Hotel Design Lessons

I just returned from a vacation with my family in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Actually, the girls and I just tagged along for the ride – Mr. Man had official business there. We stayed at the Eau Palm Beach Hotel and Resort, which is just about as swanky as it gets.

eau palm beach hotel

Eau Palm Beach Hotel Lobby


As beautiful as this lobby is, it gets a lot of traffic and a lot of wet bathing suits are sitting on this stunning upholstery.  How do they manage?

hotel lobby design



Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the seats are covered in slightly different upholstery than the rest of the sofas and chairs.  The seat covers are made of a more water-durable material, while the rest of the piece is covered in a material that offers a bit more pattern and texture.  

eau palm beach hotel


This is such a great idea if you happen to have a pool, or even if you have pets or small children! Sunbrella and Crypton are both known for producing water- and stain-resistant fabrics that still feel great to the touch.  

seating vignette



I loved how the Eau Palm Beach used mirrors to reflect light and make you feel as if you had a view, even in areas with no windows.  Mirrored screens and large mirrored windows behind seating areas create the impression of “the best seat in the house.”

use of mirrors



I also noticed how they created distinct design impressions with tables and art on every landing area outside of elevators.




entry table



The exterior entrance boasted turquoise cabana stripes, ala Dorothy Draper.  I kinda just wanted to hang out there with the bellhops every evening, watching the comings and goings!

cabana stripes

Eau Palm Beach Hotel Entry



The hotel is beachfront, and this was the view from our room:

beachfront view



Our balcony was a great place to listen to the surf pounding the beach and people-watch.

kristie barnett, the decorologist



While we were there, a massive Indian wedding took place at the hotel. The groom wanted to arrive on an elephant, but city officials would only agree to a horse.  The Atlantic Ocean was stunning – with all my favorite blues and greens represented:


steps from the Atlantic Ocean



Beautiful can be dangerous – there were many Portuguese Man O’ War washed up on the beach the last several days we were there.  The pinks and purples in this to-be-avoided marine life were stunning.

portuguese man of war

Portuguese Man O’ War


Color inspiration abounds everywhere!  What did you do on Spring Break?


  1. Rhonda

    We live on the other side of Florida in Fort Myers, but my son goes to college in West Palm — some very lovely places there! Glad you enjoyed your vacation! We did our best to suffer through spring break here at home! 😉

    • Kristie Barnett

      Fort Myers is so beautiful – I spent a week there and on Captiva Island many years ago! What a dream to live in a southern coastal town 🙂

  2. Jill

    It’s so much fun to take in the decor at hotels and inns. Sometimes I find myself redesigning things in my mind as I go. Sounds like you enjoyed a great time in a truly beautiful space. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lex

    Looks like a perfect vacation, but seeing an elephant would been the icing on the cake. 😉 Brilliant on the hotel’s part to cover the seats in a more water and stain resistant fabric. I recently ordered a white fabric test swatch from Crypton fabric, and it came complete with a pack of ketchup, a yellow highlighter pen, their special cleaning solution and a toothbrush (confident, huh?). They did so to encourage trying all sorts of stains on the fabric – and I went right to it. I loaded that baby up with stains of all varieties, and cleaned it off super easily with their cleaning solution. But then I went back and did it 2, 3, 4 times more. It held up and cleaned up just as easily the 5th time as the first. Also, I did not note any water stains when the fabric dried in between cleaning. Is this too good to be true or what? Boy am I impressed. The overall feel of the fabric sample was like microfiber, very soft to the touch. Now I’m saving up to buy some livingroom furniture in a Crypton fabric and I won’t hesitate to order it in a light color if that’s what I want. Wow.

  4. Kath Barry

    Love inspiration from beautiful hotels—–
    Thanks for sharing

  5. Paula Van Hoogen

    This is the neighborhood/area we raised our kids in for 25 years! That hotel used to be the Ritz Carlton, until Marriott purchased all the RC’S. Did you happen to go and see the spa? It is incredible. They say it was voted #1 spa in the world (?). It proclaims itself “A Self-Centered Spa”….. How ’bout that?
    The colors that they used on the walls are wonderful….however, so I really hope they showed it to you,
    I am tucking your advice away for when I order any furniture—the Sunbrella fabrics are amazingly pretty and who could guess they’re water/stain resistant!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Unfortunately, I did not see the spa 🙁 One look at the prices and it was pretty clear I wouldn’t be spending any time there. Oh well, the pool and beach suited me just fine!! It’s a beautiful place 🙂

  6. Beth

    Beautiful place. I love to absorb hotel design when I visit. But often I notice a terrible mixture of undertones, especially in the guest room bathrooms!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

paint color training course

Staging Certification

paint color training course

Color Certification

paint color training course

My Staging Book

paint color training course

Small Wall

paint color training course