Port Jefferson landmark in line for $8M rehab
February 22, 2008
Source: Long Island Business News
By: David Winzelberg
Since he cut his hotelier teeth managing the Helmsley Palace and Parker Meridien in Manhattan, it's no surprise that Stewart Weiner is behind the upscale revamp of one of Long Island's landmark inns.
Weiner has been managing the Danford's Hotel for the last 10 years and became a part owner of the Port Jefferson jewel when it was purchased by Westport Capital Partners, a Connecticut development firm, at the end of 2006. And even though Danford's has struggled in recent years - emerging from bankruptcy two years ago - its unique charm and waterfront location still attracts visitors, and the $8 million being spent throughout the property's 14 buildings should help it attract many more.
Formerly known as Danford's on the Sound, the resort will be renamed Danford's Hotel and Marina.
No minor makeover, Danford's is undergoing a total redesign of the property's 86 guest rooms and suites. The main ballroom overlooking Port Jefferson Harbor was restored in October with new carpet, drapes, dance floor and upholstery. The second phase of the renovation plan will include a complete redo of the hotel's restaurant and lobby area. The final phase will include new landscaping and building finishes.
Much of the design work is being done by Kenneth E. Hurd and Associates, a Boston-based architectural and interior design firm. The new interior room design is nautical-contemporary in keeping with the property's storied history and location on the water.
Some of the buildings on the Danford's property date back to the 1800s, when they were used for shipbuilding. The wideplanked wooden floor in the lobby of the hotel actually came from an old sailing ship, and Weiner said it will be preserved in the renovation.
The place didn't become a hotel until 1986, when it opened for guests, featuring catering, a restaurant and a marina.
Because of its unique layout, hotel and restaurant operations have not been interrupted during the renovations. Each building will be shut down separately, renovated and reopened to limit impact on customers.
The goal, of course, is to attract more leisure and business clients to Danford's, which is already a favorite meeting spot for several local corporations.
"This is the first complete redesign and refurbishment of the room and suite product in the resort's 21-year history," Weiner said. "We've always had the location. We didn't have the room product."
All 86 guest rooms and suites will be completely renovated and will feature "décor infused with contemporary nautical elegance."
Mahogany furnishings detailed with rounded edges and curved fronts mimic the built-in furniture of yachts. Bathrooms in some of the rooms are more like mini-spas with walk-in and sit-in multi-directional showers. Weiner said the renovation of the guest rooms and suites should be completed by April.
Danford's manager acknowledged that growth in travel has been slow lately, but Weiner is confident the makeover will give his establishment a competitive edge.
"This will be a preferred destination," Weiner said.