It’s All About the View, as Delamar Mystic Hotel Aims to Fill Niche at Historic Seaport

A rendering of the dining room at La Plage in the Mystic River Hotel (Courtesy of Greenwich Hospitality)


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MYSTIC – In the heyday of building on Nantucket, the undeveloped land out in Tom Nevers and Polpis was dotted with two-story freestanding ladders offering real views from the imagined bedrooms of as-yet-unbuilt houses.

It felt a bit like that on Tuesday, peering out the oversized casement windows of a half-built hotel room swung wide open to catch the cool southerly breeze, a stone’s throw from the Mystic River.

The plywood, Tyvek and two-by-fours, the shouts and banging of a few dozen carpenters and construction workers hardly mattered. It was the view, the sunshine, the air and water.

It’s late May and the river is buzzing with activity. The tacking of tiny sailboats. A contemporary canopied launch taking passengers to and from a dock, with service to the downtown restaurants and shopping. The newly electrified National Historic Landmark Steamship Sabino.

Charles Mallory, the CEO and Founder of Greenwich Hospitality, is a businessman. And when the Delamar Mystic Hotel and Suites opens in October, he’ll already have hotels in Greenwich, West Hartford, Southport, and Traverse City, Michigan. He’s opening another this year in Westport, with more on the way elsewhere.

But for Mallory, who walked us around the construction site for an hour and a half on a Tuesday morning, this project is no doubt a personal investment. 

Charles Mallory looks out over the Mystic River from a second-floor window (CT Examiner)

He pointed out the sights – the historic seaport, the village of Mystic, a nature preserve across the water.

“And then that’s a cemetery straight ahead, which is actually where all my family are buried, right on that peninsula. So, they are looking at me, keeping an eye on this, and you know, making me perform,” Mallory joked.

Mallory’s namesake arrived two centuries before in 1816 after completing his sailmaker apprenticeship in New London. He would become prosperous as a shipowner and businessman during the whaling days.

Mallory has been closely connected to the seaport as a former board member and benefactor.

The planned hotel, which Mallory expects to open in October, is situated on the northern extent of the museum complex between the contemporary-styled Thompson Exhibition Building, a notable design by Centerbrook Architects, and the soon-to-constructed barn-like Stonington Community Rowing boathouse.

The worksite was abuzz with carpenters on a Tuesday morning (CT Examiner)

“On the one hand, we want to respect the historical context of the museum. On the other, we want to have a contemporary feel, and contemporary interpretation of a historical building,” said Mallory.

The design, by South-Norwalk-based Beinfield Architecture, takes the form of a three-story boatshed, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a metal seam roof.

The hotel will have 31 rooms and suites with views out onto the water, a ballroom and terraced lawn for wedding parties of as many as 200 guests, a pool, and a restaurant, La Plage, for indoor and outdoor dining, and private parties.

The hallways and rooms are standard upmarket design, but the dining room, with a fireplace for the winter and glass doors opening out onto a terrace for outdoor dining in the summer, is a large white-washed, open rafter space somewhat reminiscent of Straight Wharf on Nantucket.

It’s not reinventing the wheel, but there’s nothing quite like it the area. A relaxing place to have a glass of rosé or a spritz, a view of the water, and a seafood-focused menu – by the looks of the Westport menu – that features light, simple pleasures rather than the more high-concept Shipwright’s Daughter or the more common fried fish and clams.

More Mediterranean and European than New England farm to table.

“I think it’s a lot easier to get to than the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard, and a lot of other places, and I think that’s what makes it attractive. One of the advantages you’ll have is you can park your car and you may not need it for the rest of the week. You’ll be able to take a boat from here down to the bridge. So, you can go into town to your heart’s content and pick up a boat and come back. And obviously, if you’re in town, and you want to have dinner or lunch, the same thing,” said Mallory.

With a number of places to tie up right out front of the restaurant, Mallory anticipates people taking dinghies and small boats from down river, motoring up for dinner or a cocktail.

“You know, a half hour ago, there were a bunch of kayakers, and here we are in mid-May. But they’re going to be rowing shells next door, sailing classes with young kids, there’s going to be yachts… nothing but activity,” said Mallory.

His competition – the Ocean House in Watch Hill, and the Weekapaug Inn in Westerly – are sprawling and expensive.

Mallory describes the Delamar Mystic Hotel as “affordable luxury,” with prices starting in the mid-300s and varying by the day and season.

“Obviously, sitting at that [outdoor] bar, looking out at this view – that’s going to be a hot seat.”