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“Living on Reputation” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Breakers

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The Breakers
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1 South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
The New Ocean Fitness
Ranked #3 of 10 Hotels in Palm Beach
New York City, New York
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Living on Reputation”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

The beach is gone, only a narrow strip left. The physical facility needs refurbishment in many areas (one of our balcony doors wouldn't open, another locked after we were out on the balcony!). But most of all, management is focused on revenue, not guest comfort. Reception will demand proof of your rate, rooms aren't made up until late afternoon. My business meeting was poorly supported, meeting room mediocre, support erratic. Still a beautiful location, but not what it was in terms of service, and not the place to go for a beach on the ocean. Unless you're spending well into six figures, you're not a high priority. Seafood bar still great, as is new "retro" restaurant.

Room Tip: Ocean front is the only place to go. Their "club floor" suites have only partial ocean vie...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,375 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Palm Beach, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

magnificent! A must when in palm beach. On the beach, croquet courts, tennis courts, golf course, fabulous restaurants, camp and counsellors for children. There is a huge pool and a lap pool right near the ocean and a huge beach to sit on.It is a combination of old world charm and sophistication.

Room Tip: Facing the ocean
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

We just came back from a long weekend w/ two young kids. Having arrived on my own w/ the little ones, I have to say the Breakers has excellent service. You never have to call twice and service is pretty quick. They set up my daughter's crib quickly so she could take a nap after a long morning. The service and staff are extremely accommodating for children and my older son had fun at the kids camp. The Breakers is a big hotel so there are a lot of people and lots going on but it feels like a well run tightly managed ship. My husband and I were celebrating our anniversary that same weekend so I was a little disappointed they didn't send anything special for us. The only two issues we ran into is 1) for two days I did have to call for our room to be cleaned and it was already 2pm, understanding it was a busy time, 2) the kids pool area is understaffed. I don't think we ever got towel service, always had to get our own towels. The Ocean Grill is also understaffed as I noticed a big difference in service vs other venues. Food overall is great. HMF was super accommodating to our large party w/ kids. If you drink decaf coffee, it's really awful there, they need a new brew but that's the worst thing I can say about the Breakers.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rottingdean, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

Love the location, setting and service. The resort was perfect for a young family where we all could truly relax in understated refinement and luxury. The choice of restaurants and activities were simply perfect. We are planning a Christmas return.

Room Tip: Get room with beach view for spectacular sea view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Mill Valley, California
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

We were at the beautiful Breakers' property to attend a business conference. The public spaces- including fountains, patios, lobbies, pools, shops, colonnades, etc.- are lovely architecturally, pristine in cleanliness, and surrounded by lush, manicured landscapes. Staff are friendly and attentive. The beach was stunning, and the water a gorgeous 80 degrees! Our room was well-decorated, with a sophisticated beach theme, and of adequate size. The food at the 2 casual restaurants we visited was very good (albeit expensive). Our conference sit-down and buffet banquet dinners were well-orchestrated, but the majority of the food was only marginally good- what is expected when serving 400+ people. The banquet rooms were spacious and pretty, although the acoustics were best for presentations, not for intimate conversations.

[Notes to the management: !) Housekeeping did a very good job, but it would have been excellent had they given us 2 bathroom glasses (they took the broken one, but didn't bring a replacement), and made certain we always had hand-towels (not an excess amount of bath-towels). 2) We appreciated the apology note and gift for forgetting to make our wake-up call. 3) You need an enforceable policy regarding people "reserving" poolside lounge chairs and then leaving them vacant for many hours, while other people look for places to sit!]

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Coral Springs, Florida
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

My wife & I stayed at this propety from 11/20-11/24 - All i can say is wow !! Rooms are average and for the money, maybe a bit below exppectation, but the elegance and pristine beauty of this hotel almost has no peers. You are almost breathless walking around both inside and outside, and you feel like royalty. The pools -4 of them -are amazing and right on the water. The grounds are manicured as good as any I have been, and the courtesy vans that take you to their restaurants and local shops are very helpful. We have been fortunate to stay at many wondeful hotels and resorts, and this takes no back seat to any of them -

Room Tip: an ocean i view if you can afford the rate !!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
195 helpful votes 195 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

We stayed at the Breakers from 11/10-11/16/13, the hotel tab was nearly $8800. I wrote to the President Paul Leone, the GM Tricia Taylor and the Pool and Recreation Manager Carmen Carbone after our stay, which I have done after each stay for the last almost decade.

