Winter Getaways 2012: The Breakers Palm Beach

First, an admission: I’ve vacationed on the southeastern coast of the Sunshine State all my adult life—and I had never set foot in The Breakers until this visit. So let’s get this right out of the way—learn from my mistake and plan your stay now.

Just why did it take me so long to discover this property’s many charms and confirm that, yes, those one-percenters really do know how to live? With its storied Social Register past, I thought it might be a little too stuffy and stodgy for my taste. (Silly me. What’s not to like about being pampered in drop-dead-gorgeous surroundings?) So, for the cost of a couple of dinners at Blue Hill and in the time it takes to watch two Law & Order reruns, an early-morning JetBlue flight whisked my husband and me directly from Westchester County Airport to Palm Beach International. By lunchtime, we were motoring up the glamorous 1,000-plus-foot main drive of The Breakers.

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The opulent Breakers lobby.

Located beachside at The Breakers Palm Beach, this lushly landscaped pool is one of five found at the resort.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and nestled on 140 lushly landscaped acres on the tony island of Palm Beach, the acclaimed, AAA Five Diamond Star resort has at its centerpiece the opulent main manse, dating back to 1926 and inspired by the grand Italian villas of the 1400s. Its stunning lobby, with its soaring ceilings, rich wood paneling, and plush silk-covered seating, was designed with the great hall of the Palazzo Carrega Cataldi in Genoa (circa 1560) in mind. While this isn’t your small, intimate boutique hotel—there are, after all, 540 guest rooms, including 68 suites—the charming staff’s careful attention to service made it seem like a more intimate experience than its sheer size would suggest.  

A luxurious beach bungalow makes the perfect daytime pied a terre.

But, of course, one doesn’t visit Florida in winter to sit in one’s room, no matter how luxurious it may be. Fortunately, the resort’s exquisite Mediterranean-style oceanfront Beach Club doesn’t disappoint, with its half-mile of private sandy beach, 20,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, five pools, four whirlpool spas, and 25 ultra-luxe beach bungalows. We spent a blissful day in one of the latter, catching the game on our own flat-screen, reading the Times on comfy loungers, rinsing off in our private open-air shower, and generally being spoiled silly by our lovely young concierge, who came bearing everything from chilled drinks and crisp crudités to sunblock as needed.
While we would’ve been happy to remain in a supine position in the sun over our entire time there, we did manage to rouse ourselves to hit the links at both of the resort’s excellent courses, submit to the ministrations of a talented massage therapist (oops—supine again), browse at the designer boutiques, and, of course, dine in fine style. The resort offers nine eateries ranging from the family-friendly Italian Restaurant to the upscale, penthouse-like Top of The Point, offering stunning Intracoastal Waterway views. Our experiences in the two we sampled—The Flagler Steakhouse, located a short shuttle drive away, and the casual Seafood Bar, with its mesmerizing built-in aquarium bar—were outstanding. One not-to-miss dining event is the sumptuous Sunday brunch buffet, presented in The Circle’s light-filled room with hand-painted ceilings and ocean views. Fortunately, JetBlue weighed only our bags and not us before we boarded our return flight home.

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Details Rates for the winter season start at $550 per night, based on availability.  
Contact The Breakers Palm Beach
1 S County Rd
Palm Beach, FL
(855) 329-1409

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