April 13, 2024


For splendid leisure

Palm Beach’s Iconic Colony Lodge Gets a Pleasurable, Refreshing Redesign

6 min read

“The Colony is much additional than a hotel—The Colony is a point out of thoughts,” says Sarah Wetenhall. Admittedly, Wetenhall is a bit biased—she, along with her spouse Andrew, have been the proprietors of this legendary Palm Beach front assets considering the fact that 2016. But, as any regional or loyal visitor can attest, the famed pink lodge is a beloved stalwart of the Florida town—and a nostalgic bastion of the type of preppy beach model that produced Palm Seaside well-known. Now, many thanks to Kemble Interiors’s Celerie Kemble and Mimi McMakin—with assist from de Gournay—the resort has a brand new (but still wholly Palm Beach front) look.

When it first opened, in 1947, The Colony sat at the epicenter of the type of vacation resort type afterwards immortalized in images by Slender Aarons properly-heeled holiday break makers lounged below scalloped umbrellas by the lodge pool and the building’s pink façade—as properly as its mascot monkey—became synonymous with the Palm Seaside lifestyle. In 2014, Dorothy Draper protégé Carleton Varney gave the hotel a multimillion greenback makeover, infusing the interiors with Draper logos, like Braziliance wallpaper and black-and-white floors.

Now, as the so-named Grand Dame of Palm Seashore approaches its 75th birthday, the Wetenhalls have set out to refresh it for a new era of vacationers, turning it into a present day hotel concept without having sacrificing any of the Outdated Palm Beach front design. “We want to preserve The Colony’s legacy of gracious hospitality even though guaranteeing ongoing relevance to a new technology of modern-day, nicely-traveled and discerning guests,” describes Wetenhall.

And no one particular, the hotelier figured, understands that thought greater than Mimi McMakin and Celerie Kemble, the mom-daughter team guiding Kemble Interiors. McMakin lives in Palm Beach full-time and Kemble, who was born there, just finished a extremely-lauded reimagining of the 100-12 months-aged Mayflower Inn in Connecticut.


colony hotel

Brantley Images

colony hotel

Brantley Images

Central to the options for the renovation was a motivation to eschew the conventional look at-in desk/bellhop station/elevator financial institution lobby design in favor of a welcoming place for relaxing—an entrance that would invite lingering, not prompt attendees to operate for their rooms. “What we were hoping is that it would develop into an legendary conference put,” says McMakin. “That individuals would sit by the fire—maybe there would even be a proposal there, or a wedding day photograph.”

To accomplish this, McMakin and Kemble approached the foyer as nevertheless it were, perfectly, a dwelling home. The centerpiece of the structure is a fantastical de Gournay mural that spans the full lobby. The wallcovering was born out of one thing a great deal lesser: a postcard Wetenhall discovered from the hotel’s grand opening in 1947. “It experienced a chic black terrazzo floor, juxtaposed all over again a mural titled ‘The Early Times of Palm Beach front,'” Wetenhall recalls of the first patterns.

To the Kemble crew, a mural offered the perfect possibility to both of those address a design and style challenge and notify a tale: “The space has these significant large ceilings, these superb proportions, but we required it to be an inviting location to sit,” suggests McMakin, who labored intently with Wetenhall and the de Gournay staff to devise a motif that channelled the playfulness of Aged Palm Beach—without veering kitschy.

colony hotel

Brantley Photography

“We are equally really inventive and wanted to do anything that felt exclusive to the location,” states de Gournay director Hannah Cecil Gurney. “Sarah envisaged the set up as a ‘Love Letter’ to the resort. The ‘Pink Palace’ is such an iconic place with its have one of a kind mythology.”

de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors


For the mural, the de Gournay team endeavored to translate that mythology to the walls. “Sarah gave us full use of her ‘Brand Bible’ – a reference e book containing particulars of the hues associated with The Colony and its interiors, materials on the famed aquaculture and its record as a desired destination for glamorous styles from all eras,” remembers Gurney. “It also contained charming illustrations of characters that experienced currently been designed for The Colony who we could then integrate into the wallpaper, and details on the first mural itself —all of which would make up this superb folklore all around the hotel.”

When models were settled upon by the de Gournay, Kemble, and Colony teams, de Gournay’s crew of artists painstakingly hand painted each individual past chicken, leaf, and department.

Inspite of the intense, artful course of action at the rear of its murals, “they appreciate the whimsy,” McMakin suggests of de Gournay: “If we are showing flamingos, they have to have necklaces—the alligators have to have butterflies butterflies flying close to them mainly because it can be Palm Seashore and everybody’s delighted. The parrots have nests and in the nests are Easter eggs” (layout decisions, McMakin recollects, that resulted in some “hysterical Zoom phone calls”).

Of training course, it is all set versus the hotel’s trademark pink, listed here in a handmade Asian rice-paper that exudes a worn-in really feel regardless of its fresh software: “It has this seriously superb texture, which is superbly uneven and picks up the paint in a dappled way,” suggests Gurney. “It gives a charming aged impact that helps make it come to feel as nevertheless it is been on the partitions for hundreds of yrs.”

To stability out all that pink, the designers introduced again the shiny black floors—the excellent foil to de Gournay’s tropical jungle and the room’s resort-fashion furnishings.


colony hotel

Brantley Images

The hotel’s concept of reinvented classics proceeds to the restaurant, which is a revival of the beloved New York eatery that shuttered in 2016. “It was just adored by anyone,” suggests McMakin of the restaurant, which was know for a warm, snug vibe that captivated daring-confronted names who desired to dine without having fuss. “Replicating that at The Colony was going to be challenging.”

So alternatively of attempting to recreate the design and style, she and Kemble opted to channel the restaurant’s helpful experience. “The space was made as personal as Swifty’s was in New York, with a touch of that velvet class and those people banquettes all in a row, so you could lean in excess of and chat to a person.” Rather of dark leather, though, the banquettes are a celadon velvet, and walls are protected in a grasscloth printed with palm trees.

Outdoor Eating Space

colony hotel

Brantley Images

The one particular matter this Swifty’s has that New York’s failed to? Out of doors eating. “Definitely, we experienced to prolong Swifty’s outdoors simply because, in Palm Seaside, absolutely everyone desires to go outdoors,” claims McMakin. Hanging crops and climbing vines give a sheltered have an affect on that mimics the intimacy of the indoor cafe.


colony hotel

Brantley Pictures

Kemble also gave the pool area a refresh, outfitting it with rattan home furnishings and scallop-trim umbrellas that recall Palm Beach’s glory days—without hunting dated. Cheerful, snug, and just a little bit playful—with any amenity ideal at your fingertips—it’s the essence of what the hotel hopes to be.

Although McMakin is astutely conscious of the present keep on travel—”I have not been on a airplane in a year,” she says—she hopes that this sort of thoughtful, inviting style will be all the additional appreciated when we get started to examine into motels additional freely: “If I am heading to go somewhere just after this, I want to go wherever it can be good,” she muses. “I want to go where it really is just the prettiest, the finest, the most enjoyable. I want to be taken treatment of, to be addressed as even though I am exclusive. That’s what The Colony does so perfectly.”

Editors’ observe: As COVID-19 carries on to be a threat in the U.S., Household Beautiful encourages compliance with CDC recommendations all over journey and eating. We will continue on to highlight fantastic lodge style and design as we seem forward to touring once again.

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