The Breakers

We owe this property to Henry Morrison Flagler. For more than a century, this Italian Renaissance-style property that sits on 140 manicured beachfront acres has set the standard by which every other Palm Beach hotel is measured. Once inside, it'll take your eyes a moment to adjust to the lobby's cool, marble interior -- but what a feast for the senses when they do: hand-painted ceilings, Venetian chandeliers and 15th-century Flemish tapestries. Don't let the ornate surroundings fool you, however. This is still a place of quiet good taste, where Lilly and Lacoste reign. For those whose wardrobes lack the requisite pink-and-green color palette, the shops of Worth Avenue are less than a mile away.
How the Stage was Set HISTORY IN BRIEF 1896: The hotel first opens, under the name Palm Beach Inn. 1901: The hotel is renamed The Breakers. HISTORY IN DETAIL 1893: Henry Morrison Flagler purchases 140 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. 1894: On February 11, Flagler opens his first Palm Beach Hotel and introduces the concept of luxury hotels to the area. His hotel, the Royal Poinciana on Lake Worth, eventually becomes the largest hotel in the world for its day. 1894: The Florida East Coast Railway begins service to West Palm Beach on April 2. 1896: Flagler enlarges a winter home which stood on the 140 acres he purchased in 1893 forming the Palm Beach Inn (later renamed The Breakers - see 1901), an overflow property to The Royal Poinciana. Upon its opening on Junuary 16, this beautiful inn holds the designation as being the only oceanfront hotel south of Daytona Beach. 1896: Flagler extends the Florida East Coast Railway to Miami and opens the Royal Palm Hotel on Biscayne Bay. He then builds The Port of Palm Beach, a 1,000-foot pier off the Palm Beach Inn. From this port, guests are able to travel via steamship to Nassau, Havana and Key West. 1897: To accommodate golfers at the Palm Beach Inn and Royal Poinciana, Flagler contracts Alexander H. Findlay to build the first 9 holes of golf in Florida. The Poinciana Golf Clubhouse is also constructed and remains today the location of the former Centennial Restaurant, an elegant Victorian dining salon that opened in celebration of The Breakers 100th anniversary. 1899: Due to Palm Beach's growing popularity and new reputation as a "winter paradise," the Royal Poinciana is enlarged by half its size to accommodate the northerners flocking to South Florida's beaches and warm climate. 1900: During the summer, Flagler lays foundation for Whitehall, his private residence. 1901: As guests begin to request a room "down by the breakers," the Palm Beach Inn is renamed The Breakers. 1901: Henry Morrison Flagler, 71 years, marries Mary Lily Kenan, 34 years, in Kenansville, North Carolina on August 24. 1902: On February 6, Mr. and Mrs. Henry M. Flagler move into Whitehall, one of the great estates of America's Gilded Age. This exquisite 55-room marble palace on Lake Worth was specially built as a gift to Flagler's bride, Mary Lily Kenan. Today, Whitehall is known as the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum and is open for the public to enjoy. 1903: While again being enlarged, The Breakers catches fire and burns to the ground on June 9. It was immediately replaced by a more attractive wooden structure that opened its doors on February 1 and was effectively deemed one of the finest hotels in America. Flagler extended his railroad to the front of the hotel for convenience. Tracks remained next to the circular driveway of The Breakers until the late 20s. 1905: The American novelist Henry James visits The Breakers. In The American Scene (1907) he describes the hotel as “vast and cool and fair, friendly, breezy, shiny, swabbed and burnished like a royal yacht, really immaculate and delightful.” 1913: Following a serious fall in Whitehall, Flagler moves to seaside Nautilus Cottage where he dies on May 20. 1925: The "second" Breakers burns on March 18. The fire was said to have been started by one of those "new fangled curling irons." 1925: The Turner Construction Company signs a contract to build the new Breakers on December 4. 1926: In a tribute to the vision of Henry Flagler, The Flagler heirs build the current Breakers, one of the finest resorts in the world, at a cost of $7 million. From ground breaking to the first guest check-in December 29, 1926, The Breakers is completed in a record-breaking 11 1/2 months, in order to open just after Christmas, the start of the Palm Beach season. Today, The Breakers is praised as one of the most splendid architectural and artistic achievements of its era. The exterior design is Italian Renaissance with an overall layout very similar to The Ponce de Leon, Flagler's hotel masterpiece in St. Augustine. The inside decor boasts spectacular Venetian chandeliers, paintings of great Renaissance rulers, gold leaf ceilings as well as ceilings hand-painted by Florentine artists. 