Immediately below is her reply to my message (scroll down after her reply) which complimented individual staff members but also noted service that was not to par. As prior Tripadvisor reviewers wrote, it is apparent that The Breakers these days does not value the patronage of their guests.

"Thank you for your feedback. I wish you would have alerted me prior to your arrival; I certainly would have upgraded your accommodations.

As I indicated in prior emails, I was hoping to meet you in person. Honestly, I was unaware you were at the hotel until I received your email with the feedback from your stay and it was too late to address many of your concerns.

At the risk of sounding defensive, I would like to share with you there are no cut backs. From all your email correspondence over the years, I know how invested you are in The Breakers and how meaningful your experiences have been and that you truly care about our staff. Thus, I do want to comment on your speculation and share that the resort has the same ownership and management. We continue to invest over 30 million per year in capital improvements and remain committed to upgrading our products and services. I was surprised this was not your sensation and you feel we are cutting costs.

I understand from your email you feel The Breakers may no longer be the vacation place for you. I won't attempt to convince you otherwise but I would like to sincerely request that if you change your mind and book any future stays, to please alert me prior to your arrival so I may upgrade your accommodations and ensure we are extending every courtesy due to your patronage. Please remove Mr. Leone's email from your contact list and utilize Carmen and I as your senior management contacts; Carmen is the best person to oversee your bungalow experience and as Carmen's boss and the executive responsible for hotel operations, I am the best contact to oversee your hotel accommodations etc.

I hope you had smooth travel home and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving next week, and beautiful holiday season. With appreciation, Tricia"

My message:
We are just finishing a week long stay at the Breakers, which had been planned around the availability of bungalow #25. After our last visit in 11/12 we had considered going to a different venue but ultimately the bungalow on the beach, seeing the people we have gotten to know over the years at the hotel, and the tortoises won out.

Our check in was smooth but we sensed something different right away, the absence of the hotel magazine, Traditions, the paucity of the usual exotic floral arrangements and the way one of the front desk attendants appeared, with a uniform that was pilled on the front and wearing a dirty rubber bracelet.

We arrived at #5190 which has lovely views but an adjoining door to the next guest room where there was a group of very loud people. I called the front desk to inquire about changing rooms but there were none available. I had asked at the front desk and on the phone whether we could obtain an upgrade, since i had booked through Amex. The front desk attendant told us that the request would be noted but there were none available. The attendant on the phone told me that the only upgrades were non complimentary and that there was no record of the reservation being through Amex. I told her that one of the management had told us during our last stay to book through the hotel directly since we would then be noted as returning, long time guests, and that Amex bookings appear through Expedia. The attendant seemed exasperated so i told her it was not my intention to argue with her, but we could not stay in a room with noise next door. She made arrangements for us to move to the Flagler level the next day at my request and we would pay the going rate, but we subsequently cancelled that after having unpacked for the night and preparing for the next day.

It was with great anticipation that we arrived at the bungalow the next day. There are always renovations that we look forward to seeing, whether new fabrics, colors, or full scale pool rebuilds. Ewan, whom I had met back in 2008, i believe, when I came to the Breakers after our dog died and who had a wonderful personality and attitude, was our concierge. We are so pleased that the hotel recognized his being an asset and elevated him to the position of concierge. After hugs all around, we settled in and realized there were some changes that were decidedly not for the better: missing were the lip balm, binoculars to watch boats go by, tanning lotion, the newspapers, matches, condiments, memo cards, pens, and the loose leaf book with hotel information. And the addition of a sign outlining prices for Breakers water ($5) and snacks, which looked like something out of the old cocktail bar that had once been at the site where the bungalows are located now, and speakers playing pop music with loose, booming bass without reprieve, drowning out ocean waves throughout our poolside stay. This was a backdrop that was only relieved upon leaving the pool decks. Walking from the bungalows to the hotel was reminiscent of a walk at a city street carnival. The absence of the notebook with hotel information is very odd for a hotel which thrives on selling services.

