Several hundred guests, including the governor and state and local officials, attended the grand opening of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel on Sept. 12, 2017.
By Ronni Newton
The Delamar West Hartford Hotel held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon, with hundreds of invited guests gathered on the sprawling green lawn under a bright blue sky with mild September weather – perfect for a an elegant gala celebration befitting the mood among all involved with the project and town and elected officials who have been looking forward to this day for several years.
West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor held on to the red ribbon as hotel owner and Greenwich Hospitality Group Founder and CEO Charles Mallory made the cut, cheers erupting from the crowd. Also participating in the ribbon-cutting were Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and West Hartford elected officials and members of the Chamber of Commerce. New Britain Museum of American Art Director Min Jung Kim, who serves as curator for the rotating exhibits on display in the hotel, was also in attendance.
Former Town Manager Ron Van Winkle, who first brought the concept of building a hotel on Raymond Road in Blue Back Square to the Town Council in early 2012 and saw it through to near-completion before retiring at the end of June, also took part in the ribbon-cutting.
Mallory spoke to the crowd, thanking all who came together to make the hotel a reality.
“I wanted to be here to congratulate you on this great success,” Malloy said to Mallory as he addressed the crowd. “Early reports are you’re knocking out of the ballpark.” The hotel opened with limited service on Sept. 1, and has had dozens of guests already.
“If you’re not familiar with the Delamar brand it is probably the best brand in the state of Connecticut with some great locations, now in a great community it should be in – West Hartford, not so far from the Hartford border as well.”
“The town of West Hartford should be very very proud,” Wyman said. “They wouldn’t come here if you hadn’t already shown leadership and now having the Delamar here is really making this place just as perfect as perfect can be.”
Cantor said there is a “palpable excitement” surrounding the opening of the Delamar, noting that it was a longtime vision and plan of many that has finally come to fruition. “Without Blue Back Square I don’t think this would ever be here,” she said, mentioning all of the previous town managers and mayors who had previously hoped to attract a hotel to West Hartford.
“To me Delamar completes the puzzle. This is the Square and this is the corner of the Square and the anchor of the Square,” Cantor said.
Mallory has brought in top local artists, and a world-class restaurant, Cantor said, and has made a commitment to Connecticut as fulfilled a passion for a career in the hotel business he first expressed during college.
Mallory said when he first toured West Hartford after the town had issued its RFP, “It became obvious that it was the perfect town and would be a great sister hotel spot for Delamar Greenwich and Delamar Southport.” When he met with Van Winkle and other town officials he was very impressed. “At that point I drank the Kool-aid and there was no turning back.
There were hurdles to be overcome in the process, including delay caused by the nesting of a protected red-tailed hawk in a tree on the site, soil that was not “environmentally friendly” that needed to be removed, and a recent theft of furnishings and carpet destined for the hotel that was stolen just last month from a warehouse in New Jersey.
“And I should note at this point that we did not receive any help financially from any municipal or state or federal source. This was all funded privately and with the great help of some Connecticut banks,” said Mallory.
“The results here today, I hope you are as pleased with it as I am,” Mallory said.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests enjoyed tours of the hotel property as and enjoyed food and drink provided by Artisan.
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