The Perfect Ambiance for Romantic Weddings
Perched at the foot of the Camelback Mountains is a secluded Spanish style villa that was built in 1929 by successful industrialist and financier, Delos Willard Cooke for his wife, Florence, to escape the New York winters. They named their 3,500-square-foot winter haven El Vernadero. It sat on 65 acres and took three years to build, including a heart-shaped pool. Palm trees and beautiful vegetation were brought in from other countries for the entry, courtyards and gardens.
Cooke and his wife traveled extensively and would bring back items to remind them of their trips; many are still displayed on the property. There are the original tiles which have the different providences in Spain strategically placed in the walls of the beautiful arched walkway around the courtyard. Wood beams made from railroad tracks are visible, reflecting Cooke’s career as vice president of Erie. And, the original stone fireplaces definitely enhance the charm of this magnificent resort.
It wasn’t until 1948, almost 20 years later, when the new owners added 15 casitas, that El Vernadero was converted into a small hotel and the name changed to The Royal Palms Inn. Although it has changed ownership a number of times through the years, it has always kept the grandeur of a remarkable resort. Today, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa has 119 rooms, including the casitas with private patios, six meeting rooms, an award-winning restaurant, a fitness center and a full service spa.
There’s something magical about the romantic ambiance of this property. Once you enter, it’s as though you’ve been transported to a Spanish town. The lush landscape, Spanish architecture, tiled fountains and inlaid tile add to the charm. And the designer casitas take it to a level that is hard to surpass. With so much history, it puts the resort into a category of its own. Mark Lindsey, director of sales and marketing, sums it up simply.
“Royal Palms Resort and Spa is the most romantic resort in America,” he says.
Perfect for Weddings
With multiple, picturesque gardens and lawns, it would be hard for a couple getting married not to fall in love with the grounds. Three locations are available that will accommodate wedding guests based on the number attending. Small, intimate ceremonies can be held in Jardin di’Amore, The Garden of Love. For weddings with fewer than 121 guests, the ceremony is held in the private Alegria Gardens. The area is like a secret garden as there is a closed gate which separates it from the rest of the resort. And, for a larger wedding, guests will be seated on the Vernadero Lawn which is surrounded by the resort’s beautiful ambiance.
The reception and dinner packages also vary by the number of guests. Intimate weddings under 40 are held in the Cervantes Lounge for the reception, one the rooms from the originally built home, and serve dinner in the Cervantes Salon. Another location to consider for a small wedding is the Orange Grove, as it’s an ideal setting for a Farmer's Table dinner with tables nestled among the historic orange groves. The Palmera Lounge and Palmera Salon are located near the Vernadero Lawn and can accommodate guests under 121. Larger wedding receptions are held on the Estrella Patio with dinner served in the Estrella Salon.
Included in the wedding packages is a personal “Shadow” who will assist the wedding couple with whatever they may need – getting beverages, food and anything else. A wedding cake of their choice, bar service and a champagne toast are also included. The ceremony packages include a microphone and sound equipment for the officiate, a personal greeter to direct guests and answer questions, ice water service and a casita for the bride and groom’s wedding night.
Award Winning Restaurant
Wedding dinners are prepared with the same dedication and perfection as the meals served in T. Cook’s restaurant. From the delicious hors d’oeuvres served following the ceremony to the mouthwatering dinner entrees, vegetables and salads, wedding guests will enjoy the award-winning cuisine. In addition, scrumptious desserts and late night menus are available.
There is a catering manager who consults with the wedding couple and assists them with their menu selections, helps with the placement of tables for the guest’s seat assignments and handles various details leading up to the wedding day.
“My role is to relieve the stress throughout the planning process so the couple feels confident with their choices,” shares Emily Glenn, sales and catering manager.
The wedding couple can also customize certain items to reflect their tastes and personalities. The wedding cake can be personalized by choosing the flavors and fillings for each layer and decorated to their liking. Dinners can be plated, served buffet style or served at food stations. And, colored linens can be ordered to coordinate with the wedding’s theme. No detail is overlooked by the staff that is dedicated, knowledgeable and personable.
“Our grounds provide a truly extraordinary environment for the most extraordinary day of your life. Royal Palms has been celebrating romance since 1929 and our staff is passionate about continuing this legacy today,” states Erica Kline, marketing manager.
Once you visit the resort, whether for an event, a stay, dinner or a cocktail, I know that you will attest the resort has a signature, romantic ambiance all its own….providing the perfect wedding setting.