JANUARY 30, 2019
PHOTO | MICHAEL C. BINGHAMThe Blake’s restaurant is named Hamilton Park after New Haven’s historic sporting ground.
A 108-room luxury hotel boasting an upscale restaurant with a culinary pedigree is the latest in a growing list of high-end lodging options being planned for the Elm City.
City officials gathered to cut the ribbon Wednesday morning in the lobby of the new downtown establishment, the Blake Hotel, located at 9 High St.
Named after Alice Blake, the first woman to graduate from Yale, the hotel is owned by prolific Connecticut real estate developer Randy Salvatore and his Stamford-based RMS Companies, which also owns and redeveloped Hartford’s historic Goodwin Hotel.
Designed by Rockville, Md.-based hospitality-industry designer HVS Design and London-based Alexander Waterworth Interiors, the six-story boutique hotel offers guests “a casual yet considered experience” with “a strong focus on hospitality,” hotel officials said.
Its restaurant, Hamilton Park, will be headed by Michelin Star chef Matt Lambert, who along with Barbara Lambert and Jen Vitagliano run the critically acclaimed Manhattan eatery the Musket Room, featuring cuisine from New Zealand. New York City mixologist Eben Freeman will be advising the cocktail program.
The Blake is one of several lodging projects underway or being pitched in New Haven, including a Chicago firm’s ongoing project to turn the storied Duncan Hotel into a Yale University-themed boutique hotel called “Graduate New Haven.”
It is also the latest Elm City endeavor by Salvatore, who also is building a four-story retail and apartment buildingnear Yale Medical School, the centerpiece of the city’s Hill-to-Downtown redevelopment plan.
All the ‘comforts of home’
“We’ve created a hotel that provides the comforts of home with the benefits of food prepared by a Michelin-starred chef,” said Salvatore. “Each season we’ll display curated artwork in our spacious lobby from a new visual artist.”
And not all the aesthetic appointments will be visual.
“New Haven boasts the best music scene in Connecticut, and now the Blake will provide a happening spot to enjoy local indie bands, jazz, acoustic covers and more,” said Salvatore.
In 2015, Salvatore opened luxury apartment complex the Novella at Chapel and Howe streets and sold it two years later for nearly $40 million.
The Blake is one of three new hotel projects coming online or being green-lighted recently by city planners.
Last week the City Plan Commission accepted a site plan for a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel to be built by Spin Olympia New Haven LLC at Elm and Orange streets downtown. Meanwhile the former former Armstrong Pirelli building on Sargent Drive has received zoning approval for a potential hotel, although the owners have not yet identified a hotel group.
Rather than being daunted by the newly crowded hospitality marketplace, Salvatore views the competition as an affirmation of New Haven’s attractiveness as a destination — and as a market.
“I think that says a lot about New Haven and where New Haven’s going,” Salvatore said. “It makes the existing hotels, it makes us, rise to the occasion and try to be better.
“In the end, the guest is the beneficiary of that,” he added.
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