May I Have This Dance?

The octagonal Ball Room had two levels. The first level- just up the stairs at the east end of the lobby, provided a hidden bar for the men - access could made by a secret corridor from the Mens toilet. Wags called it "Hypocrite's Row." More on that later.
Women met for tea and cakes across the hall in the Palm Room.

This is a very nice view of the Ball Room. The entrance is beneath the balcony/bandstand center. Note the electric lights trimming the ceiling. Today, worshipers at Memorial Presbyterian Church on Olive St. (West Palm Beach- a block north of the Norton Museum of Art) might be surprised to learn they are kneeling on this floor! The exterior of the church was built from bricks salvaged from the chimneys of the hotel after it was demolished. (Source: Palm Beach by Richard Marconi and Debi Murray.)

View of the Octagonal Ball Room from the southeast side of the hotel. Guest could step outside on the porch for a bit of privacy or fresh air.


Wish You Were Here

A rare view of the interior of the hotel. This is the Writing Room where guest can write letters and postcards to the folks back home.

The window to the right looks out over the piazza and Lake Worth. The "doorway" at the end of the room is actually a mirror. The camera is visible just outside the doorway (north end of the room.) A portion of a rotunda wall is visible behind the camera. Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Historical Society of Palm Beach County.)

Note the alligator motif of the flower vase! Click to enlarge.



What better image to send home to friends and family in the frozen North? The pier stood just at the south side of the Breakers and served as the area's first port.


Rooms With a View

The HRP as seen from the West Palm Beach docks at the turn of the century. Just out of sight at the far right is Flagler's Whitehall mansion. Midway between the north wing of the hotel (left) and the first flag is where the Slathouse stands today.
The north bridge, just out of view, was for trains only. It later opened to pedestrians and bicycle chairs. Passengers were carried from the little train station at the north end of the hotel to the main entrance by bicycle chair.


Send in your pictures!

There are no known pictures of the guestrooms of the Royal Poinciana Hotel. I'll be posting a number of photos of the public areas of the hotel but interior snapshots- the kind taken by the guests- are the Holy Grail.

Did your grandparents stay there? Share your pictures and ephemera and let's bring the Ponce back to life!

The Cocoanut Grove- Strike Up the Band!


 Northerners thrilled at the sight of magnificent palms of every kind covering the island. Here guests are enjoying tea and pastries in the Cocoanut Grove located on the southwest corner of the Ponce.

On the upper deck of the piazza, (top two photos) the hotel band serenades the guests with one of several daily concerts. Click to enlarge.