It’s a big year for the gorgeous slice of Palm Beach hospitality known as the Pink Paradise.
In addition to celebrating its 75th anniversary, The Colony recently unveiled its renovated and redesigned guest rooms and suites.
“We desire each guest room to be a luxurious representation of the Palm Beach way of life, generously imbued with The Colony’s unique sense of playfulness, with special attention dedicated to how our guests experience the space,” said Colony owner and President Sarah Wetenhall.
The work is part of an overall renovation project that began at the hotel four years ago, she said during a panel on the guest room updates held Dec. 2 in The Colony’s ballroom.
Wetenhall was joined for the discussion by key members of the redesign project, including Kemble Interiors founder Mimi McMakin, Isabel Elliman of Schumacher Hospitality, Nadia Amirpashaie of de Gournay custom wallpapers, Society Social founder Roxy Owens and Brown Jordan Chief Brand Officer Steve Jordan. The panel was moderated by Palm Beach native and author Jennifer Ash Rudick.
The Colony closed in July for the work to be completed, and reopened at the end of September. There are three guest room designs, plus the hotel’s luxurious suites. For each updated room, Wetenhall and her key collaborator, McMakin, looked to the island’s natural assets for inspiration.
“What are these elements of Palm Beach island that we want to bring into the guest rooms?” Wetenhall said. They looked to the green of the palm fronds and sea grapes, the blue of the ocean just steps from The Colony’s entrance and the blue of the sky, which on the day of the panel was clear and crisp.
There was one other color that needed representation: “We knew from the get-go that one had to be pink,” Wetenhall said of the rooms.
The hotel’s playful, imaginative style is on display throughout each room. From vibrant floral headboards to scalloped chairs with bright fabrics, Wetenhall, McMakin and team found a way to create a hybrid of “incredibly beautiful, special rooms that can withstand wear and tear,” Wetenhall said.
“We wanted to make them fun,” McMakin said of the rooms. “This is not a modern hotel. This is a home.”
The feeling of home hearkens to the hotel’s early years, when it opened as a home-away-from-home for society members, their families and friends. When guests are greeted in The Colony’s lobby, which is known as “the Living Room,” they are told, “Welcome home.”
The redesign includes new, custom-designed de Gournay murals to greet guests at each floor, similar to the now-iconic mural in the Living Room.
Each redesigned room also includes pieces from the capsule furniture collection created by Society Social for The Colony. The collaboration between Owens and Wetenhall led to 11 pieces of furniture that embody Palm Beach style. The pieces include items made from rattan and faux bamboo.
The collection also includes a piece inspired by a design sketched by Wetenhall’s son, Drew. The dresser, known as “Drew’s Dresser,” went from a drawing on a napkin to reality.
“It’s not a massive collection, but it’s very intentional,” Owens said, noting she was impressed and delighted by Wetenhall’s “passion and genuine vision and love for this project.”
Fabric house Schumacher worked with Wetenhall and McMakin to take a classic pattern and update it with “the sense of home,” while creating something durable and fresh, Elliman said.
One of the patterns, Citrus Garden, happened to be from the same year The Colony opened in 1947. The team took the archival pattern and changed the scale and colors to make it more modern while still maintaining its vintage feel, Elliman said.
Outside, McMakin and Wetenhall worked with luxury outdoor furniture maker Brown Jordan to find the right collection of lounge and dining pieces for guests to enjoy poolside.
Inside each room and throughout the corridors, guests will find exclusive art from Palm Beach photographers Nathan Coe, Chris Leidy and Nick Mele. “We went into this wanting to stay true to the island and true to the hotel,” Wetenhall said. “It wasn’t a question that there’s so much talent here on the island.”
Guest room and suite paintings were commissioned from artist Sarah Boyts Yoder and curated by New York City’s Voltz Clarke Gallery.
When guests love the look of a room, they will be able to buy pieces from The Colony or partner brands’ websites.
Guests at The Colony also will notice updated touches to the first floor of the hotel, including a new de Gournay mural with The Colony’s monkey mascots from the Living Room to Swifty’s restaurant. The iconic pink exterior received a fresh coat of paint from Farrow & Ball in a new custom color named “Paradise Pink.”
“That’s a real key to Palm Beach, is to create memories for people, make it easy for our children to come back, make it easy for guests to come in,” McMakin said. “So the minute they come in, they are just enchanted by Palm Beach, the friendliness and sort of whimsy.”