Travel: Sailor's Delight

  • Mike Nolan

The ideal way to approach the recently opened Delamar Greenwich Harbor hotel is from Long Island Sound. In good weather, the sun reflecting off the yellow stucco exterior and terra-cotta roof could lead a mariner to believe, if only the water were warmer, that he was approaching a Tuscan villa on the Italian Riviera.

With 600 feet of dock that can accommodate a deep-keel yacht as long as 160 feet, the Delamar seems destined to become a preferred stopover for yacht owners cruising the East Coast. Greenwich Avenue, with its seven blocks of luxury retail shops, lies just around the corner from the hotel, as does the Metro-North train station, which makes it possible to travel from dock to Midtown Manhattan in less than an hour.

Although Greenwich is one of America’s most affluent communities and has a thriving business district (in addition to the retail shops, so many financial firms have moved in recently that the city has earned the sobriquet Wall Street by the Sea), it has a paucity of luxury hotels. “Greenwich as a leisure destination is virgin territory,” notes Delamar general manager Klaus Peters, expressing both a sense of good fortune and a determination that guests view the hotel as part of a safe and enchanting harbor to be returned to again and again.
 
To that end, service is as flawless as the golden light from the harbor, which pours into the lobby, subtly illuminating the Jerusalem limestone floors. Walls of polished Venetian coral plaster, applied layer upon layer, reflect a soft gleam, furnishing the perfect tableaux for the original artworks from a private Greenwich collection—primarily 19th-century landscapes, still lifes, and seascapes—that line the walls of the hotel. Just off the lobby, in the library, complimentary cappuccino and tea await those who would like to peruse the volumes on local history or simply while away an hour in plush leather chairs, watching the boats sail past in the harbor.

A grand staircase leads to the second floor, where a state-of-the-art boardroom is available for meetings and teleconferencing. The strategies of businessmen meeting at the Italian wood–inlaid conference table are sanctified by twin griffins—symbolically significant for their domination of both earth and sky—which are depicted in an oil painting stretching across an entire wall. This kind of sophisticated and informed attention to detail is one of the many pleasures of visiting the Delamar.

Another is the restaurant. With its whimsical chandeliers, 200-year-old terra-cotta floor tiles, and enormous 18th-century stone fireplace brought from France, L’Escale is the perfect setting for serving the distinctive Mediterranean flavors prepared by chefs Frederic Kieffer of New York’s Man Ray and Stephane Canales of La Petite Maison in Nice. In summer, alfresco dining takes place on an adjoining terrace, but regardless of the season, the harbor views from the dining room are captivating.

Equally spectacular is the view from your room’s private balcony, a cozy location for sharing an afternoon campari. Each of the spacious 74 rooms and nine suites contains handmade and handpainted furniture. “Virtually every object in the hotel is custom made,” says Lisa Silver of Silver Contract Interiors, the Greenwich company that furnished the hotel with pieces from around the world. “We didn’t want the Delamar to look like a hotel with a matched set of case goods.” Many of the suites include a Jacuzzi tub from which you can view the harbor and, perhaps, your transportation to and from the Delamar.

The Delamar Greenwich Harbor, 203.661.9800, www.thedelamar.com

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