Once you stay, you'll understand®
Founded on the sands of Palm Beach in 1896, our resort’s story has been one of strong roots ever since—holding true to our values while evolving in a changing world.
A brief history
In the late 1890s, just before the turn of the century, industry tycoons and elegant socialites began flocking to the pristine shores of a new destination—a long strip of an island called Palm Beach.
It was our founder Henry M. Flagler, one of America’s great industrialists, who started the trend of grand, gorgeous properties on the island. His first was The Royal Poinciana, a six-story Georgian beauty. Two years later, Flagler debuted his premier oceanfront hotel, which 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 reemerged more opulent each time. The second reconstruction of The Breakers was awarded to New York City-based designers Shultze and Weaver, the same minds who would later create many of Manhattan’s most coveted hotels: the Pierre, the Sherry-Netherland and Park Avenue’s Waldorf Astoria. 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. Flagler’s newest iteration was modeled after the magnificent Villa Medici in Rome—an ambitious effort that called for 75 artisans brought in from Italy. Together they completed the intricate paintings, detailed across the ceilings of the 200-foot-long main lobby and first-floor public rooms, which remain on display today. It was a grand gesture that placed The Breakers in a class all its own.
Year by year, the resort’s reputation grew and word spread, beckoning the glitterati to vacation in Palm Beach year-round. At any given time, the guest register read like a “who's who” of early 20th-century America: Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan, vacationing alongside US presidents and European nobility.
Today, the story of The Breakers continues, holding fast to the ideals that put it on the map—unapologetic luxury, seaside glamour and world-class service—but also embracing the new. In our modern world that is more interconnected than ever before, we’re fully committed to our employees, our environment and the enduring mission of our organization.
Across our resort grounds, we implement ecologically friendly practices that conserve resources and protect the environment, promising an enhanced quality of life for future generations. Our efforts epitomize The Breakers’ devotion to environmental stewardship while maintaining the distinctive quality and world-class service that guests expect of our resort. These green endeavors include energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction.
The Breakers is committed to expanding and enhancing all of our environmental programs to protect and preserve our precious natural resources. We are also honored to be a Green Power partner of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
As a modern organization employing more than 2,000 people, our sense of social responsibility extends to our team, our environment and our community. From employee wellness and sustainable practices to community enrichment and powerful partnerships, our commitments not only ensure our enduring success, but also contribute to a sense of greater good. To learn more about our perspective on corporate citizenship, please explore our Annual Report.