The Breakers is Palm Beach wrapped up in a building. It’s old money, expensive and stuffy. It has views to die for, and the walls ooze old-fashioned class.
That’s a quote from Offside Trap. The Breakers is one of those places that both define and defy Palm Beach. It’s a hotel in the old tradition. Henry Flagler built the hotel — one of a number of places he built that just happened to coincide with the stops along the train line he created from St. Augustine to Miami — opening in 1896. He had already built the Royal Poinciana Hotel on the Lake Worth side of the island, but guests had begun asking if there were any rooms overlooking the breaking waves on the ocean side, and Flagler knew a good thing when he saw it, so The Breakers became a reality.
The original hotel was built of wood and burned down twice, before being rebuilt in concrete by Flagler’s heirs in 1926. Modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome, the new hotel build required the services of 75 artisans from Italy, according the hotel’s website. What those artisans did is anyone’s guess. I think a fair bit of lute playing was involved. But the end result was a European luxury in the steam of South Florida.
Interesting baseball fact: In 1915/16 The Breakers hosted members of the Lincoln Giants, a pre-Negro League baseball team, to play a series against an Indianapolis team hosted by Flagler’s other hotel, the Royal Poinciana. The Indianapolis Freeman newspaper reported that the series was so popular that the head waiter at the Royal Poinciana had to call in extra waiters from Atlanta. Because no oil baron worth his salt can enjoy a ball game if he has to wait for his mint julep.
If you ever fancy a thousand-buck a night room and some expensive stone crab and fancy drinks in plush surrounds with grand ocean views, The Breakers will certainly fit the bill.
Not surprisingly it is not really Miami Jones’ kind of place. But Ron’s a big fan of the seafood bar, and it is where he met the Lady Cassandra, so the place has done well by him.
If you are so inclined, here’s a video of the old dame that shows she’s still got the stuff.