The Spa at the Breakers in Palm Beach

By on March 2, 2011

By Julie Register –

I spent a day at The Spa at The Breakers while I was in the Palm Beach area. The Breakers, set on 140 oceanfront acres in the heart of Palm Beach, is the oldest hotel in Florida and on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been under single family ownership since 1896 and is still privately owned by the descendants of its visionary founder, Henry Morrison Flagler, a Standard Oil Company and railroad magnate.

First Impressions Although I only glimpsed at most of the sprawling Italian Renaissance-styled resort, I was impressed by what I saw – parts of the golf course on the long drive in, the opulent lobby inspired by the Great Hall of the Palazzo Carega (circa 1560) in Genoa, the Spa and the extensive Beach Club. I was impressed by this resort for three other reasons as well:

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1.      Location – The Breakers is entirely oceanfront (many resorts in the area are not).

2.      Values – The Breakers demonstrates that they value both their physical and human assets. During the recession, the $20 million annual capital improvement budget was untouched, and employee benefits were upheld and expanded. They put “the fulfillment and welfare of our staff ahead of short-term profits and nourish our family of associates with gratitude; in turn that assures complete guest satisfaction.” The Breakers spent over $250 million since 1990 on its ongoing revitalization and expansion. Depending on the season, it has a team of 1,600-1,800 associates with fluency in 56 languages that are empowered to deliver highly personalized service.

3.      Environment – In an effort to assist in the conservation and protection of Florida’s natural resources, The Breakers has committed to working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to implement “green” practices as part of the Florida Green Lodging Program

The 20,000-square-foot Spa at The Breakers is adjacent to the Beach Club, and everyone entering the club must pass by. On the left is the spa’s lap pool, whirlpool, Oceanfront Sanctuary and the beach beyond. On the right is the private spa courtyard with its central fountain, lounge chairs and the spa entrance.

I walked through the courtyard and entered the spa where I was warmly greeted at the reception desk. I was given a quick tour of the changing room facilities (showers, steam room, sauna) that ended in the locker area where I was assigned a locker and given a robe and sandals. I steamed and showered then waited in the lounge where I enjoyed a cup of tea Forté.

My therapist came for me at the appointed time and led me down one of the hallways to my treatment room. I was about to have one of the spa’s signature treatments, an 80-minute Personal Retreat that is customized to the guest’s needs and intentions. My therapist asked me a number of questions about my state of the moment and asked my preferences with regard to aroma, the use of hot stones, etc. I told her about my chronic neck/shoulders/back issues and said I’d leave the rest up to her. She then used that information to expertly craft a therapeutic yet very relaxing massage for me that focused on my areas of need but also included my legs, arms and head. She used hot stones and warm towels to reinforce the massage. It felt wonderful!

During my visit that day, I had an opportunity to speak with Mark Mantegna, The Breakers’ Director of Quality & Service Improvement, who had been the Spa Director for many years. He told me that The Spa at the Breakers opened in 1998 as an amenity spa (one year after I started writing about spas on the Internet). Over the years, it has been expanded and improved. There are now 17 private treatment rooms, separate ladies’ and men’s locker rooms with steam and sauna and the new Oceanfront Sanctuary. Additionally, the 1,400 square-foot Ocean view Fitness Center connects to The Spa. Its 14-foot high windows provide great views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Unlike many other resorts in the area, the Spa and Beach Club at The Breakers are available to everyone, not just guests of the hotel or members of the club.

Julie has traveled the world for over 14 years in order to experience hundreds of spas in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Asia and Oceana. She shares her spa experiences on her web site, DiscoverSpas.com.  She also owns SpaQuality.com, a company that helps spas provide excellent experiences to their guests.

Julie Register

About Julie Register

Julie has traveled the world for over 14 years in order to experience hundreds of spas in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Asia and Oceana. She shares her spa experiences on her web site, DiscoverSpas.com. She also owns www.SpaQuality.com, a company that helps spas provide excellent experiences to their guests.

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The Spa at the Breakers in Palm Beach