From multimillion-dollar renovations and additions to name changes, resorts refashion themselves to keep guests coming back for more.
By Mary Thurwachter
Hotel mogul Bill Marriott Jr. says every successful company is constantly changing — or they’re not successful for very long.
Local hotel owners appear to agree. During the past year and a half, resorts big and small have undergone redesigns and amenity additions; some have even changed their names and management companies.
Four local resorts have new names. The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach in Manalapan became Eau Palm Beach; The Bridge in Boca Raton became Waterstone Resort & Marina; The Omphoy in Palm Beach became Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, and the Highland Beach Holiday Inn became Delray Sands Resort.
• The 309-room Ritz transitioned to Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa (www.eaupalmbeach.com) in summer 2013, though most of the staff remained. The name change followed a two-year legal dispute between the owners and Marriott International, which operates the Ritz-Carlton chain.
Currently, the ownership group, RC/PB INC, independently manages Eau Palm Beach.
Among initial perks for guests were champagne at check-in and free beach bags and flip-flops. Menu changes at the restaurants were made, as well, to offer healthy Mediterranean fare.
In December, Eau Palm Beach celebrated the latest phase of its new-fashioned Palm Beach luxury philosophy by collaborating with Jonathan Adler to redefine the guest experience with rooms full of surprises, including his signature accents to add style and craft.
The bright blues of Capri, the white of Santorini rooftops and the classic nautical Palm Beach vibe inspired Adler’s color palette. His designs incorporate irreverence into the balcony and cabana spaces that adjoin each room. New elements include hanging chairs with a lacquered bamboo look, as well as a wrought iron “peace” and “love” dining set.
• In May, the Waterstone Resort (www.watersoneboca.com), formerly the Bridge Hotel, opened after a $10 million-plus renovation. All 139 guest rooms, including 10 suites and a presidential suite, have balconies with views of the Atlantic, Intracoastal Waterway or Lake Boca.
A Doubletree by Hilton resort, the Waterstone has two waterfront restaurants.
New hotel features include an app for room service or dinner reservations, a private complimentary golf cart shuttle to the beach and complimentary bicycle use.
• Perhaps no hotel underwent as extensive a refashioning as Delray Sands Resort (www.delraysandsresort.com), the former Highland Beach Holiday Inn.
“We threw out everything old, even the silverware,” said General Manager Ric Clark. Each of the 115 guest rooms and suites was redone with an ocean-inspired décor.
Rooms are equipped with comfortable furnishings and amenities such as mini refrigerators, in-room coffee makers and premium cable channels, as well as furnished balconies on rooms overlooking the pool or beach.
And guests won’t have to deal with noisy ice machines. Bagged ice is available on every floor.
The focal point of the Highland Beach property is Latitudes, a new oceanfront restaurant and lounge made up of five social and dining spaces, including the main dining room with views of the ocean, an outdoor ocean terrace, the new Wave Pool Bar and private social event spaces. With a modern coastal palette of bright sea salt white, deep ocean blues and driftwood oak, the design of the main dining room features terraced seating areas that cascade down to the ocean, giving every guest an ocean view. The Friday night piano player is gone — but, not to worry: new entertainment will be announced soon.
Valet parking has become mandatory.
Delray Sands is a member of the Ocean Properties Opal Collection (www.oplhotels.com).
• On Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, the 134-room Tideline Ocean (www.tidelineresort.com) debuted its new name in August. Also new at the boutique hotel, owned by Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene, is management by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurants. Changes at the property include expanding and renovating the spa and revamping the food service and bringing in a new executive chef.
Other changes and upgrades at local hospitality establishments include:
• Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel & Tiki Bar just wrapped up a $750,000 renovation that began in July. The Key West-style boutique hotel transformed four suites into high-tech luxury villas. Carrie Leigh Designs of Delray Beach, architect Francisco Pérez-Azúa of Perez Design LLC and Bill Branning of BSA Corporation were charged with details.
The villas feature the Beausommet mattress by Essentia, the “World’s Only Natural Memory Foam mattress.” Crane’s (www.cranesbeachhouse.com) is the first property in the state to feature these mattresses, made using rubber-tree sap, organic essential oils, natural plant extracts and organic cotton.
