The rooms are, let´s say, intimate, and the plumbing has a clunky, antique, pre-war look, but the Colony has ambiance in spades. The buttery yellow building with burgundy trim almost demands that passersby on Atlantic Avenue step in for a look around. Have a house-specialty Bloody Mary on the shady front porch as a ceiling fan turns lazily and you view the passing crowd. (The redhead in the cool white linen top and slacks over in the corner -- could that be a Rita Hayworth apparition?) Then chill out for a few moments in the rattan-furnished lobby, or wander into one of the vividly painted meeting rooms, where bougainvillea-pink walls and an aquamarine ceiling can put anyone in a party mood. Guest rooms may be small, in the 1920s style, but they´re damn comfortable, looking more like a guest room in somebody´s well-kept old house than a hotel. The dresser is mahogany, floors are the original polished Dade County pine, the beds are covered in soft bedspreads and comforters, and the watercolors on the walls are originals. The walls of the bathrooms are white ceramic tile, and the shower and the pedestal sink, lovingly preserved, work as well as they did when the place was built in 1926. You could say the Colony´s beach club, a couple of miles away, is inconveniently located, but it has the same Jazz Age elegance as the hotel, along with a footstep-shaped saltwater swimming pool. And unlike the beachfront hotels in town, the Colony is right in the midst of Delray Beach´s bubbling dining and nightlife scene. Rates range from $75 off season to $245 for a suite in season.

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