Originally built in 1947, the staple motor court inn planted on 28 Sherry Drive has undergone a multitude of reincarnations throughout its lifetime. In its most current (and arguably coolest) form, the building is home to Hotel Palms - a neighborhood hub that’s mission expands far past renting rooms for sleeping.
In addition to giving out-of-towners a place to rest, Hotel Palms has played host to a range of incredible events like fashion shows, concerts and more. “Creating a gathering space was always the plan,” Stevan Brown, one of Hotel Palms’ owners, says. “We live in such an awesome community and feel super blessed we're able to put on so many local events with great partners. We are a hotel first and foremost, but the majority of our guests stay with us because they want that unlikely local experience and to me, that's what our events give - an experience you wouldn't have unless you were a local.”
Two of HP’s most current partners, Show Pigeon Coffee and Big Fish Co., have helped fuel the fire of creating this sense of locality. We chatted with owners Jamie Rice and Mary Lyn Jenkins respectively to get the scoop on their collaborations with Hotel Palms (plus more questions with Stevan Brown!) below. STEVAN BROWN OF HOTEL PALMS
Alongside her brother and sister-in-law, Stevan helps run Hotel Palms - she chatted more with us about the importance of community and the emphasis of the local lifestyle
Q: What do your lodgers think of the various events and services HP puts on? Do you find attendance to be a nice mix of locals and out-of-towners?
A: Our guests love Show Pigeon Coffee. It's continuously included in TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google reviews. We are mindful about the events we host when guests are staying on property that may just be with us to relax. To avoid events being a hindrance to other guests, we will ticket an event and sell rooms as a VIP tier to ensure everyone on property is there to also attend the event. Our events mainly attract locals, but from all over the city of Jacksonville.
Q: What's your favorite thing about putting on these events and offering these unique services?
A: I love seeing people of all ages enjoying something we created and love to do. I have two partners in the Hotel Palms (my brother, Greg, and his wife, Julie) and we all grew up here. So, we always see someone we know that maybe we haven't caught up with in awhile and that feels really good.
Q: What upcoming events at Hotel Palms can we look forward to?
A: We are partnering with the Beaches Town Center for a Fashion Show on Oct. 7 to raise money for Dreams Come True! This will be the third time we've done this and it's always a big success, which is awesome since DCT is a great organization with a powerful mission and highlighting the BTC merchants is super special since we've all grown as business owners together over the years. Find out more about Hotel Palms here.
JAMIE RICE OF SHOW PIGEON COFFEE
Purveyor of lovingly-crafted coffee concoctions, currently running the lobby bar from Hotel Palms 7 days a week
Q: Where did your relationship with coffee begin? What does this beverage mean to you?
A: I got started in 2005 at Shelby’s Coffee Shop. Coffee is an olive branch to lasting relationships and community. It’s a story of flavors that begin at origin, then the roaster, then a barista, and finally your cup. My favorite part about coffee is keeping it sociable for everyone to enjoy and understand.
Q: What's the best part of Show Pigeon’s permanent residence at Hotel Palms versus your average cafe or other venue?
A: First and foremost, the hotel is such a special space; if you know, you go… and once you’ve been there, hung out under an umbrella in the courtyard, you just can’t help but feel like you’ve found your special space.
Shared space has always been a real win to me… you came in for one thing and left with more than you knew there was to offer.
Engaging with hotel guests every day and co-mingling that with our community who come through for coffee service is a real treat. Five minute relationships are my favorite - give it a couple of SPC bevs and it’s a kind of familiar you know but just can’t put your finger on what one moment sealed the deal to forever memorable.
Q: What's so important about sourcing local ingredients for Show Pigeon?
A: Fresh is best for that flavor pop, bāb’eh! Small batch production keeps product control tight and repeatability a reality. Keeping it local builds a palpable relationship around these details setting everyone up for success.
Q: What's your favorite way to drink your coffee? And what Show Pigeon special would you recommend for coffee beginners to try?
A: When I’m on bar, it’s gotta be small and quick, like a con pana or a cortado. For pleasure or sitting with a friend, I’m all about that cold brew! The Chevy Chase is one I push pretty heavy. It’s refreshing, it’s a black coffee, and it’s got soft complexities. For those new to the coffee bar, a vanilla latte is always a pleaser (the basic bitch on the SPC menu). The Joey is a touch more decedent with coconut cream and chocolate, dressing it up. Both of these bevies are awesome hot or iced. Finally, the crowd pleaser is the Fancy Matcha - iced matcha, your choice dairy, vanilla simple syrup, shook and served with coconut whipped cream, dehydrated orange and strawberries. You’ll be sucking the ice cubes with this one. Find out more about Show Pigeon Coffee here.
MARY LYN JENKINS OF BIG FISH CO. A staple within the local yoga community, Big Fish Co. sets up camp every Sunday at Hotel Palms beginning at 9:45 a.m.
Q: How did you find yoga? What role does it play in your life?
A: I started practicing while living in Seattle. I was a set designer, newly wed, and traveling from Seattle to San Francisco or LA for projects every week. My young marriage became strained and my husband and I found ourselves in a counselor's office. She challenged us to go try one thing together that we'd never done before. We signed up for an Intro to Ashtanga Yoga and that was the start! It has played a pivotal role in my life - although I continued expanding as a set designer while living on the West Coast, I started training in yoga and teaching for fun in between design projects. Our move to Florida (my husband grew up here and felt the pull to return home!) during the economic crash shifted my perspective and career. I started teaching yoga full time in 2009.
Q: What's your favorite pose and why? What's your favorite pose to teach beginners?
A: My perspective about yoga poses has shifted so much in my 25 years of studentship. Sadly, the popularity of yoga has increased its image to advanced poses, cute clothes, and instagram followings instead of elevated practices for life and integritous conversations. So, honestly, my favorite pose to teach is that the poses matter very little in the grand scheme of the practice. Our bodies were made to move and breathe, so anyone can do yoga poses - the poses are only here to expand us to be softer as we gain strength. There's a lot of people practicing yoga who aren't practicing yoga. This is the pose I want to teach above all - let's practice yoga together - not poses.
Q: What's the best part about offering classes outside of the studio in unique venues like Hotel Palms? Does it bring a different clientele?
A: I believe that getting back to how yoga started is incredibly important right now. Gatherings and heightened, supportive conversations to cause a healthy life changes the landscape of communities. The best part about shifting out of bricks and mortar - and really, it's been about remembering to focus on what really matters - is that the space is open and available for anyone. It allows the 'club' mentality to dissolve and definitely attracts a different clientele. These differences cause me as a teacher to be fully present to who is showing up to learn; and it also opens the door for many, many more to walk up to experience a healthy environment.
Q: Do you find that people staying at the hotel participate in classes too? Or is it mostly local folks?
A: Right now, Sunday classes are growing from people mostly living in the area; however, anyone staying as a guest at the hotel is welcome to join free of charge. Our membership which includes weekly live virtual classes is $17/month. This monthly fee includes all our Sunday classes at Hotel Palms (if you only attended Hotel Palms classes, this would be roughly $4/class). I'm excited to bring people together.
Find out more about Big Fish Co. here.