Known affectionately as the Pink Paradise for its pink-hued exterior and subtropical setting, The Colony in Palm Beach is among three finalists hoping to win an esteemed annual county tourism award.
A committee of county tourism-industry professionals selected the finalists for the Providencia Award, which recognizes an extraordinary contribution to the county’s success as a tourist destination.
The other finalists are PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Palm Beach & Treasure Coast Chapter.
“The Colony Hotel is deserving of the Providencia Award because we embody the spirit and ethos of Palm Beach,” the hotel’s president and CEO Sarah Wetenhall told the Daily News on Wednesday.
The 89-room boutique hotel, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, holds “a unique position in the hearts and minds of our community,” noted Wetenhall, who owns The Colony with her family.
“We are a business completely rooted in Palm Beach — multigenerational and wholly owned and staffed from within the county. I do not think there is another entity doing as much … to elevate and promote Palm Beach County nationally and throughout the world.”
The winner of the 31st annual Providencia Award will be announced May 12 at an event at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.
But first, the final phase in choosing a winner must be completed, and that involves online voting by the public.
Discover The Palm Beaches, the award’s sponsor and the county’s official tourism marketing agency, has opened an online voting portal (www.thepalmbeaches.com/providencia-award) where members of the public can cast votes for the finalists through April 28.
The finalist who receives the most votes wins, according to Discover The Palm Beaches officials.
At the portal, short videos can be viewed about how each of the finalists have contributed to the growth of the local tourism industry through marketing, events, social media and other initiatives.
In The Colony’s video, Wetenhall explains how the hotel’s “iconic décor”— enhanced most recently with the 2022 redesign of all guest rooms — is “globally synonymous” with the “glamour” of Palm Beach.
More than 40 events at the hotel in 2022 supported local nonprofits, Wetenhall says in the video.
She notes that in 2022, The Colony welcomed more than 150,000 overnight guests — 90% of them from out of state— and more than 70,000 “out of region” visitors dined at the hotel’s Swifty’s restaurant.
In addition to capturing significant worldwide media exposure, Wetenhall explains in the video that The Colony’s Instagram page in 2022 had 101,000 subscribed followers — 70% of them from out of state.
The “small but mighty” hotel has “the single-strongest hospitality brand message” in the county, driving guests to the hotel and “the dream of Palm Beach,” she notes.
Tourism is an indispensable component of Palm Beach County’s economy and supports “a great number of people and businesses,” Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, said,
“The Providencia Award is our way of celebrating those outstanding entities and individuals who greatly contribute to our local tourism efforts,” he said in a prepared statement.
Votes cast on the online portal for this year’s award finalists “helps us recognize the hard work and service of these community members to our tourism industry,” he said.
The Providencia Award is named for the cargo ship Providencia that ran aground off the shores of current-day Palm Beach in 1878.
The crew and cargo of 20,000 coconuts were rescued by local pioneer families, who planted the coconuts, resulting in the palm tree-filled landscape that inspired the town’s name.