Oetker Collection just announced it will open its first U.S. hotel next year in Palm Beach, Florida.
This week, luxury hospitality brand Oetker Collection, known for hotels like Le Bristol Paris and Eden Rock - St. Barths, announced its first-ever U.S. project.
Set to open in Palm Beach, Florida, in late 2023, The Vineta Hotel will be the 12th Oetker Collection “masterpiece,” as the brand calls each property. The Vineta, a pink-façaded hotel that dates back to the 1920s, is just off the bustling, boutique-lined Worth Avenue. While it was most recently operated as The Chesterfield hotel (part of Red Carnation Hotels) for 25 years, the landmarked building was actually called The Vineta for nearly half its life, from the late 1920s to the '70s.
Expanding to the U.S. has long been a goal for the German-born, French-bred hotel brand. CEO Timo Gruenert has been scouting locations since 2009 and says that, in Palm Beach, Oetker Collection found its "perfect match.”
“We like places that are so full of richness and heritage and are frankly well-established destinations for luxury travel, and then getting in there and doing things just a little differently,” Gruenert told Travel + Leisure over Zoom.
The brand is also committed to following its clients to the destinations they find most exciting (further proof: Oetker's first opening of 2023 will be in Capri, Italy, another favorite luxury hot spot). Gruenert says his team confidentially consulted their most loyal Oetker guests, about 50% of whom are from the U.S., and there was a lot of excitement around Palm Beach specifically.
There’s no denying that Palm Beach is booming right now, drawing in crowds with a "dramatic increase in luxury brands" since 2020, as T+L reported earlier this year. The same T+L article pointed to the influx of New York City restaurants (from Sant Ambroeus to Le Bilboquet) and that "547,000 people exchanged out-of-state driver's licenses for ones with Florida addresses" in 2021. Oetker isn't the only hospitality group to pick up on this trend; There will be 17 new hotel projects opening by 2025 in greater Palm Beach, and two area icons, The Breakers and The Colony Palm Beach, are currently investing in major renovations to keep up with the competition.
As for how much Oetker Collection and its investment partner, the Reuben Brothers, will put into revamping The Vineta, it’s too early in the process to tell, according to Gruenert. “Obviously, it’s a protected building, so there is little you can do to the outside, but a lot you can do with the inside," he said. One of the crucial changes the brand will make is reducing the room count to 41 (down from 53) to offer guests more space and a higher level of service.
Oetker is already working with Paris-based designer Tino Zervudachi of Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudachi to reimagine The Vineta. Zervudachi primarily designs lavish private residences, which is not a-typical in the world of hotel design, but works particularly well for the Oetker ethos. “It makes a difference when you think more of creating a home rather than a hotel," Gruenert said. “Our hotels are comparable to a private home of an affluent family — in the Hamptons, in Paris, or in London. You expect handpicked pieces of furniture, handpicked pieces of art. That’s the approach we'll follow here as well.”
Zervudachi will transform The Vineta's once uber-trendy Leopard Lounge into a gorgeous restaurant (think: martini power lunches by day, vibey date-night dinners by night). There will also be a chic courtyard where visitors can dine outside, a sleek, intimate bar, and a pool area with another restaurant.
"We are working on a color palette featuring green and white that will work for day time in the areas such as the brasserie adjacent to the swimming pool garden and the enhanced courtyard," Zervudachi said via email. "And for the interior spaces, such as the stylish new bar, we will be using blues and terracottas.”
In designing the hotel interiors, Zervudachi is developing a "design language for the hotel that will be unmistakably 'Palm Beach.'" He says the rooms will feel"fresh, sharp, and luxurious with a palette of pastel prints and elegant crisp detailing enhancing the high ceilings, with special attention paid to spacious, well-lit, and comfortable bathrooms."
The hope is for the new hotel, coming toward the end of 2023, to marry the elegance of Oetker's European hotels with the laid-back Palm Beach atmosphere. "That’s the balance we'll try to achieve,” Gruenert said.
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