Miami may be where you make yourself seen in a bid to get in the gossip pages; Palm Beach, though, is an altogether different sort of place, and no hotel encapsulates its essence quite like the stately Breakers. This hundred-year-old hotel, designed after the style of an Italian Renaissance villa, spans an estate of some 140 acres opening onto the Atlantic Ocean, and incorporates two golf courses, a tennis complex, a 20,000-square-foot spa and a Mediterranean-style beach club, the sort of place where uniformed valets deliver towels and cold drinks to guests lolling in seaside cabanas.
The accommodations are as elegant and traditional as any on this side of the Atlantic, and come with all the trappings, from marble bathrooms and Italian armoires to high-speed internet access and PlayStations. Rooms overlook the golf course, the gardens or the ocean, the last, most often, from private step-out balconies.
This is old-world luxury, to be sure; it's only just now that the requirement for gentlemen to wear jackets and ties after seven o'clock has been done away with — although this crowd isn't exactly rushing to embrace t-shirts and flip-flops. Still, if you're pining for the ever so slightly more exclusive atmosphere of the old days, there's always the Flagler Club, a separate building offering personalized concierge services and private facilities.
Five restaurants serve a variety of cuisines, from classic American seafood and steaks to the award-winning French restaurant L'Escalier, one of Palm Beach's finest. Leisure activities include spa treatments, tennis and golf, all manner of water sports, and old favorites like croquet, horseshoes and shuffleboard.