I vividly remember first seeing the iconic Breakers many years ago when on a trip with my family. Over the years, luxury hotels have become a bit of an obsession for me and this one is right up there with the very best.
I returned there on my most recent educational trip and I'm delighted to confirm that the hotel’s self-assured slogan - "Once you stay, you'll understand" - is spot-on.
The lobby is the most beautiful I have ever been in and Sunday Brunch at the Circle’s reputation as a not-to-be-missed event with both seasoned travellers and locals is fully justified.
More to come on those shortly but let me give you a bit of background on its glamorous history...
In the late 1890s, industry tycoons and elegant socialites began flocking to the pristine shores of a new destination - a long strip of a Florida island called Palm Beach.
The Breakers was built on a stunning seafront location in 1896 by oil and railroad baron, Henry Flagler, and delighted guests with its proximity to the water and unique location - right at “the breakers” where the waves crashed and sprayed.
After fires in both 1903 and 1925, the hotel re-emerged more opulent each time with the second reconstruction awarded to New York City-based designers Shultze and Weaver, the same minds who would later create several of Manhattan’s most coveted hotels.
Described by the duo as “the acme of perfection in design and magnificence”, The Breakers reopened in 1926, ushering in a higher degree of European influence and architectural flair, modelled on the magnificent Villa Medici in Rome. The intricate paintings detailed across the ceilings of the 200-foot-long main lobby remain today.
Palm Beach’s reputation as a year-round resort grew with the glitterati regular visitors and The Breakers at the forefront, as it continues to be in today’s ever changing world, holding true to the values that put it on the map - unapologetic luxury, seaside glamour and world-class service.
The hotel’s location, close to both Miami and Orlando make it an ideal combination option and alternative to the more commercialised and tourist-heavy parts of Florida, and if you would like a little indulgence as part of your trip, then it may not get much better than this.
Rooms are comfortable, cosy and intricately dressed in the rich hues and artful patterns of quintessential Palm Beach; many feature panoramic views of the ocean.
Spacious suites trimmed with luxe furnishings and stunning décor are also available and come with a personal concierge.
As you would expect with a name inspired by the waves, water also features heavily at Breakers with five whirlpool spas. Venture outside, strolling down the Ponce Promenade and past the Ocean Lawn, and enter The Beach Club - a private outdoor oasis: a series of four glittering pools, dotted by restaurants, bars, chaise longues and the newly designed 25 chic beach bungalows providing the perfect daytime escape for up to six guests.
The luxurious poolside bungalows are fitted with a lounge area with plush furniture and dining table, a flatscreen tv, a full bathroom with amenities and shower, a refrigerator stocked with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and complimentary WiFi.
If that isn’t quite enough, then an exclusive food and beverage service and a dedicated concierge will ensure that any additional needs are met.
If you fancy a little adventure to complement your wind down then The Breakers' private half mile of beach acts as a playground for a long list of water sports.
You can embark on an exciting scuba or snorkelling tour under the sea to explore the nearby reefs and marine life whilst above the water’s surface, kayaking, paddle boarding or a ride on the resort’s Hobie Cat are highlights.
No round-up of any resort’s credentials could be complete without a mention of its food options and predictably there is an abundance of acclaimed restaurants and bars ranging from alfresco ease to after-dark glamour, each with an ambiance of its own.
I will be delighted upon request to talk you through each of them but back to the architectural gem that is the Circle restaurant and that Sunday brunch.
The Circle boasts soaring 30-foot frescoed ceilings and eight oval murals depicting Renaissance landscapes plus the minor detail of a palm trees and ocean backdrop through its arched windows.
Every Sunday morning, it is transformed into an elaborate, spectacular brunch experience, beginning with favourites like Belgian waffles, eggs benedict, made-to-order omelettes and fresh fruit, before exploring more eclectic offerings, such as imported cheeses and pâtés, pastas, fresh fish, baby lamb chops and carved beef tenderloin, as well as a raw bar, including stone crab claws, sushi and domestic caviar.
If you have any room left more than 30 decadent desserts should ensure you need make no further plans for the day!
My simple conclusion: ensure staying a Saturday night and do NOT miss this experience.