The Breakers Palm Beach Historic Tour

Yesterday, one of my dear Twitter friends in the antique business, asked what museums I would like to recommend while visiting Palm Beach County. I've spent a good bit of time there visiting family over the years. Last December, part of my birthday surprise was a two night treat at the wonderful resort. This explains why some photos still have holiday decor on them. 
Mr. James Agustine Ponce  is a Palm Beach living legend. 
Almost 93, there is no one like the eminent historian,
who can regale you with tales of the gilded age. 
Your itinerary must essentially include the hour long historic tour of The Breakers
Schultze & Weaver Architects were trained in the Beaux Arts method which encouraged the utilization of historic monuments to embellish new buildings. They also designed The Pierre, Sherry-Netherland, The Park Lane Hotel, Waldorf Astoria and were inspired by rooms, palaces and gardens of the Italian Renaissance. Built by 1200 workers, the groundbreaking to checking in the first guest only took 11 months and 14 days.

The Lobby's cross-vaulted ceiling is patterned after the Great Hall at the Palazzo Carega in Genoa. Travertine columns line the 200 ft. hallway. All ceilings were handpainted by the 73 artists flown in from Italy. 

The Circle with Palladian windows was erected in 1928. It currently functions as the Breakfast Room. The Sunday brunch is a must but requires a hefty appetite. The ceiling was after the manner of Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, an architectural icon that symbolized the emergence of mercantile leadership during the Florentine Renaissance. Wealthy Americans in the gilded age saw Florentine princes in the Medici, Strozzi, Pazzi era as role models for cultural leadership during the industrial age. Below is the exact reproduction of the carpet design.

The Tapestry Bar with 15th century Flemish tapestries is my favorite indoor area. It's the perfect place to start with cocktails then segue to dinner where you can order from any of the restaurant outlets in the property.  If the piano man isn't playing, ambient groove music fills the air.
Adjacent to the bar is L'Escalier , the French Restaurant

I loved the pops of silk lighting that reminded me of sea anemones 
but I didn't care much for the overall decor. 
The Versace Medusa Ikarus tableware by Rosenthal 
was rather expected and complemented the room.
These special nooks above the room were reserved for patrons 
who couldn't resist their libations during Prohibition.
Constant restoration of the hotel keeps it in tiptop condition.
The Venetian chandeliers were manufactured in 1926. 
When they wanted to add lighting, they were able to find the original manufacturer.
Parlor Space
the new chandelier based on the 1926 design

The Mediterranean Ballroom in its kitschy frescoed glory.
These ballrooms are practically booked for weddings every Saturday.
I loved this interesting and decadent painting from 1886.
photo taken from here where you can read more about the hotel
The Gold Room is a duplicate of the Grand Canal gallery in Venice.
The four sides of the ceiling are lined with portraits of people
who had a hand in discovering America.

the ceiling details of the Veranda
perfect for a siesta, tea, and a book 
the pavilion by the beach club where we did yoga
Mr. Ponce ended the tour by saying that 
"tiaras and jewelry came out on Saturdays and holidays 
and there was no fake stone in sight"
doing his Worth Ave tour, photo from NYSD 

*photos are from personal archives, unless noted*


Norbridge Antiques said...

The Breakers is a palace in Florida. Thank you so much for taking us on a tour of this very special place. Must I get rid of my fake stones now?

Shorely Chic said...

This is so amazing, I love the Breakers and take my friends there whenever we are in Florida! Thanks for sharing this us with us...

Shani said...

My parents used to love to travel down to The Breakers from Wisconsin when I was little. It is such an enchanting place! So beautiful and it has such rich history. I'm glad you had a fabulous time!

froulala.blogspot.com said...

@Norbridge: Please let me know if you end up doing the tour. I think you would enjoy it. Will have a few more Florida posts coming up soon! Enjoy the warm weather. You are always well put together and chic that even the fake stone look genuine!

@ShorelyChic: Thanks for taking the time to pop by! The Breakers is a great place to make wonderful memories time and time again.

@Shani: Oh thank you for sharing your lovely childhood memories. Truly a charm!

froulala.blogspot.com said...
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Crystal @ Plush Palate said...

OMG I would have been in HEAVEN in this place!