THERE IS SOMETHING MAGICAL about an unveiling of a historic hotel lobby-an element of fantasy and opulence that makes the imagination run wild. I was honored to be on the guest list along with the upper echelon of Newburyport for this ‘by invitation only’ black tie event showcasing the hotel’s new look. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
An epic renovation of the first floor of the iconic downtown landmark brought new life to both wings of the historic hotel which has graced Brown Square since its construction in 1809. But it wasn’t just the interior design statement that made an impression at the unveiling. Joy McFarland, the hotelier of Garrison Inn, was just emerging from a “life event” and I couldn’t help noticing how chic she looked in her pin heeled stilettos, her ever-so-slightly low cut evening gown, refined stance and stoic demeanor. She looked powerful. She looked expensive. She looked like art: And she owned the room. Literally.
It was really a ‘Joy’ moment. I saw glimpses of her in the décor where magnificent antique chandeliers (imported from London) dripping with icy crystals and hand forged solid brass, life-size lion statues (imported from Paris) guarding the entrance, had to have been inspired by the indomitable hotelier. Coupled together with a massive 9’ tall mahogany, Louis XV antique wardrobe; I was instantly transported into a fairy tale moment straight out of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. The wardrobe marks the transition into TEA NOIR, a glamorous room adjacent to the lobby, decorated in shades of caramel and dark chocolate, dedicated exclusively to offering: CHOCOLATE. TEA. LINGERIE. HOSPITALITY. Where teatime’s seductive alter-ego seduces with sensual little silky treats, after dark. One of the many special experiences reserved exclusively for hotel guests. A lingerie boutique within a boutique hotel, featuring an exquisitely curated collection of lingerie and sleepwear, complete with dressing room outfitted with an antique gilded Louis XV mirror and a 9’ antique solid mahogany door salvaged from a historical home in Boston.
A stylish spirit of power and freedom are inherent in the design- as Joy summarized, “Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or risky thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a risky thing without it. To do a risky thing with style is what I call art.” Indeed a former lackluster underutilized dining room was truly re-styled into an exquisite, breath taking lobby of grand proportion. Walls formally closing off sections were torn down exposing original brick walls, reclaiming the historical significance of the structure. A jaw dropping mosaic marble tile floor unite with massive slabs of black leathered granite cladding the reception area. Iconic and irreverent brass footed, velvet swivel lounge chairs finish the space delivering an unbeatable look with gold-standard glamour.
We are living in an age which increasingly favors the brave and the outspoken; where daring to stand out or stand up for something is rightfully applauded. And is it heartening to see the influential hotelier, following in the footsteps of William Lloyd Garrison, and using her hotel to raise awareness about such issues as woman’s rights and domestic violence. She is a woman who has a true sense of vision and the guts and flair to do things her own way. A woman who deserves to be honored as much for her professional success as for the endlessly inventive way she has achieved it. She has never been afraid to rewrite the rules of luxury. Her newest concept LADYFINGER, (a tea room for ladylike celebrations) displays a new sense of daring. It is wonderful to see a mood of feminine flamboyance dominating the tea lounge. Its pastel color palette, artfully curated collection of antique portrait paintings and myriad of one-of-a-kind teacups boasts the importance of developing individual style and not being afraid to stand out in a crowd. In the end ‘style’ is all about distinct hospitality, which is executed with precision at the newly emerged Garrison Inn. Welcome to the brave new world.
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can have the most profound effect. From the moment our stunning display wall of historic William Lloyd Garrison artifacts was completed it was clear that change was in the air. This moment of appreciation for a figure whose cultural importance bears such power that the mere mention of their name brings awe inspiring admiration. Thus the inspiration for the design was born, propelling us to undergo a sweeping re-model project.
Take a deep breath and relax, for our new look is all about comfort and ease. There is a luxurious softness to the rooms, embodied by a desire to take the guestrooms to an organic state, while maintaining our historical heritage. We stripped back the heaviness, concentrated on simplicity and relished in the unexpected details. Yes all the hallmarks of our iconic brand are still present: the quality service the indulgent amenities…but there is a new look and feel. A lightness and ease that is fresh and utterly of the moment.
In our quest to create an exceptionally distinct experience we used uncompromising standards in our design choices inspired by Garrison’s newspaper letterpress workshop. From custom upholstered tufted platform beds to re-claimed wood furnishings in the design of characteristic of a printmakers shop. From the finest Belgian linen bedding, to Italian granite bathrooms. From our curated collection of historic hotel silver to English bone china teacups. Indeed it is our combination of exquisite surroundings coupled with unpretentious attitude that makes our brand so coveted.
The newly re-emerged GARRISON INN reflects the best of our rich history combined with great design and unparalleled services and amenities; resulting in a truly distinct experience that sets itself apart from anything else currently in the marketplace. GARRISON INN is about an attitude and the way it makes you feel. Luxe finishes and fine details serve the experience, not drive it.
Time and time again we succeed in making people feel as if they are part of something unique and special, always eliciting an emotional and visceral connection to the experiences we create. These are the moments I treasure.
Looking forward to the pleasure of welcoming you soon.
EXCITING THINGS IN OUR FUTURE I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO SHARING…
WOLFE TAVERN wine cellar…a VOLUPTUOUS, intimate, wine and charcuterie bar. COMING 2020!
TEA NOIR champagne bar…an intimate and EFFERVESCENT venue for cocktail parties of historic proportions. COMING summer 2019!
LADYFINGER tea room…a FEMININE afternoon tea room for ladylike celebrations. COMING summer 2019!