1926: On December 30, The Palm Beach Post-Times hails The Breakers as “a milestone in the architectural perfection of American hotels.” 1927: In May, The Architectural Forum praises The Breakers as “without doubt one of the most magnificent successful examples of a palatial winter resort hotel.” 1928: As The Breakers increased in popularity, and seating guests comfortably at dinner becomes a problem, the heirs add The Circle Dining Room, one of the most picturesque dining rooms in the world. 1930: The Royal Poinciana is gradually torn down between 1930 and 1935. The Victorian wooden structure was in excess of 35 years old. The Breakers had long since replaced the Royal Poinciana as the primary resort of the town. 1936: In February, Fortune declares, “The new Breakers is undoubtedly the finest resort hotel in the world.” 1942: On September 10, The Breakers becomes the U.S. Army’s Ream General Hospital, where thousands of servicemen and women recuperate from their wounds and illnesses during World War II. Prominent visitors include Eleanor Roosevelt and President Harry Truman. 1942-44: More than a dozen babies – known as the “Breakers Babies” – are born at the hotel. 1944: In May, the U.S. Army returns The Breakers to its owners, who prepare it for reopening. 1944: The Breakers reopens as a hotel on December 24. 1966: The Breakers Ocean Golf Clubhouse opens. 1968: The east wings, consisting of 150 guestrooms, are added to The Breakers in addition to the grand Venetian Ballroom and extensive meeting facilities. A new Beach Club replaces the older Beach Casino. 1970: The Breakers is fully air conditioned. 1971: The Breakers, originally open mid-December to mid-April, commences year-round operation. 1973: The Breakers is named to the National Register of Historic Places. 1991: In March, Town and Country observes, “There is nothing quite like The Breakers, nothing quite like its Italianate architecture, its grandeur, or the legacy of its fascinating past.” 1995: The hotel completes a five-year, $75 million renovation program. 1996: The resort celebrates its Centennial anniversary as a Palm Beach and national landmark. 1997: The Breakers successfully earns back the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award. 1998: The resort wins back the prestigious Mobil Five-Star Award. Only 25 hotels in North America held this distinction. 1999: The Breakers opened its New Oceanfront luxury Spa, Beach Club and Ponce de Leon Ballroom. 2001: Redesign and renovation of historic Ocean Course and opening of new Golf & Tennis Clubhouse designed in the grand, "Old Florida" style of architecture. 2002: Completion of oceanfront tower room renovation marks the renewal of all 560 guest rooms and suites; re-design of main drive and arrival. With the original owners’ commitment, capital expenditures averaging $15 million a year will continue to be reinvested in The Breakers for the long term. 2003: Building on its reputation as one of America’s leading family-friendly resorts, The Breakers unveils its new Family Entertainment Center, a multiplex of entertainment and activities for all ages. 2004: Famed golf course architect Rees Jones partners with The Breakers on the reconstruction of The Breakers Rees Jones® Course 2006: In March, The Breakers unveiled a $15-million beachfront redevelopment and introduced the ultimate beachfront experience featuring lush tropical landscaping, 20 private beach bungalows, 2 new pools – one for relaxation and one for families, three whirlpool spas, a Beach Gazebo and The Ocean Grill. 2007: The Breakers commenced phase one of a four-year, guest room renewal. Subsequent phases will be completed over 2008, 2009 and 2010. Capital expenditures averaging $25 million a year will be reinvested in The Breakers for the long term.

President: Paul Leone
Hotel Manager: Tricia Taylor

509 Rooms
53 Suites
The Circle Dining Room ------ L’Escalier & Brasserie L’Escalier ------ The Beach Club ------ The Flagler Steakhouse ------ The Seafood Bar ------ The Italian Restaurant ------ Echo ------ The Ocean Grill ------ The Tapestry Bar ------ In-Room Dining
Two 18-hole championship golf courses, a 20,000-square-foot luxury spa with ocean view fitness center, Mediterranean-style beach club overlooking one-half mile of private beach, five swimming pools, luxury beach bungalows, variety of water sports, 10 tennis courts and an extensive program of family and children's activities. Also features an outstanding selection of on-site boutiques with distinctive merchandise.
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The Breakers
Country: USA
City: Palm Beach
Opening date: 1896 opened originally, later Dec 27, 1927

Note from the Host

General Manager Paul Leone (President)
Hotel Manager: Tricia Taylor


One South County Road
FL 33480 USA, Palm Beach

Tel: 001 561 655 6611
Fax: 001 561 659 8403

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