The late Dorothy Draper, one of America’s best known and revered decorators, would have been delighted to see the spirit of her design aesthetic come alive in the $9 million renovation of The Colony, a boutique hotel on Palm Beach.
Carleton Varney, her protégé who has carried on Draper’s legacy as president/owner of Dorothy Draper & Co., and Brinsley Matthews, director of design and operations, transformed the outdated and somewhat tired décor into a masterpiece of color and classic style. They incorporated 20 paint colors from the Dorothy Draper Collection and 285 fabrics and combinations of fabrics that reflect the Palm Beach palette.
The redesign, which included painting the exterior in Wolcott Salmon, Draper’s favorite color, was unveiled recently at an event for 400 Palm Beach social leaders, hotel regulars and media.
Varney, who says he has loved The Colony for years, calls it “the most iconic of all hotels in Palm Beach.” His firm also redesigned The Breakers and The Brazilian Court on the island, The Greenbrier in West Virginia and The Plaza in New York City.
“You cannot go back to yesterday,” Varney says. “We wanted to enhance and continue the classic tradition of The Colony by celebrating the glamour and charm of yesterday while integrating the high-tech conveniences of tomorrow.”
Those conveniences include flat-screen TVs, Bluetooth-enabled telephones with built-in chargers, WiFi and slow-glow lights in the renovated bathrooms. Varney succeeded in keeping the best of tradition with the updates and a colorful flair.
—Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
The Colony Hotel, 155 Hammon Ave., Palm Beach, 561-655-5430, TheColonyPalmBeach.com.