Review: The Ben Hotel West Palm Beach (Marriott Autograph Collection)

Filed Under: Hotel Reviews, Marriott

A bit over a week ago I stayed at The Ben, a brand new Marriott Autograph Collection property in West Palm Beach, Florida. For those of you not familiar with Autograph Collection, it’s supposed to be Marriott’s collection of luxury, independent hotels.

I’ve been really excited about this hotel opening because my mother in law lives in West Palm Beach, but her building isn’t dog friendly, while The Ben is extremely dog friendly.

Typically when Ford and I go to visit his mom we just go for the day, but this is a great new option since it’s somewhere near her place that we can stay with our dog, Winston.

Redeeming Points At The Ben West Palm Beach

We booked The Ben day of arrival. Our plan was to drive up for the day on Saturday to see Ford’s mom, and she mentioned to us that the Marriott property near her had opened. I figured it would be a fun review.

For the night we were looking it was bookable for either 40,000 Bonvoy points or $417++.

Given that I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, redeeming points was definitely the best value.

For what it’s worth, this is a Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy property, so a free night costs either 30,000 points off-peak, 35,000 points standard, or 40,000 points peak.

When it comes to redeeming for stays here:

The Ben Autograph Collection Review

Before I get into the review as such, this is a reminder that I’ve already written extensively about the issues I had at this property. Before reading this post I recommend checking out these two posts:

I won’t at all be covering the above points in this review, because goodness knows I have enough to say about this place, and I don’t want to be too redundant. So check out those posts to see why I’m reviewing two different kinds of rooms, etc. 😉

The Ben Arrival, Check-In, And Lobby

Historically West Palm Beach wasn’t very nice, but it has gotten so much nicer (and more expensive) in recent years. The Ben is located on Flagler, near one of the bridges leading to Palm Beach.

We arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, and were promptly welcomed by the valet. We were informed that parking was $29, and it was an extra $15 if we wanted our car parked out front.

The Ben West Palm Beach exterior

The hotel has a nicely appointed and unique lobby. I’m not sure it’s necessarily very “Palm Beachy,” but I liked it. Reception was straight ahead inside the lobby and to the left.


The Ben West Palm Beach lobby

Then inside the entrance and to the right was some lobby seating, right in front the hotel’s signature restaurant.


The Ben West Palm Beach lobby seating


The Ben West Palm Beach lobby seating

There was some more seating inside the lobby and to the left.


The Ben West Palm Beach lobby seating

After our check-in process (and changing rooms a first time), we headed up to our king water view room. The elevator were just across from reception. The hotel has a total of eight floors, with the top floor being the rooftop and not having any rooms.


The Ben West Palm Beach lobby elevators

The Ben King Water View Room

Our first water view room was on the second floor. Not only is The Ben dog friendly (a policy to which Winston gives two paws up), but in some ways it’s almost dog themed, like the big dog statute just outside the elevators on each floor.

The Ben West Palm Beach hallway


The Ben West Palm Beach hallway

We were first assigned room 237, a water view room. The room was a decent size and beautifully appointed. Inside the entrance was the bathroom to the right.


The Ben king water view room entryway

The room featured a king size bed (the beds here are really comfortable, in terms of the mattress, pillow, and bedding), a chaise by the window, a table with a chair in another corner, and a desk along the wall. For a standard-size room, that’s more seating options than you’ll usually find!


The Ben king water view room


The Ben king water view room


The Ben king water view room seating


The Ben king water view room table


The Ben king water view room desk

Near the bathroom was the Nespresso coffee machine as well as the minibar.


The Ben king water view room coffee machine


The Ben king water view room minibar


The Ben king water view room minibar

The bathroom featured a sink with vanity, toilet, and walk-in shower.


The Ben king water view room bathroom


The Ben king water view room shower

Toiletries were from Ortigia, which I hadn’t heard of before, but which I thought was pretty decent.


The Ben king water view room toiletries

The room also had a balcony with two chairs.


The Ben king water view room balcony

The one disappointment of this room was that this is what they’re calling a “water view” room. Fortunately we were only upgraded to this, but I would be annoyed if I paid extra for a water view room and got this…


The Ben king “water view” room


The Ben king “water view” room

On the plus side, Winston liked the room…

Winston likes the room!

The Ben Crusoe Junior Suite

After about an hour in the room we got moved to a junior suite (again, see the post above for all the details), and this time we were put in room 611.

