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I’m not a native South Floridian. So it’s taken me time to learn the quirks and the intricacies that make up every pocket of South Florida – from the laid-back beauty of the Treasure Coast, to the international vibrancy of Miami, to the bustling waterways of Fort Lauderdale.
But one iconic South Florida neighborhood has always seemed just out of reach, untouchable: Palm Beach. It sets itself apart with legendary stories of the Kennedys, with mansions along South Ocean Boulevard and with the designer-packed Worth Avenue.
After years in South Florida, it was finally time that I took that plunge and crossed the bridge from West Palm into the world of the rich and famous.
And there’s only one place where you can get that true Palm Beach experience: The Colony Hotel.
Everything at The Colony exudes Palm Beach. And I mean that in the most flattering, elegant and beautiful way. The boutique hotel is tucked into a corner between South Ocean Boulevard and Worth Avenue, just steps from both the beach and world-class shopping and restaurants. It’s a location that’s hard to beat.
The hotel just underwent a $9 million renovation that many feared would change its classic Palm Beach style. But a weekend stay at the hotel proved that it didn’t lose its Palm Beach soul. If anything, the renovation revived it.
Everything – from the lobby, to the restaurant, to the guest rooms – was re-imagined by international designer Carleton Varney. The hotel officially re-opened in October.
My room was fresh and vibrant with Kelly green carpeting, salmon-painted walls and a fluffy floral-patterned comforter covering a king-size bed. The design was both fun and classy.
The Colony makes it easy to have a carefree, luxurious experience. After a full breakfast on the pool patio, I took advantage of a quiet, peaceful morning relaxing and reading poolside. Visitors can stroll on Worth Avenue, relax on the beach for the afternoon or take a bike ride along South Ocean Boulevard to view the breathtaking mansions.
On Friday nights, locals and visitors flock to Polo Steaks & Seafood, the hotel’s popular restaurant and bar, for Motown music to drink and dance the night away. I stopped by to people watch, sipping a sweet and sour lemon mojito.
I couldn’t leave The Colony without experiencing the hotel’s famous Royal Room Cabaret, a classic and intimate venue where men are required to wear jackets and ties and women dress to the nines to sip Champagne and dine while listening to some of the best performances in the country. This year’s schedule includes Broadway star Avery Sommers, harmony group The Four Freshmen, entertainer Roslyn Kind, TV personality Regis Philbin and many more.
With high-caliber entertainment, beautiful accommodations and fine-dining, it’s easy to understand why The Colony has played host to the likes of Presidents Ford, Clinton and both Bushes, members of the royal family and many more notable guests.
On the hotel’s website it says, “Since 1947, The Colony has been at the center of Palm Beach social life.” With this renovation, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It also means I’ll be planning another trip across the bridge.