As a New York fashion public relations and communications exec (French Connection Holdings, Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein), Sarah Wetenhall spent her days knee-deep in sartorial sand, attending to myriad duties that ranged from coordinating prolific brand-marketing campaigns to shepherding shipments.
Today, she applies a similar skill set, along with a killer style instinct, to her role as president and CEO of The Colony Palm Beach. Steering the property’s branding, as well as shaping its sui generis guest experience, is serious business for Wetenhall but keeping things jocund is key.
“I aspire to do it all in a fun and somewhat playful fashion that makes fiscal sense,” she says. Since purchasing the iconic island property in late-December 2016 with her husband, Andrew, an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, the Missouri native has been busy putting a chic stamp on the hotel’s refurbishment projects (part of a long-term renovation plan), such as a citrus-patterned restaurant revamp and a grand ballroom that boasts oceanic elements and trompe l’oeil.
Being a mother of three prompted her to introduce the Family Affair dinner on Sunday nights. She also launched the program that brings guests to the beach in a custom Colony beach buggy with matching chairs, umbrella and cooler; and she offers guests complimentary custom paddleboards and beach cruiser bikes.
In her spare time, she enjoys supporting children’s organizations like the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton where she’s a trustee, playing tennis and golf, practicing transcendental meditation and spending time with her children, Andrew, Amelia and Maggie.
1. WORK UNIFORM A Dolce & Gabbana or Oscar de la Renta cotton shift dress with a black or nude Aquazzura pump are my go-to staples during the day.
2. MAKEUP BAG L’Oreal Paris Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator, Smashbox Spotlight Palette, Glossier Boy Brow and Olio E Osso Balm are key to my beauty routine.
3. ALWAYS CARRY A pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and my Beats wireless headphones
4. WELL READ I just finished reading “Educated” by Tara Westover, which was a fascinating take on schooling, our educational system, organized religion and American values. I am now reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry with my 10-year-old son.
5. DRINK DUJOUR Casamigos reposado tequila on the rocks with fresh lime juice
6. BUCKET LIST I want very badly to travel to India and Egypt.
7. PERFECT FRIDAY NIGHT I like to cook at home. We’ll generally invite family over and enjoy a bottle of great wine.
8. FASHION DESIGNER FAVORITE I recently met J.J. Martin of La DoubleJ and have fallen in love with everything she does. I don’t shy away from color or patterns, so it makes sense that I would like her collections.
9. SWEET RIDE In Palm Beach, I have an old Mercedes, but I’m usually running around the island in The Colony’s beach buggy.
10. GASTRONOMIC GO-TO Buccan
11. SPEED-DIAL DISH The crunchy French toast at CPB at The Colony is always a breakfast favorite (and a bit of a splurge).
12. TO DO LIST Plan a family trip to a Colorado dude ranch in late August.
13. PASSPORT STAMP Paris. When Andrew lived there, I would visit on weekends. I look forward to the time we can share [the city] with our children.
14. STIMULUS PACKAGE Having spent most of my youth in the Midwest, I find myself drawn to the ocean as a source of energy and inspiration. I will often take a beach walk with a cup of coffee if I need to relax or think a bit.
15. PALM BEACH PICK I love jogging the Lake Trail, and with newer stores like Kirna Zabête in The Royal Poinciana Plaza, it’s a fun time to shop on the island.
16. INSIDER TIP Charter The Heron, a catamaran that’s moored in Palm Beach during the winter season for an afternoon sail.