MEET JOHNNIE BROWN
Hello, I’m Johnnie Brown, one of Palm Beach’s celebrities—and The Colony’s mascot. I like to eat bananas in the silk-lined sombrero that was created for me by Addison Mizner, the famous architect who designed the Everglades Club. In the 1920s, I could be spotted in the heart of town on Addison’s shoulder. (I’m a spider monkey who likes to socialize!) Did you know that I once ran to be the mayor of Palm Beach?
“The Colony is dressed (or, painted) to impress—an iconic destination that welcomes the well-heeled from Worth Avenue with a glass (or two) of rosé.”
— Architectural Digest
THE COLONY EXPERIENCE
The Colony is a few feet from the sand—which makes it a breeze for us to cater beach excursions with this luxe service. The Colony's Beach Butler is available to deliver gourmet bites in custom-branded, YETI coolers (with dishware, ice, and napkins).
Pedal to Palm Beach’s blue waters on one of our custom-branded beach cruisers (which are free to borrow).
Bike maps, included.
The Colony Hotel is pleased to partner with Volvo Car USA to bring our guests a luxury house car experience in their new XC90 Inscription. Rides are on a frst come, frst serve basis within the boundaries of Wells Road and Blossom Way on Palm Beach Island. Here, the transportation is on the house!
WE WELCOME PETS
We’re a second home to pets, too! For a small fee, cats and dogs will be catered to with custom-branded beds and cute treats from The Colony’s kitchen.
FIT @ THE COLONY
Sweat, Colony-style, with our in-house exercise classes. Our seasonal program boasts the best instructors on the island. The Front Desk will provide you with our work-out times and locations upon check-in – all you have to do
is show up!
HISTORY OF OUR PINK PARADISE
The Colony Hotel dates to 1947, when it debuted during Palm Beach’s post war construction boom.
This glimmering destination has received praise for its fashionable dining, live music, and gorgeous interior decoration. It’s the reason that discerning guests—including Judy Garland, Lena Horne, John Lennon, Sophia Loren, and Frank Sinatra—have continued to check in for decades.
From the beginning, The Colony has commanded the western end of Hammon Avenue, which was named for Hiram F. Hammon. Hammon—who, in 1875, settled on 169.2 acres of the island through the 1862 Homestead Act—is famous for being Palm Beach’s frst pioneer. Together with William Lanehart, Hammon is credited withthis historic town’s name.
In 1878, the Providencia was bound for Spain from Trinidad when it paused on the island’s shores. Lanehart chronicled: “I was greeted by the mate of the vessel, with a bottle of wine and a box of cigars, as a sort of olive branch. There were 20,000 coconuts, and they seemed like a godsend to the people. For several weeks, everyone was eating coconuts and drinking wine.” Some of the coconuts were planted, becoming the palms that would be the genesis for the name“Palm Beach.”
In 1921, Hammon sold some of his land to William Waller, Jr. In 1928, the Chicago-based broker finished Casa Manana, his Spanish-style estate that today houses The Colony’s collection of residences. Later, in the 1940s, he and his business partners recruited the firm Simonson and Holley to build the Colonial-style gem that would become The Colony.
The Colony (then, “The Golf View”) was presented to the public on November 15, 1947. On November 22, 1947, there was a black-tie celebration, where the glamorous crowd flowed between rooms, including the Birdcage Bar. It was a smashing success, ensuring that the rooms were filled for the rest of the season.
In the 1950s, S. Joseph Tankoos, Jr., the financier behind New York’s Delmonico Hotel, was drawn to The Colony. He purchased the lease in1959, bringing his sense of sparkle to Palm Beach.
It was shared, in The Miami Herald: “Impressions of the gracious old hotel have remained with him. He says he hoped to recapture that graciousness along with the gaiety and the pushbutton service provided by such hotels as the Claridge in London or the Plaza Athénée in Paris.”
It was during this period that President John F. Kennedy established a second residence on the island, following his election in 1960. This—coupled with Tankoos’ first-class contributions to The Colony—ensured its success. In 1969, the Palm Beach Daily News described:
The Colony Hotel imparts a feeling of elegance and importance to its hotel guests which is, perhaps, the basis for its air of distinction and popularity among the discriminating. For years the Colony has been the winter resort home for many in the International Jet Set, that
elegant group of American and international ocean-hopping social figures.
The Colony’s guest roster includes royalty, international tycoons, political figures and prominent persons and reads like a ‘Who’s Who in the World.’ Operated in a private club
atmosphere, the Colony also has appeal for Palm Beach residents as a desirable place to hold dinner parties. The Maharanee of Jodhpur, the Shah of Persia, the late President John F.
Kennedy, the President of Nicaragua, three kings and numerous other dignitaries have been hosted at the Colony and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were known to spend a month
during the season in the Colony’s Vice-Regal penthouse.
Tankoos continued his reign through 1970, when he sold the lease to David H. McConnell and Robert C. Wetenhall (partners in an investment firm in New York who were both part owners of the New England Patriots). Soon, the co-owners embarked on a renovation that included the facilities and the rooms. McConnell and Wetenhall were committed to the local communities, promising to source contractors from the region.
In the 1990s, Clark increased the size of his share (Wetenhall remained involved). In 2001, Roger Everingham (General Manager) and Rob Russell
(Entertainment Director) installed a supper club featuring cabaret performances in The Colony’s Royal Room. The program booked its share
of bold-faced names, causing a sensation on the scene in Palm Beach.
In 2006, Clark’s passing transitioned his share to Rosamond Clark (his widow) and his children. The Clarks ran The Colony with care and, in 2014, recruited interior decorator Carleton Varney (of Dorothy Draper and Company) to execute a $9 million refurbishment. He decorated each room with its own distinctive theme, splashing the place with bold hues and lushness. It was he who introduced the famous “Brazilliance” pattern in the halls—and painted it pink.
In 2016, the Clarks sold The Colony to its current owners, Andrew and Sarah Wetenhall. Andrew (Robert C. Wetenhall’s son) is a New York–based investment banker who remembers his childhood on the grounds of this “Pink Paradise.” As he shared at his opening reception, he believes: “This is like a little slice of heaven. All we want it to be is the great thing it already is.” In 2017 The Colony celebrated her 70 Anniversary—in celebration of this important milestone, The Wetenhalls announced the beginning of a multi-year restoration of the grande dame of Palm Beach, in partnership with Mimi McMakin and Celerie Kemble of Kemble Interiors.
The Colony Palm Beach was designated a landmark in 2020. Read more here about the recent history being made at the Colony.