The junior suite was lovely — it consisted of one room, but was actually quite large. Inside the entrance was the living area, with an L-shaped couch and swing seat, then further into the room was a king size bed and a table with two chairs.


The Ben junior suite


The Ben junior suite living area


The Ben junior suite


The Ben junior suite sitting area


The Ben junior suite minibar

While this room didn’t have a balcony, it did have what I’d consider to be a very nice water view.

The Ben junior suite view

Even though this was a suite, the bathroom wasn’t much bigger and also had a single sink and vanity (Winston wanted to say hi), walk-in shower, and partitioned off toilet.


The Ben junior suite bathroom


The Ben junior suite shower


The Ben junior suite toilet

The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant (Breakfast)

The hotel’s signature restaurant is Proper Grit, which is off the lobby and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s described as a “Florida Chophouse,” though we just had breakfast here, and breakfast at hotels only varies so much.

I loved the design of the restaurant as such — they had regular dining tables along the center of the restaurant, an outdoor bar area, and some couches and other seating arrangements along the side of the restaurant.

The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant West Palm Beach


The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant West Palm Beach


The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant West Palm Beach


The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant West Palm Beach

The breakfast menu read as follows:

Full disclosure — I still have no clue what the Bonvoy Platinum and above breakfast benefit is here. The front desk didn’t really know, they said just order what we want and they would figure it out later, so that’s what we did. Clearly they’re still figuring that out.

I had the “Pioneer Breakfast,” with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, toast, and fruit.


The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant breakfast

Ford had an omelet with breakfast potatoes.


The Ben Proper Grit Restaurant breakfast

The food and coffee were both great.

The Ben Rooftop Pool, And Spruzzo Restaurant & Bar

On the eighth floor of The Ben is the rooftop pool, and that’s also where Spruzzo is located, which is the rooftop bar and restaurant.

The Ben Spruzzo

We didn’t eat or drink anything here, though I stopped by once in the afternoon just to look, and it was packed, presumably mostly with locals. Then I came back the next morning to get pictures.

In addition to there being a pool, there’s tons of seating — I’d say about half of the rooftop consists of tables, and then for the other half you have the pool and plenty of seating around it.


The Ben Spruzzo rooftop bar


The Ben Spruzzo rooftop bar

The Ben rooftop pool


The Ben rooftop pool


The Ben rooftop bar


The Ben rooftop bar


The Ben rooftop bar

They did a great job with this space, and in particular it’s nice to have this kind of a view from a rooftop.


The Ben rooftop view

The Ben Room Service Menu

The room service menu came in the form of a newspaper, with an explanation of the facilities of the hotel, and it read as follows:

I thought it was adorable that they had a dog menu on the room service menu:

Winston begged for the fur baby filet mignon, but Ford wouldn’t let me order it for him. Oh well.

Winston begging to have something from the dog menu

The Ben Gym & Bikes

While The Ben doesn’t have a spa, it does have a gym on the first floor, immediately behind reception and to the right. The gym was a good size and had lots of equipment, and even a Peloton, for those of you who are into that.

The Ben gym


The Ben gym


The Ben gym


The Ben gym

The hotel also has bikes you can borrow, should you want to bike around the area.

The Ben bikes

The Ben Service

Check-in experience aside, everyone at the hotel was exceptionally friendly and clearly very enthusiastic about working at this hotel.

In fairness, we didn’t interact with that many people, but the valets were friendly, service in the breakfast restaurant was excellent, and employees were just generally enthusiastic.

The Ben Autograph Collection Bottom Line

The Ben is a great new option to have in West Palm Beach. Historically there haven’t been any nice properties in West Palm Beach, so it’s nice to have a pet friendly option for those who want to be in that area.

The hotel has nicely appointed guest rooms, a good restaurant, and a very cool rooftop pool and bar.

As much as my specific stay was a mess, I hope that this is mostly a function of it being a new hotel (and in terms of upgrades, a function of it being a Marriott). The reality is that we’ll certainly be back here, given that it’s a pet friendly hotel near my mother in law, and that’s enough reason to choose this place.

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Comments
  1. I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Place in downtown West Palm Beach in the end of 2017 which is really close to Mar-a-lago and my visit coincided with the Presidents, which led to an eventful atmosphere. Gotta love seeing those coast guard ships scattered everywhere!

