Travel

Step into a Hand-Painted Florida Wonderland

Glimpse this gorgeous wallpaper mural at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach

photo: Carmel Brantley

The lobby at the Colony Hotel.

Since the Colony Hotel opened, in 1947, its peachy facade has fit right into the laid-back glitz of its Palm Beach home, but the glamour of the interiors faded a bit over the decades. 

photo: Carmel Brantley

Working with the county historical society and the town’s preservation foundation, co-owner Sarah Wetenhall discovered photographs of the original lobby, and the lauded design firm Kemble Interiors took it from there, adding vintage brass tables sculpted to look like palm fronds, dainty scallop-backed sofas draped in Pierre Frey floral fabric, and arch-backed chairs made of rattan. The team meticulously pulled up the marble flooring to reveal the original black terrazzo beneath. 

photo: Carmel Brantley

The historic photos also revealed a towering mural that once covered the lobby’s back wall, so Wetenhall enlisted the hand-painted-wallpaper firm de Gournay to design a custom eighteen-foot floor-to-ceiling installation inspired by South Florida’s flora and fauna. “It’s like walking into the Everglades,” Wetenhall says of the recently reopened lobby. With added whimsy: “The flamingos are wearing top hats. There’s a panther with a diamond collar, and a monkey is a little tipsy because he’s been drinking a martini.” 

photo: Carmel Brantley
photo: Carmel Brantley

Head to Swifty’s near the lobby, a reimagined version of the beloved shuttered New York restaurant, for a libation of your own. 

photo: Carmel Brantley

See more of de Gournay’s wallpapers in the recently released book de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors.


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