Florida Road Trip Finale: The Breakers, Palm Beach

Cheese and wine, maybe, but do hotels get better with age? Not usually, so was I out of my mind to persuade the CE to make one last stop on our Florida road trip and visit the Breakers with me?

I stayed at The Breakers back in 1976 and remembered it as being almost impossibly grand. Could it live up to my memories of luncheon by the pool with waves crashing in the background (there’s a reason it’s called The Breakers!) and cocktail receptions in the magnificent main lobby inspired by the Palazzo Carrega-Cataldi in Genoa?

Happily, the answer is yes. Oh yes!

The Breakers, Palm Beach (image from thebreakers.com)

The Breakers, Palm Beach (image from thebreakers.com)

Breakers lobby detail (image from kuoni.uk.com)

Breakers lobby detail (image from kuoni.uk.com)

As with seemingly everything in Florida, The Breakers began with the vision of Henry M. Flagler, although the first two iterations of the hotel succumbed to fire in 1903 and 1925. The Breakers as we know it today debuted in 1926 and was modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome. It was most recently renovated in 2011.

Room with a view: our oceanfront balcony at The Breakers.

Room with a view: our oceanfront balcony at The Breakers.

After scouring reviews in advance of our visit, I decided to throw caution and our bank balance to the wind: if you want the full Breakers experience, you have to book an oceanfront room. Yes, the CE was palpably disturbed when, upon check-in, he was presented with our daily room rate, but as soon as we stepped into Room 5141, it all began to make sense. The sound of those thundering waves was so mesmerizing that my lovely husband almost immediately marched downstairs and extended our stay an extra day.

Morning or evening, the view is magnificent.

Morning or evening, the view is magnificent.

The HMF lounge at The Breakers (image from prevueonline.net)

The HMF lounge at The Breakers (image from prevueonline.net)

First night splurge: we shared this Baked Alaska for dessert at HMF.

First night splurge: we shared this Baked Alaska for dessert at HMF.

Morning coffee in The Circle dining room is one of my favorite memories of The Breakers. (image from moretimetotravel.com)

Morning coffee in The Circle dining room is one of my favorite memories of The Breakers. (image from moretimetotravel.com)

It was tough to tear ourselves away from the property, where breakfast is served in the palatial Circle dining room and there is the option of dinner at the decidedly not-stuffy HMF (there’s Mr. Flagler, again!) lounge or overlooking the golf course at the Flagler (of course) Steakhouse, but we did make a daily mile-or-so walk into Palm Beach proper just to gawk at the oceanfront estates and walk along the shaded avenues of Seaspray and Seabreeze where the mere millionaires live. Our walking goal was the clock tower at the beach end of Worth Avenue, that almost perfect simulacrum of New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Palm Beach landmark: the clock tower on Worth Avenue.

Palm Beach landmark: the clock tower on Worth Avenue.

June is embarrassingly off-season in Palm Beach and no socialite worth her salt would be caught dead here as summer heats up, but we happily walked the empty streets and had a quiet dinner one evening in the courtyard at Cafe Via Flora.

The charming courtyard at Cafe Via Flora in Palm Beach. (tripadvisor image)

The charming courtyard at Cafe Via Flora in Palm Beach. (tripadvisor image)

Of all the wonderful memories we have of our visit, our very favorite is of the flock of Green-Cheek Amazon Parrots that live in the stand of Australian pines along The Breakers’ Pine Walk. The flock, reportedly descended from pet birds released in the 1940’s, make their presence cacophonously known in the early morning before they disperse for a day of foraging and again at sundown when the flock swoops in to nest for the night. While endangered in its native Mexico, the Palm Beach flock appears to be thriving.

We found this Green Cheek Amazon Parrot in an Australian Pine in the Breakers' employee parking lot one morning.

We found this Green Cheek Amazon Parrot in an Australian Pine in the Breakers’ employee parking lot one morning.

Another member of the flock.

Another member of the flock.

We had so many lovely stays during our Florida road trip. Each stop was memorable: Sarasota, Naples, Islamorada and Key West. But I do think we saved the best for last, and hope we can return soon to The Breakers!

Sunrise from our room at The Breakers.

Sunrise from our room at The Breakers.

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Big Fun, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Florida Road Trip Finale: The Breakers, Palm Beach

  1. dizzyguy says:

    The Breakers. Ah, yes. First definition relates to your budget when you stay there. Second is your heart as you leave. Truly one of the great hotels in the U.S., I would think. We had a wonderful visit, as seen by the photos. And the service was NYC quality. So yes, count me in for a revisit right after we sell both cars to raise funds. In the meantime, look for us in all of the Palm Beach society magazines. CCL will be the one with chicken droppings on her shoes and pine shavings stuck to her clothes. I will be the guy in the used-to-be-white T-shirt standing next to her, admiringly.

  2. M. Winters says:

    I attended a wedding in Palm Beach and we went to the Breakers. One group stayed there. I agree with all you say about it. Many things don’t live up to their hype, but the Breakers does.

    Flying out of Palm Beach, I could see it from above. You know it has to be the oldest on the island because the buildings extend almost to the water, while none of the other buildings up and down the beach are within 30 or 40 feet of that line.

  3. julia says:

    How beautiful! What a view!

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