Beach residents. The menu boasts the freshest seafood, inspiring cocktails, and Master Sommelier-selected wines.

The Circle: An architectural gem with arched windows that offer glimpses of the Atlantic and a soaring 30-foot, hand-painted ceiling, The Circle welcomes guests daily for breakfast. Each morning, an elaborate, artfully crafted buffet and à la carte menu are served. The restaurant’s spectacular Sunday Brunch is a Palm Beach tradition not to be missed.

Ocean House: Located at the south end of The Beach Club with pool and ocean views, this beach house restaurant with a covered wrap-around porch features a daytime menu of light bites, colorful salads, sandwiches, seafood, and refreshing cocktails.

The Beach Club Restaurant: Overlooking the ocean, this stylishly relaxed setting offers al fresco dining and drinks. An extensive à la carte menu and buffet breakfast are available daily, followed by lighter lunch fare, such as seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches.

The Surf Break: Steps from the shore, this open-air oasis envelops guests with tranquil breezes and ocean views; guests can relax with a refreshing cocktail or light bite.

Flagler Steakhouse: Located across North County Road from the hotel and on the second floor of The Breakers’ Golf and Tennis Clubhouse, this American chophouse serves a diverse menu of outstanding steaks, fish and classic broiler items, and more. The restaurant’s climate-controlled outdoor terrace provides al fresco dining with panoramic views of the Ocean Golf Course.

 On site, room service is available for In-room dining.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.
The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Flagler Museum: Must Stop on Gilded Age Tour

To understand how The Breakers came to flourish and thrive, it seems almost mandatory to visit Whitehall, Henry Morrison Flagler’s Gilded Age mansion that sits on Lake Worth directly opposite The Breakers.

When the mansion was completed in 1902, the New York Herald proclaimed that Whitehall was “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.”

Flagler’s East Coast Florida Railroad transported visitors directly to The Breakers as Flagler sought to develop Florida as a tourist destination. Through his determination to develop what many considered to be swampland, the railroad magnate extended tracks to Miami and finally all the way to Key West. Florida wouldn’t be Florida without Flagler.

Today, Whitehall is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as the Flagler Museum, offering self-guided tours, changing exhibitions, and special programs. Step back in time at the opulent museum, which boasts stunning architecture, lavish interiors, and an excellent art collection.

Adjacent to the mansion is the Flagler Kenan Pavilion. Built-in 2004, this Beaux Arts-style building houses the preserved Railcar No. 91, Flagler’s private railway car. The attractive pavilion is an event space and features a tea room that is only open during the winter season.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The Flagler Museum offers the “House and Hotel Tour” – a combined tour of Whitehall and The Breakers that explores the history and the architecture of Henry Flagler’s home and resort. Call the main number for more information.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Worth Avenue Shopping.
Worth Avenue Shopping. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

The Most Exquisite Shopping Thoroughfare in America.

While it may not be as extensive as Madison Avenue in New York City or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Worth Avenue’s four-block stretch of high-end shops is the most beautiful and refined shopping street in the country. Lined with high-end shops like Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Worth Avenue also features small restaurants, cafes, galleries, and designer boutiques.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Entryway to The Breakers.
Entryway to The Breakers. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Airport Access

Palm Beach International Airport is about 5 miles away, about 15 minutes at most times of the day. No airport shuttle is available, but the valet can help with a taxi or Uber which generally runs around $30 one way.

The Ft. Lauderdale International Airport is about an hour away. The Miami International Airport is about 90 minutes away.

Gilded Age Comes Alive at The Breakers in Palm Beach - Outdoor lounge area.
Outdoor lounge area. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

The Basics

Check-in time is 4 pm. Check-out time is noon. Cancellation policy varies depending on the time of year. If a reservation is reduced in length of stay within the cancellation period, the deposit may be forfeited. An ATM is located at the south end of the building.  

Overnight valet parking is complimentary. There are electric car charging stations.

The Breakers is located at One South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480. The phone number is 833-253-5290.

R.C. Staab is a New York-based author, playwright, musical theater writer and lyricist. His latest book, New York City Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for New York City’s Hidden Treasures, was published in Spring 2023. His first book 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore Before You Die was published in 2020 and is now in its second printing. In 2021, he walked the entire 139-mile coastline of the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook to Cape May the book, generating more than 200,000 views on social media. He frequently contributes to New Jersey Monthly magazine and online travel publications. He is long-time member of the Society of American Travel Writers having traveled to 49 of the 50 US States and more than 60 countries. He specializes in cultural tourism, adventure travel and historical sites. His off-Broadway musicals and plays have been produced in New York, San Francisco, England and the Midwest. He is a two-time nominee for England’s Best New Song competition. He lives in New York City with his wife, Valari, and his dog, Skye.
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