Cigar Aficionado

The Breakers -- Palm Beach

I have been to most of the best hotels in North America and the Caribbean, and The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, is simply one of the best I have ever stayed at, anywhere. It's even hard to start listing everything noteworthy about the place.

Let's start with the golf. The hotel has two courses. One is a quaint but meticulously maintained oceanfront course right on the hotel grounds. It's the oldest 18-hole course in Florida, and makes up for its short—6,100-yard—length with tough greens and lots of bunkers. The other, The Breakers Rees Jones, is 11 miles west of the hotel, and underwent a $6 million renovation in 2004 by its namesake designer. A true test of modern golf at more than 7,100 yards, it has many challenging holes and water and sand traps.

You can't miss with the dining at the hotel either. The main restaurant, L'Escalier, has outstanding French-inspired cuisine and one of the greatest wine lists in the world. The hotel and restaurant have received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator, the sister publication of Cigar Aficionado, since the award's inception in 1981. The cellar counts 28,000 bottles. Other excellent restaurant choices at the hotel include the Brasserie L'Escalier, a casual dining room next to its fancier sibling. Guests can also choose The Seafood Bar, with its aquarium bars and giant stone crabs, and for lunch, The Beach Club overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

It doesn't stop there. In the last five years the hotel has refurbished all its rooms and the hotel grounds as part of ongoing renovation that poured nearly $250 million into the property since 1990. The management now commits to spending $25 million annually to keep the hotel and all its guest rooms (depending on season, $520 to $1,420 a night) in pristine condition. The hotel also has a 20,000-square-foot spa, including 17 treatment rooms and a fully equipped fitness center, which is on par with any top spa in the United States. Of course, like any hotel on Florida's East Coast, there is easy access to the beach, and a huge pool overlooks the ocean.

Finally, you can't escape the fact that The Breakers has been at the center of Palm Beach society life for nearly 100 years. The guest list at the original hotel included names as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors, and famous people still flock here.

Worth Avenue, just minutes from the hotel, is good for a stroll along its three-block length to check out stores and art galleries. Armani, Hermès, Cartier and Bulgari, as well as small boutiques with unique clothes, jewelry and art, can be found here.

So if you're looking for an escape that offers up nothing short of perfection, try The Breakers. You won't be disappointed.

Visit or call 888-273-2537.