Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach Club Lounge: Modern Sensibility—and Monkeys—Highlight Revamped Private Space

By Beth Kormanik May 21, 2012, 3:14 PM EDT

The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach's new Club Lounge was designed by New York-based Eric Villency to reflect a new vision of the Palm Beach lifestyle.

Photo: Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach

Modern and sophisticated have replaced overstuffed and opulent at the redesigned Club Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. The room, a V.I.P. area on the sixth floor with ocean views, had been a mix of tapestries, florals, and Persian rugs and played into old images of Palm Beach. Now, the room presents a modern interpretation of mid-century Palm Beach style.

General manager Michael King said the design derived from a vision of the lifestyle and community that Palm Beach has become. “It has evolved over time,” he said. “It's taken on more of a sense of place. Now it's a different clientele with a different lifestyle. Thinking about this, we needed to evolve as a brand.”

The hotel tapped New York-based designer Eric Villency to oversee the seven-month process. “It was a very big project for the Ritz to take because the Ritz doesn't look like this,” Villency said.

It does now. Villency created a cocktail lounge vibe that features a tufted bar with vintage serving ware and custom wallpaper from textile designer Wook Kim that references the area's past. Kim found inspiration in the greens and blues of the landscape, as well as in famed South Florida resort architect Addison Mizner. Mizner famously had a pet monkey named Johnnie Brown, and in the panels, monkeys make drinks, sip cocktails, hold parasols, and have conversations with each other. A second wallpaper pattern, “Toile de Palm,” features historical Palm Beach vignettes.

During the day, the room's decor plays off of silvers and pale blues while the evening color scheme features a palette of gold, amber, and creams. The redesign also nearly doubled the room's capacity from 18 to 32 people.

The design also reflects the hotel's commitment to sustainability. Villency made the sofas and chairs of eco-friendly materials: soy foam instead of petroleum based foam and recycled steel. The wood was reclaimed from the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

While the design upends traditional notions of Palm Beach, King said it reflects a modern aesthetic that is becoming the standard.

“Our die-hard Ritz-Carlton repeat guests say, 'Hmmm...I love this,'” King said. “The new customers say, 'Hmmm...I expect this.'”

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