Lilly Pulitzer was famously inspired to create her signature dress prints while tending her family’s Palm Beach orange juice stand — the vibrant florals being perfect for obscuring spills. From there it wasn’t a giant leap to apply the colorful patterns to other areas of life whose inherent messiness might benefit from a bit of cheerful camouflage, like table linens and a recent teenagers’ bedding range for Pottery Barn. But the genius who realized the same principle could also be applied to childbirth? Give that person a Pulitzer Prize!
Last spring, the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach began offering two “Lilly Pulitzer Birthing Suites” at $750 a night. They not only boast luxury features that you might associate with The Breakers or the Colony Hotel more than a hospital (concierge service! VIP menu! waterfront views!), but also come replete with swag. In addition to their postpartum bundle of joy, new moms get to take home a diaper bag containing a teddy bear, some newborn pajamas, a fleece blanket, and other accessories, all in one of Pulitzer’s distinctive prints. Take it into the Lilly store on Worth Avenue, and they’ll even monogram it with initials. (The diaper bag that is, not the baby.)
The suites have already served several dozen families and are booked seven months ahead, according to Naomi Seymour, the center’s associate chief nursing officer. “And the reservations keep coming in,” she said.
One recent happy customer is Brianna Potter, who recently welcomed her daughter, Rose — slightly less than two years after firstborn William arrived in the same (pre-Lillified) room. “I enjoyed the space so much but after seeing the renovation, they completely brightened it,” she told Avenue. “It’s such a cheerful, happy place to be, surrounded by all the colors, and the room has such nice light.
“I don’t want to call it a vacation, but it felt more similar to a hotel experience than a hospital experience,” she continued. “For example, I love drinking coconut water, and they would be sure to have fresh coconut water in my room every day. And the second thing is the menu — I was expecting Uber Eats or something like that, but I ate grilled vegetables and lobster for dinner every night. I don’t know any other hospitals where you get to have that experience.”
Although the average birthing suite stay is two nights, Potter managed to hang on a week. Her husband enjoyed the lamb.
Good Samaritan’s innovation has been so successful that it’s tempting to wonder what other untidy elements of Palm Beach life might be improved by a Lilly Pulitzer makeover — parking tickets, defib paddles, divorce papers? Alas, for now it’s only the birthing suites.
Potter said she already had some Lilly in her closet before staying in the suites, but has bought a lot more since. Not only is there a strong emotional connection, given Rose’s first pictures are all in the Pulitzer pattern, but also you can’t beat that practicality. “Not only giving birth, but the months thereafter there are some pretty messy spills that get on your clothes,” she said. “And so it certainly comes in handy to have a busy print.”