Lifestyle Guru Colin Cowie on His New Sensorial Dining Experiences and Tips for Scaling Back Celebrations
As people continue to flock to Florida in the great migration of 2021, one fabulous transplant has been here a while, helping a historic hotel unveil two new dining concepts. As part of the Boca Raton Resort & Club’s ongoing historic renovation—the most extensive in its 95-year history—lifestyle guru Colin Cowie has put his stamp on two of the resort’s new eateries, Marisol and The Lounge. Here, the event planning impresario shares his vision for a chic, new era in dining and his tips for planning smaller events that are both safe and fabulous.
NewBeauty: How did you find yourself designing a restaurant?
Colin Cowie: I’ve been speaking with the Boca Raton Resort & Club about potentially doing something with them and then they shared the plans for me for the big monster change over, which really is the essence of their new era. Speaking in your terms, what they’re doing at the resort is not a filler, it’s not Botox, it’s not a lift—it’s a major facelift. They’re giving it a complete makeover from top to bottom. It’s incredible to see because they’ve got the best in breed in terms of design. For the restaurant and lounge, I came up with a couple of ideas and put my party planner’s hat on. I wanted it to be like a very wealthy person’s beach house.
NB: What does Colin Cowie’s version of a wealthy-person’s beach house look like?
CC: My palette was working with a lot of raw materials, a lot of natural materials, and as an accent color navy blue against the lighter cream, beige and white, and with beautiful soft finishes and accents. When you look at the furnishings, it really is like being in a living room. We’ve got multiple vignettes from different styles of furniture that all tell a beautiful story together. What I’m most proud about is how spectacular the patio turned out. I put in a beautiful camouflage roof with dappled lights coming through. It’s filled with wonderful robellini palm trees and beautiful teak furniture with black cushions. It’s a very sexy and very beautiful, whether it’s two people sitting out there for a sunset cocktail or a few friends having a full dinner, it’s the ideal environment to watch the best sunset in Florida.
NB: It seems like a good time to create your own paradise since a lot of traveling is on hold.
CC: Yes, I wanted this to be very Mediterranean and inspired by the beach clubs that I’ve been to in Mykonos, the Greek islands, in the South of France, the Italian Riviera, that’s where my inspiration came from. We also have a custom fragrance in the air, which is part of my unique design approach. I come up with a big picture and then bring it alive with what you smell, touch, taste, see and hear, and then that tells your story.
NewBeauty: How did you create this custom fragrance?
CC: I work with oils and I wanted to come up with a timeless fragrance that was clean, fresh, and a little seductive, something that you wanted more of. We worked through about 55 different fragrances, until we zeroed in on what we wanted, and we ended up with this particular fragrance which, which I’m mad about. Soon we’ll be selling the actual candle itself.
NB: You’ve been in the spotlight for decades, what’s your secret to staying youthful?
CC: I’m a positive, happy person. There are more laughter lines on my face than there are wrinkles. I’ve used the same skin products for 35 years. I use the Clarins Double Serum and a daytime moisturizer with 20 SPF. I use a night cream every single night. But the SPF is the most important, and I have to say I didn’t use any during my formative years because I spent all my time laying under the sun using olive oil on my face and lemon juice in my hair. I think we all did that.
NB: As the ultimate party planner, what is your advice for people who had to put their plans on hold and are planning a smaller celebration than they had originally hoped?
CC: First, you have to keep safety in mind. What are the rules in your area? Secondly, local economies need all the support that they can get. So, even if you wanted a destination wedding, you can find a wonderful country bed and breakfast in your own town. The hospitality businesses never needed more business than it does now. We’ve done a lot of smaller weddings recently; it doesn’t matter how many guests you have. I mean, the real reason why we’re there is the celebrate the soul and the spirit. Right now, every florist wants to work, every caterer wants to work, everybody wants to work today. So, the resources are all here, all within distance. I think we can do whatever we want. We don’t have to spend a fortune doing it, but we can do it meaningfully, tastefully, and we can keep it a layered in a lot of love—and we can shop locally.
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