Inside The Colony – the Palm Beach hotel adored by royals

The pink palace of Palm Beach reigns on – and she’s had a facelift! Inside The Colony, the super-chic Floridian retreat beloved by royals, presidents and movie stars for 75 years

  • The Colony Hotel on Palm Beach’s Hammon Avenue underwent a refurb last year
  • For decades, this elegant institution has welcomed an sophisticated crowd  

For seventy-five years, The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach has played colorful host to a range of royals, presidents, billionaires, movie stars and Pucci-clad socialites.  

And like many of the grand dames who now laze sensibly in the shade at the poolside restaurant Swifty’s, this one’s enjoyed a subtle, cosmetic refresh. 

Late last year, the hotel’s 89 sumptuous rooms and suites underwent a makeover; Matouk Linens, Assouline coffee table books and Dyson hair dryers can be expected in the new, oh-so-chic rooms, which all shoot off from halls lined with the same shocking pink, palm-print carpet. 

The lobby is a loud but refined cocktail of pale pinks, lime greens, leopards, palms, stripes and oyster-shaped seats – the special brand of stylish that can only be achieved with a budget as large as the designer’s ambitions. 

Pink paradise: The Colony Hotel on Palm Beach’s Hammon Avenue is a local institution 

Refresh: The property closed for three months last year to undergo a stylish renovation 

Care for a dip? Candy-color loungers and scalloped parasols await sunseekers by the pool 

Upon arrival, guests are greeted with chilled Evian or champagne. 

The biggest prize is undoubtedly a spot on the nearby beach

Cocktail hour is a predictable mash-up of elegant classics though martinis and rose seem to be crowd pleasers. 

In the stifling summer months, Swifty’s offers comfortable, indoor refuge with brightly-upholstered loveseats and armchairs. In the spring, a dinner in the outdoor ‘hanging garden’ is a delight. 

During the day, the poolside atmosphere is sophisticated yet cheery. 

But the biggest prize is undoubtedly a spot on the nearby beach. 

Without any trouble at all, a beach butler dressed in a bubble-gum pink shirt will shuttle guests in the palm-print golf cart and set them up for the day.

The Colony’s enduring elegance is so that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor made it their ‘home away from home’. 

Sophie Loren, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lena Horne and John Lennon were all regulars at a time, and President John F. Kennedy was also hosted while in office. 

Come on in: A colorful but elegant lobby welcomes guests upon arrival 

Home from home: So beloved is this Floridian retreat that the Duke and Duchess of Winsdor were known to spend months at a time there. Above, a renovated junior suite 

Built in the post-war construction boom of the forties, the candy-colored paradise is as much a part of the luxurious, local fabric as the adjacent Worth Avenue and periwinkle surf. 

While working for Vogue, iconic British photographer Cecil Beaton described his Palm Beach schedule as follows. 

‘Tennis, swimming, lunch. Golf, drinks, dinner. The Patio. Bradley’s. Bed. Tennis, swimming, lunch. Golf, drinks, dinner. The movies. The Colony. Bradley’s. Bed. Tennis, swimming, lunch. Fishing, drinks, dinner. Etcetera.’ 

There is perhaps no better way to describe this uniquely charming hotel and its omnipresence in one of America’s most monied – and storied – beach towns.

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