Name: Sarah Wetenhall, President & CEO of The Colony Palm Beach
Where did you grow up?
Originally a native of the Midwest, I spent my elementary years in Missouri which is also where both of my parents grew up. Soon thereafter we moved around quite a lot…from Ohio to Nashville, TN and Seattle, WA. I’m a nomad by nature having lived in more than six cities during the first twenty years of my life, and I think this penchant for constantly being on the move is what gives me my affinity for travel.
Town you live in now:
Currently we split our time between New York and Palm Beach. I’ve been visiting the island since the 1990’s when I first met my husband Andrew at Vanderbilt University. Since then, we have established an amazing group of friends that, together with all the fond memories we’ve made, make Palm Beach really feel like home!
Why you love living there:
My father-in-law owned The Colony from 1969 to the early 1990’s, so my husband grew up coming to Palm Beach and now we feel so grateful that we continue that tradition with our own children. For us, Palm Beach is the perfect escape. From the gorgeous weather to the beaches, it has the makings for a great vacation while still providing all the conveniences we enjoy in New York. Truly a hybrid, the island boasts world class dining, great shopping and time well-spent with friends and family in paradise.
Tell me about your kids:
I’m lucky to say I have 3 amazing kids. My eldest Drew is 10 and in the 4th grade. He’s an ice hockey goalie, loves to play tennis, golf, flag football and swim, but I’m proud to say he’s my ‘sensitive soul’. He is truly a kind and generous young man.
Amelia who’s 7, is my middle child and she is exactly that, a middle child. Now in the 1st grade, her interests lie more within the creative arts like drama, piano and reading – she reads a lot. An avid swimmer, Amelia is very much my wise and curious child, she’s always asking a lot of questions. Amelia never fails to surprise me with her insights and observations.
Then there’s the baby, Catherine Margaret but we call her Maggie. She just turned 4 and is in Pre-K. Maggie is my fearless child; she loves the spotlight and definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. Just like her older siblings she swims and plays the piano, but her favorite activity is gymnastics.
Favorite things to do with the kids locally:
Palm Beach is a refreshing change for my family when we visit from Manhattan. The kids love to hit the beach every chance they get, which is easy as it’s only a block from our home at The Colony. Most days we grab the hotel paddleboards and head to the Intracoastal for a family paddle. If we are not on the water, we’re most likely on the Lake Trail. I’d have to say that’s probably my kids favorite activity, since it allows them freedom to ride ahead without the congestion of the city or worry of traffic and cross streets. We can all just jump on our bikes and cruise.
What’s your ‘day job’? How did you get started with it?
As the President & CEO of The Colony Hotel, my hands are in a little bit of everything related to the hotel. After visiting The Colony for 20+ years it was always a far off dream that Andrew and I would own the property one day. In December of 2016 that dream came true. My background is in public relations and marketing where I worked for many major fashion houses including Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana. The experience I gained in the fashion industry helped hone my aesthetics gave me a strong sensibility for the luxury market.
What is your best parenting advice? Lay it on us.
Take time to really listen to your children. It’s important to keep not only your ears, but also your mind open when parenting. I find it very challenging to set aside my own experiences and personal bias’ from my past experiences and truly listen to what my children have to tell me. But I find when I filter out the noise, and really hear them, that’s when we have the most connected and meaningful conversations. I also make a concerted effort to ask dynamic follow-up questions to initiate a give and take between the two of us.
What do you do for self-care?
Working out! I’m not a natural runner and frankly I don’t even really like running, but one of my favorite things to do is get outside in New York City during the change of seasons and jog around the Central Park reservoir. I don’t know why, but there’s something about the light hitting the water that just speaks to me. I also regularly practice yoga and take Soul Cycle classes when I can (please, come back to Palm Beach!) One of the most important things I do, and think we all should do as women, is make time for our girlfriends.
Staying connected with my friends both in New York and Palm Beach in this busy world of working moms keeps me dialed in. I’m lucky to have such an amazing network of successful, hard working and inspiring ladies in my life. They keep me honest, and are my sounding board when need be.
Anything else you want to share?
We have a new addition to our family, Palmer Wetenhall. He is a 1-year-old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel that we named after the island. As we go back and forth from New York to Palm Beach, he is always in tow. Yay for pet friendly hotels like The Colony!