Living a Dream in Palm Beach

With its charming pink hue and 75-year legacy, The Colony Hotel conjures a sun-drenched fantasy on Florida’s Gold Coast.

FLORIDA'S GOLD COAST is a place I know well. I’ve probably taken 30 to 40 trips there over the years. My grandparents, like so many New York City Jews, retired there — in their case, to Tamarac, a middle-class suburb in Broward County. Later, my parents followed, landing in Boca Raton. Writing this piece, I was surprised to realize that over the course of the plus-or-minus 175 days I’ve spent visiting South Florida, not a single one was spent in Palm Beach.

Driving along coastal highway A1A, I began to understand why my mother had rolled her eyes in feigned, playful contempt when I told her where my wife and I were going. Palm Beach is as seemingly unattainable as a Slim Aarons photo: It’s rich, alive, and saturated with color. If Palm Beach is a Bentley, then you might say that Boca is an Audi, a slightly less exclusive version of the paradise I encountered as A1A gave way to South County Road. In the distance, I saw the British Colonial structure of The Colony Hotel. It’s so pink (the result of a collaboration with Farrow & Ball) that I could hardly control myself.

We were invited here to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the historic property, marked by the unveiling of the recently completed renovation that included a redesign of the hotel's 89 rooms and suites, along with a freshening-up of the building’s aforementioned — and unmissable — pink exterior.

The impeccably reimagined rooms were designed by Kemble Interiors. Industry norms compel me to mention the numerous bespoke design elements, including screen-printed fabrics by renowned textile house F. Schumacher, one-off murals by de Gournay, a project-specific furniture collection by Society Social, and Colony-exclusive art from local Palm Beach photographer Nick Mele. (All of which are shoppable via Society Social.)


My wife and I were escorted across the street to Serena & Lily and Palm Beach Lately’s “Sisters Suite,” a two-bedroom, two-bath, fully equipped, generously appointed 1,200-square-foot home with a semi-private pool. The space was enormous but also cozy. We definitely could have brought the kids, but I was very glad we didn’t.

After a short “nap” (OMG, the mattress!), I made my way back across the street to the restaurant, which was none other than the newly revived Swifty’s, the former society stalwart of New York City’s Upper East Side.

Our server had been an employee of the hotel for over 30 years and was a lifelong resident of Palm Beach. He was clearly just as enamored with the property, the food, the culture, and the guests as he had ever been. I truly wanted him to sit down and join us. The details of how he came to be here were different from most of the pastel-wearing patrons around us. Nonetheless, he recognized that he was an integral piece of the intricate fabric of the experience.

I’m including this because it’s how I try to experience a stay like this. I allow myself to be transported wholly to the place I find myself in, to take in the meticulously curated environment as it is today, while simultaneously imagining what it may have been like yesterday. I enjoy considering the potential narratives the other guests may have created about me, as I am equally fond of conjuring theirs. This detachment allows me to experience a place like The Colony without expectations. I’d like to think (insider or otherwise) anyone who’s not overwhelmingly enamored of this experience — the modern-yet-traditional aesthetic, the staff’s thoughtful and engaging commitment, the food, the pool, the history, the weather, the beach, the green, the mattress … the pink — is maybe just having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

My mom says some days are like that, but only in the absence of pink.

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Our Contributors

Jeremy Malman Writer

Jeremy Malman is a part-time journalist and full-time dad based in Brooklyn. His writing explores topics including motorsports, design, fitness, farming, and fatherhood — in other words, some conceptually comical notion of modern masculinity. He also really enjoys traveling.

Yoshihiro Makino Photographer

Yoshihiro Makino, born and raised in Tokyo, is an architecture and interior photographer based in Los Angeles. Makino is drawn to cultural co-influences in design, seen between Japan and other countries. His work takes him around the world, capturing spaces and portraits for a vast array of editorial, private, and commercial clients.


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