The Ben, The First Waterfront Hotel In
Downtown West Palm Beach
The Ben, Downtown West Palm Beach’s first waterfront hotel, has just opened its doors, and what you’ll find inside is nothing short of outstanding. Part of Autograph Collection’s diverse and dynamic portfolio of more than 180 independent hotels, the hotel was designed by Coral Gables architecture and interior design firm, EoA Group. A classic hotel for a new age, The Ben features a modern design aesthetic reflecting the spirit of the Ben Trovato Estate, a historical West Palm Beach home owned by Byrd Spilman Dewey, one of Florida’s most prolific authors of the pioneer era.
Dewey named her 1892 Victorian home Ben Trovato, which was derived from the Italian phrase “Se non è vero, è ben trovato,” which loosely translates to “Even if it isn’t true, it’s well-invented.” The home went on to put West Palm Beach on the cultural map as Dewey entertained luminaries from Henry Phipps Jr. to Woodrow Wilson and the Vanderbilts. Her love for entertaining and her whimsical interests and personal passions became the inspiration behind EoA’s design.
“We based our design on the heroic story of a writer living in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the Everglades in the late 1800s,” said Malcolm Berg, EoA Founder and Design Director. “We were fascinated by the duality of character and borderline surrealism. The collision of two completely different worlds coming together to create an environment fit for exploration was a very exciting concept for us.”
EoA recreated for guests what Dewey’s environment would look and feel like in today’s day and age in an unbound, whimsical, and sophisticated manner. The interiors of the 208-room hotel combine rich textures and earth tones accented with lush greenery evocative of the South Florida setting and climate that enchanted Dewey. The guestrooms feature eclectic elements, including sliding bookcases that reveal a window into the shower and mod iconic collage portraiture. In the lobby, a book display wall is arranged to resemble the silhouette of Dewey’s face.
Located just off the hotel’s main lobby is The Ben’s signature restaurant, Proper Grit. Here, EoA created a space that pays homage to Old Florida’s regal beginnings mixed with the warm, casual comforts of home. Oversize banquets line the restaurant’s west wall, and at the north end, a grand cocktail bar wraps around the building’s exterior. The center of the dining room is reserved for traditional seating, while the eastern side of the space brings together low sofas and lounge chairs. The restaurant also features a life-size gator head, which corroborates the concept of pioneer life in the Everglades.
Because no waterfront hotel would be complete without a rooftop bar, The Ben features Spruzzo, a stunning rooftop bar and lounge accessible via an express elevator directly from the ground floor. The elevator’s doors feature a portrait of Dewey. For Spruzzo’s design, EoA was inspired by the southern coast of Italy. The space features a woven canopy fabricated by Amazulu, a striking design element that can be seen from the ocean. Spruzzo’s 360-degree rooftop bar also includes high tops, lounge chairs, private poolside cabanas, and a fire pit.
Living up to its identity as Downtown West Palm’s social hub, The Ben features more than 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A unique glass-enclosed gallery dubbed ‘The Studio’, provides supplementary flex-space that serves as a blank canvas for the most innovative events to come to life. The hotel also boasts a sleek boardroom for formal meetings.
“We’re thrilled to introduce The Ben, an unmistakably original hotel that injects new energy into the traditionally classic city of West Palm Beach,” said Jennifer Connell, Vice President and Global Brand Leader, Autograph Collection Hotels. “The Ben reimagines classic South Florida lifestyle for today’s travelers by blending elements inspired by the city’s early days as an untamed tropical paradise with modern touches, making it a perfect fit for the Autograph Collection.”
EoA delivered a hotel that is rich in history and design and provides West Palm Beach a place for socialization, lively conversation, and enrichment, adding to the growing list of places to visit next time you’re in the Palm Beach area!