Venus Williams’s Design Firm Completely Reimagined the PGA National Resort Spa in South Florida

The 40,000-square-foot space is equal parts serene and glamorous
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Photo: Nicholas Mele

The only thing as exciting as a new hotel opening is an old hotel undergoing a big renovation, and Palm Beach Gardens’ PGA National Resort, which Venus Williams and her firm V Starr just helped redesign, is proof. Having opened in 1981, the 369-room hotel was long overdue for a facelift, and $100 million and a celebrity interior designer later, the big reveal—which happened on May 13—was astounding in the best way. Though the resort enlisted different architects and designers for each of the sprawling hotel’s several spaces, all of the design experts are locally based, including the firm assigned to the 40,000-square-foot spa. V Starr, owned and operated by seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Venus Williams, completely reimagined the glimmering new spa to reflect the nearby breeze swept sandy beaches.

One of the lounge areas is swathed in a neutral palette and organic materials. 

Photo: Will Pryce

Williams notes, “The inspiration for the spa came directly from its surroundings. The white tile was inspired by our soft, sandy beaches, while the champagne gold ceiling nods to the splinters of sunlight that shine through palm trees. There are many coral and soft pink tones throughout the spa that are accented by greens and tropical prints to reflect the lush, South Floridian lifestyle.” 

The cues it takes from the oceanfront city aren’t entirely obvious: There are no blue-and-white stripes, dried coral accessories, or seashells in sight. In fact, the palette of muted gold, washed woods, and creamy shades of white reads more glamorous than it does coastal. Williams’s subtle nods to warm-weather living take form in accented palm prints, a domed entry space, and tiled floors that look like they’re made of pillowy white sand at first glance.

The common material that runs through the whole of the spa is the sparkling champagne-hued details, references to the typical Florida splinters of sunlight that pierce the tree canopies twice daily. “To enhance this already amazing and historic resort, we’ve designed a spa that balances warmth, playfulness, and sophistication,” Williams says. With several projects under her belt, the tennis star—who established her firm in 2002—prides herself on the timelessness of her spaces. The spa, though huge, is quite simple in its aesthetic. For starters, the whole space is swathed in a warm neutral palette and is essentially devoid of color, save for a few gentle coral and green accents here and there.

In the lobby, guests are greeted with a gold-lined domed ceiling and gleaming metallic wall. Subtly was top of mind for V Starr, but they managed to infuse the space with a little glamour. 

Photo: Will Pryce

In the wet area, fine and warm coral moments spill over into the relaxation space, which includes a new co-ed lounge. Large blush stone slabs imported from Turkey act as a grounding element throughout the spa. The exterior pool deck contains three renovated pools that maintain the same color palette of soft pink tones with tropical prints that ground the green elements throughout. The quiet look of the spa lends itself to the unique treatments on offer, including cranial-sacral therapy (a slow-touch treatment that stimulates the nervous system and muscles to return to a more relaxed state), reiki treatments, and an 80-minute salt stone treatment using binaural beat meditations.

In the salon, V Starr kept things simple with neutral floors, walls, and seating. They used the sheer curtains as an excuse to throw in a pop of color. 

Photo: Will Pryce

As for her role in the transformation of the space, Williams says, “I don’t believe I ever really transitioned into  design because I think it was always within me. I was at a great place in my tennis career, but my mom has always encouraged me to explore my creative side, and I had a passion for design, so I pursued an education in it and launched V Starr.” And this spacious spa in South Florida is hardly where Williams will call it quits. In fact, V Starr has a lot on the design docket: A multi-family housing project in Harlem and two hotel projects in Palm Beach and Puerto Rico. She may have a lot on her plate, but at least Williams and the V Starr team have a serene and impeccably decorated place to relax at the end of a hard day.