There were a couple of days with less than stellar weather, however, concierges Martine and Hewen were upbeat, energetic and a real pleasure. Martine brought lunch to us in 35 mph winds and remained cheery. Hewen could not do enough for us. On our last stay, he had introduced us to dragonfruit which is nearly impossible to find up north. We told him how much we were looking forward to having it again and, Hewen on his own time, the next day surprised us with a bag of dragonfruit, which we will enjoy and which will remind us of his generosity and thoughtfulness. Our last full day, Oneil was our concierge, and his enthusiasm and infectious laugh were a real delight. Edy, whom we always look forward to seeing, greeted us with warmth and a very gentle way. We missed seeing Robert Smallwood and hope that he is still with the hotel.

On one day when we arrived to the bungalow, we were told that the reservation for our bungalow and for the adjacent one had been cancelled. Everyone quickly corrected the error which had been initiated by another department, and Ewan and Ron were apologetic. Carmen's staff is consistently polished and helpful. Although we did not see Carmen this visit, his contribution to how the staff reaches out to guests and how he has transformed the pool and recreation area should be recognized as a big factor to the reason people return each year.

There seems to be a real misconnect between departments at the hotel. The pool area had in prior years operated like a well oiled machine. Now, despite the professionalism of the staff, there were changes that are not consistent with the Breakers we have come to love. We were informed that many of the changes were due to a "green initiative" and that in fact the newspapers, lip balm etc were available only by request. Perhaps instead of removing items without explanation, another sign (or a page in the notebook which is gone) simply telling guests that there are items available by request would present a more hospitality oriented message. We spoke with several other guests in the bungalows who were also long time guests and who also wondered what is happening with the hotel. One even told us he thinks the hotel has been having financial troubles since Hurricane Sandy.

For the first time, I had concerns about security. The first two days when we arrived at the pool, we were not asked for our room cards at the podium. Behind the shower at bungalow 25 was a chair which looked as though someone had been standing on it, and it made me wary about using the shower or leaving my belongings out for more than a few minutes. At one point, a man came off the public beach to the pool area and left with a netted duffel bag with at least one beach towel.

The room we wound up in during our stay overall was fine, mainly because of the views, but the absence of the things we had gotten accustomed to in prior stays was noticeable, the bottled water, the Traditions and Palm Beach magazines. Even the potted plant we had always seen in our past rooms was absent. The area rugs around the bed are filthy with obvious dirt (similar to the dirty area rugs in the Lily Pulitzer store) and we did not walk barefoot because the floors did not feel clean. We had one complimentary shower cap which after 2 days was no longer use-able and was never replaced. We reused many towels and at one point shared a washcloth for two days.

We always eat at the hotel restaurants and this was no exception. We invited clients of ours who recently moved to Palm Beach to dine at Top of the Point and asked on the reservations line that the bill not be presented at the table for signature. The reservationist called to confirm that this had been conveyed. We arrived early to the restaurant and the manager took my room card and said that he would make sure that the bill was not presented. At the end of the dinner, the server not only brought the bill to the table, but he handed it to me to sign. Devrim in the Circle Dining Room is always wonderful to see. He is a class act whom we hope receives the positive recognition by the hotel that he deserves.

In prior visits we missed having a decent espresso. This trip, we brought our own Nespresso machine and at one point tried one of the hotel espressos, which continues to be mediocre, probably because the coffee is not dark espresso ground but one with higher acid which is not enjoyable.

The food at HMF was delicious and eclectic. The first night we ate at the sushi bar where the food came out before the prior diner's dirty dishes had been removed. The servers that night seemed distracted with other "local" diners to the point that we were nearly completely overlooked. The next night the service was fine, however there seemed to be an inordinate number of employees strolling through the dining room with no purpose, despite a full room. At one point, a female server ran her fingers through the hair of someone who seemed to be a male manager overseeing the hostess podium. The "look" of the restaurant appears to be a hit, however having a homogenized female staff leaning over tables in low cut outfits and reaching across tables makes one wonder in what direction the hotel is going. Andre Balazs does this type of thing at his resorts with women in sarongs, however, they don't lean across tables to serve food. Tonight is our last night, and after a full day at the pool, we called in room dining to ask if sushi could be brought to the room. We were told that it could not, however, the food could be called in and picked up. Upon being transferred to the restaurant, I was told "we arent doing that anymore." I called in room dining to tell them that the rules had changed for her future reference.