  2. Still astounds me that people think its okay to charge $7 for a croissant! That breakfast menu is obscenely priced.

    Hotel itself looks nice, shame about the staff experience (which wholeheartedly should see you get all your points back…)

  3. @speedski: Still astounds me that people think it is okay to eat breakfast at a hotel. Seriously, if you are on a business trip and have to time to go out I get it but in a weekend I would look for a local coffee shop, patisserie and have a much better food than what is served at the hotel for a fraction of the price. Maybe it is just me but….

  4. Have you tried the West Palm Beach Hilton before? That hotel is right in downtown and still fairly new. West Palm and Palm Beach have expanded a lot over the years. Would love to see a review of the Breakers Palm Beach and how to maximize FHR benefits with it

  5. Do people really pay $19 for a Wagyu burger (yeah, sure. totally confident it’s authentic Wagyu) they are going to feed to their dog? Jeez.

  6. West Palm Beach, not Palm Beach proper? Ugh, how dreadful.

    Just kidding, the hotel looks good, hopefully management can work out the kinks at check-in and sending staff to rooms without warning the guests first.

    @Santastico @speedski

    There are some hotels with good restaurants, even with a good breakfast. I suppose the trick is to try and see if the place attracts locals or if it’s just guests eating there.

  7. Wow Lucky, I thought this was the one of the most comprehensive blogs out there, but I guess I’m gonna have to go elsewhere to get my reviews of expensive room service meals for dogs

    (/sarcasm … just in case)

  8. That photo of Winston begging had me in stitches. (My cat is furiously licking his whiskers at that menu, btw.)

    @DougG $19 for a fake wagyu patty is FAR from the craziest thing I’ve seen humans do for their pet masters.

  9. Nice property report and as a former longtime PB and PBG resident your correct more hotels like this are solely needed, I use to dock at that marina for years.

  10. The best part of this review was Winston. Thank you for this generous addition. Please share more Winston photos in the future. He can help you review the room service selections!

  11. Nice looking hard product

    Too bad it’s only a matter of time until they create a “Bonv*y Platinum breakfast” on the menu that’s a coffee and croissant

  12. Looks like a beautiful hotel, but sounds like they need to get everything in order service-wise. The Ortigia bath products are fantastic. Only other place I’ve seen them is in Italy.

  13. I would argue that Winston is much better looking than those other pint sized (TP..) dogs we see a lot. I’m thinking he might be a bit spoiled…..

  14. There needs to be more Winston in your reviews! Such a happy and cute dog, you can clearly see he is loved and taken good care of

  15. Let me guess . . . the dog is also a service animal, right?

    Why can’t people leave their pets at home?

    Geez.

  16. Lucky, what do you typically do when the Bonvoy Platinum breakfast credit is not well defined or enforced?

    In the last two months my wife and I have stayed at properties where we were flat out denied “there is no breakfast perk” (in a place with a breakfast cafe) to major confusion “You get a breakfast perk – it’s a $40 credit for one person only (buffet was $35 pp)” then told “No it’s free breakfast for everyone in the room” then “No it’s a $40 credit pp.” No one could give us a straight answer the entire stay.

    As guests what should we do?

  17. @Dog Gone – I’m in the same boat but you can’t fault Ben for them allowing it. There are many people who are extremely allergic to pet dander. There is no way a hotel can remove it for the next guest. It’s ridiculous to offer it. It’s a dog. Leave it in a kennel.

  18. It’s so rare to have a window and natural light in a hotel bathroom. I love it. So that alone would be my top choice in WPB. Nice looking property.

  19. Could you please include how much the pet feed are …like $75.00 per night or per stay?
    It would be really helpful. Thank you

  20. I must have missed something or wasn’t paying attention, but $417 before tax? For one night? It looks like nice enough a property but seriously?

  21. I agree with @Mine. The price and what the pictures show arent lining up.

    I wish your review took price more into account. What makes this hotel worth $417 when you could probably find something identical for $150 within 2 miles?

  22. Try Brazilian Court on the island. Very quaint and lush with greenery. Staff is exceptional in my experiences, but it can be pricey All around, but especially for food and drinks as it’s restaurant is Cafe Boulud. Very intimate setting, nice spa and secluded pool. I personally think a great place for date night or a staycation. Rooms are nice as well. Few minute walk to the beach or Worth Ave. I have seen rates at over 1,200 per night and as low as 199on time of year. Member of FHR as well. Peaceful and Beautiful. Especially a cocktail in their main courtyard and nice fountain with comfy furniture.

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