The conversion of suites into villas is the first phase of a major multiyear remodeling project.
• Last March, the Delray Beach Marriott (www.marriottdelraybeach.com) unveiled its Villas by the Sea. On the corner of A1A and Atlantic Avenue, the villas are comprised of eight ocean view or garden view cottages surrounding a private pool.
The one-, two- and three-bedroom villas offer guests privacy, with features such as private check-in, an exclusive pool and Jacuzzi and personal concierge services. Other amenities include kitchenettes with premium appliances, grocery shopping service, luxury linens and bathrobes, complimentary breakfast basket delivered to the room each morning, spacious living rooms, large verandas and personalized welcome gift upon arrival.
The Delray Beach Marriott and its Villas by the Sea are owned and operated by Ocean Properties, Ltd. (www.oplhotels.com).
• A year ago, The Seagate Country Club unveiled a multimillion-dollar renovation of its 18-hole championship private golf course.
The Hamlet Golf Club was purchased and renamed The Seagate Country Club and renovated to create a golf facility to complement the Seagate Hotel & Spa (www.theseagatehotel.com) and the Seagate Beach Club. The club features a practice facility as well as PGA professionals available year-round for private lessons for hotel guests and members.
• The Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, (www.bocaresort.com) wrapped up a $30 million renovation of the historic Cloister building last fall. The 318-room Cloister, built in 1926, was the architectural masterpiece of Addison Mizner and featured his trademark Spanish Colonial/Mediterranean design.
The refashioned rooms have a contemporary décor with calming colors and neutral tones, but with a blend of colonial charm, according to London designer Fiona Thompson.
Other updates include adding enhanced Wi-Fi and a rebuild of the plumbing and electrical. Large bathrooms now come with rainfall showers.
• Delray Beach’s Wright by the Sea hotel (www.wbtsea.com), just south of Linton Boulevard, completed a renovation last year including new living and dining rooms and upgraded bedroom furniture in each room to make each stay more comfortable. A new walkway to the beach and outdoor umbrellas offer guests a good place to relax and enjoy the beach or pool.
• After being closed for five weeks, The Colony Hotel (www.thecolonypalmbeach.com) in Palm Beach reopened in October following a “re-imagining” by decorator Carleton Varney. While keeping the traditional British Colonial foundation, Varney gave the hotel, built in 1947, a happy, classy feeling.
Each of the 90 rooms and suites is different, put together with vivid upholstery, unique lamps and artwork, many by local artists. Rooms offer a palette of vibrant colors, floral patterns and bold contrasts, with high-tech amenities such as large, flat-screen, smart TVs and Bluetooth-enabled telephones with built-in chargers, plus slow-glow lights in the bathrooms, striped walk-in closets and Frette linens.
The $9 million renovation included a re-do of the hotel’s lobby and restaurant and a fresh coat of salmon paint on exterior walls.
• During the past year, The Four Seasons Resort (www.fourseasons.com/palmbeach) in Palm Beach opened Swell Boutiques, inspired by the shops on Worth Avenue, and another restaurant — Jove Kitchen & Bar, which offers a modern take on Italian cuisine.
Graze, the resort’s poolside breakfast and lunch restaurant began serving Sunday brunch.
• Last month, The Breakers Palm Beach (www.thebreakers.com) debuted a 6,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor seaside fitness facility, Ocean Fitness, in the Mediterranean-style Beach Club complex. Free to hotel guests, this amenity provides an array of resources to help folks reach their personal fitness goals.
More than twice as large as the resort’s previous rendition within the Spa, Ocean Fitness encompasses 4,300 square feet of air-conditioned interior space, a 1,700-square-foot oceanfront terrace featuring treadmills and classes for outdoor workouts, including spin classes, and 10-foot-tall windows showcasing ocean vistas.
• The Colony Hotel & Cabana Club (www.colonyflorida.com) in Delray Beach added two pools in 2014. The larger one, 25 meters, and the plunge pool will be cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. The project includes hand painted tiles by a local artist around the edge of the pool, pavers made with recycled glass and Florida shells, additional couches for lounging, a real clamshell fountain, lots of palms and native plants.