The spa seems to be undergoing a change as well. Gone are the lovely packaged teas and in are the unwrapped tea bags where women put their hands into the canisters to grab a bag. The staff seems to be similarly homogeneous. Re the professionals, Stephanie Jones for a massage and Hanna for a facial did a fabulous job. Each was not only very talented in their respective work, they were also personable and gentle.

Each year I do some Christmas shopping at the newsstand and have it shipped home. Barbara was helpful and courteous. At Lily Pulitzer, Marie was sweet, bubbly and upbeat.

A real highlight to our stay was a morning spent with Rollin, the grounds manager, and Tyrene and Max. Rollin gave us a fascinating tour of the plants and gardens and had unforgettable stories about how some of the trees and shrubs got their names. The addition of fruit bearing trees is an excellent idea. Some of the classic signs that used to grace the grounds would be wonderful to see again. Max, who has always been lovely and whom I always look forward to seeing, took the tortoises out for me. Several years ago, Carmen Carbone had arranged for me to see them, they were small at that time, and ever since then the tortoises have been a big part of our visit. We were so happy that Carmen had arranged this for us and are praying that "Scooter" and "Crush" do not fall victim to whatever cutback the hotel is favoring now.

At first we thought the changes we are seeing were due a loss of business, then perhaps a change in management. During the summer I completed a survey that was sent to me by the hotel which asked, among other things, what I considered a luxury item, what kind of car I drive etc. Along those lines, I recently returned a leased Mercedes that had rusted lug-nuts and was told that essentially the quality cars that Mercedes had been known for now started at the AMG line. Perhaps it is the same with the Breakers: only the highest price rooms during high season, the conference crowd, and those who fit into the mold that the survey is seeking matter at the end of the day and the guests who do not fit the mold are expendable.

We took one last evening walk through the grounds earlier and although we have enjoyed the friends we have made with the Breakers' staff and amenities that are still being offered, we cannot help but feel a sense of sadness that someone at the Breakers is dictating changes in broad brush strokes and as a result we will likely have to find another place to vacation.

We are hoping our final few hours and check out tomorrow are without incident, and that after we leave, the hotel will take good care of the people we have come to be fond of and who have worked tirelessly to make our stays memorable.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Breakers

Address: 1 South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Palm Beach
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Palm Beach
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Palm Beach
#2 Romantic Hotel in Palm Beach
#3 Spa Hotel in Palm Beach
#3 Luxury Hotel in Palm Beach
#3 Family Hotel in Palm Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Breakers 5*
Number of rooms: 540
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the heart of the island of Palm Beach amid 140 acres of picturesque oceanfront property, The Breakers is recognized as one of North America’s iconic resort destinations. Independently owned, this legendary resort has been completely revitalized to offer a paradise for couples, families, and special gatherings. Revel in a new tropical feeling at the glorious beachfront, play the greens, and enjoy the blissful spa, delicious dining, and incredible services energized by a genuinely caring staff, integral in helping you make fabulous memories. * Nine distinctive restaurants and five bars* A private beachfront oasis with five sparkling pools, bungalows and watersports* An oceanfront spa, offering moonlit massages amid Atlantic breezes* 36 holes of championship golf including the on-site Ocean Course and Rees Jones® Course; a golf academy* 10 lighted Har Tru tennis courts and instruction by USPTA/USPTR-certified professionals* 10 on-site boutiques including Lilly Pulitzer, Guerlain and Ralph Lauren* A family entertainment center and kids’ camp; 11 boutiques.* The Flagler Club, private club level with a private concierge and residential ambiance, Interactive Family Entertainment Center and Kid’s Camp. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Breakers Hotel Palm Beach
Breakers Palm Beach
The Breakers Resort
Breakers Hotel Palm Beach
Breakers Resort Palm Beach
The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida

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