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?

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6 years ago

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! 😉

6 years ago

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!

6 years ago

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… Read more »

Kath Barry
Kath Barry
6 years ago

Love inspiration from beautiful hotels—–
Thanks for sharing

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
6 years ago

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, Kristie! I am tucking your advice away for when I order any furniture—the Sunbrella fabrics are amazingly pretty and who could guess they’re… Read more »

6 years ago

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!

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