Whimsical Waterfront - A Sneak Peek at West Palm Beach's Newest Hotel

Story by Alexandra Clough, Palm Beach Post

Here's what's planned for West Palm Beach's newest hotel, the only boutique waterfront hotel in the city:

  • A rooftop ballroom and bar, with views of the water, the Palm Harbor Marina and Palm Beach.
  • Room robes for guests and the canine friends who may accompany them.
  • Selected hotel rooms featuring a faux bookcase, which slides to reveal a secret window and ... into the shower.

These are among the touches that are being planned for The Ben, being built at a mixed-use project called Flagler Banyan Square at Flagler Drive and Banyan Boulevard.

The project, whose master developer is Navarro Lowrey Inc., also features a 251-unit apartment dubbed the Oversea, by Woodfield Investment Partners; a park; and a separate building along Flagler Drive with upstairs office space and a downstairs Italian restaurant by Big Time Restaurant Group, parent of Louie Bossi's and Elisabetta's eateries.

The Ben is an eight-story, 208-room hotel at 251 N. Narcissus Ave being developed and operated by Concord Hospitality. It will be part of Marriott's Autograph Collection brand, which allows properties to take on the flavor of the local environment.

In this case, the style is elegance, history - and a whole lot of whimsy.

Plans are to open in January 2020. Even so, although the property already is being toured and booked for weddings, group events and corporate gatherings into 2021, said Thom Stewart, The Ben's director of sales and marketing. Those events are set to start taking place in February.

In fact, The Ben's events business is so busy that the hotel already has hired a director of catering, Stewart said.

But The Ben isn't just for out-of-town visitors or groups, said Bernardo Neto, hotel general manager. "We want to become a playground for locals, too, so they can come experience this West Palm Beach (property), with the Palm Beach vibes," Neto said.

On a hot but breezy summer morning, Neto and Stewart gave a hard-hat tour of the property, showing why The Ben suddenly is the new "it" property in town.

It all starts with upstairs.

Indoor and outdoor spaces feature soaring views of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Flagler Memorial Bridge, a straight-on view of the Biltmore condominium on Palm Beach and in between, boats along the water. The property's northern windows offer views of Singer Island.

The rooftop deck featuring a lounge dubbed Spruzzo (Italian for splash), which has the hotel's signature circle bar, planned cabanas and the pool. Near the firepit will be family-style seating.

Adjacent to Spruzzo is the Blue Heron Ballroom, which also features water views and can accommodate 250 guests for a sit-down dinner.

An exterior elevator is being built to whisk guests and visitors to the rooftop without ever having to enter the hotel lobby.

Downstairs, the lobby and common areas are being designed to feel like an elegant residence, with rich furniture and area rugs. It's a nod to Byrd and Fred Dewey, a pioneer West Palm Beach family whose home was near the site of what is now the Rapallo condominium at 1701 S. Flagler Drive.

The Dewey house was dubbed Ben Trovato, which in Italian means roughly, "even if it isn't true, it is very well invented."

Hotel developer Concord Hospitality took the historic theme of the Dewey family, and went with it.

Read the rest of the Palm Beach Post story at this link.