Pretty soon West Palm Beachers might ask you, "Have you been to the Ben?"
That's because a cool new Florida hotel -- the Ben West Palm -- is coming to the hot downtown area with an opening slated for Feb. 13.
The boutique hotel sits on Flagler Banyan Square, where City Hall used to be. The location gives the Ben bragging rights as downtown West Palm Beach's only waterfront hotel.
Taking advantage of that view, the Ben will have Spruzzo, the only water-facing rooftop lounge in the downtown area. Spruzzo will sit alongside the hotel's infinity pool and cabanas, and will have a fire pit as well as an express elevator to take patrons from the lobby directly to the eighth floor al fresco boîte.
"From up there you can see past the Breakers into the ocean," says Thom Stewart, the director of sales and marketing for the Ben, who has been giving hard-hat tours of the property since spring to organizations looking for a space to stage charity galas and corporate events.
"Anyone who goes to the top floor, they are sold," Stewart adds. "They are looking for something unique."
The Ben is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection and will have close to 8,000 square feet of event space and 208 guest rooms, of which about 60% will face the Palm Harbor Marina.
"This market has been very strong, all the counties of South Florida," explains Bernardo Neto, the Ben's general manager. "But West Palm Beach in particular has had big events and it needs an extra special hotel. Within blocks of the City Center you have great restaurants and state of the art events, the (Palm Beach International Boat Show) and SunFest.
"And even with all of that, the city has not had the kind of hotel like Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale already has. The variety of hotels and sampling of brands that a traveler will benefit from in other cities was never available here."
The guest room rates at the Ben start at $259 in season and $159 off-season. The hotel is now taking reservations for March.