A boutique hotel in the heart of downtown officially opened its doors on Wednesday, bringing with it a rooftop bar, 108 guest rooms and the city’s first Michelin-starred chef.
“The Blake,” named after Alice Blake, class of 1896— the first woman to matriculate from Yale Law School — is the latest addition to a number of hotels that have been built in the Elm City over the last year. Developer Randy Salvatore and his wife Claire were joined by Mayor Toni Harp, Ward 1 Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 and several other city and business leaders in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
“As you all know, we are continually active in developing other significant projects here, and I am personally so bullish on New Haven’s future,” Salvatore said in his speech prior to the ribbon-cutting. “I hope and expect that [the hotel and restaurant] will become the central gathering place for residents and visitors of New Haven for generations to come.”
In 2009, Salvatore opened his first boutique hotel, Hotel Zero, in Stamford, Connecticut. Since then, he and his Stamford-based RMS Companies have opened other similar hotels in three other cities across the state. He has also built various commercial and housing developments in New Haven, including the Hill-to-Downtown project and The Novella — a $40 million, 136-unit luxury apartment building that opened in 2015.
While many other outside developers have capitalized on the hot market for hotels in New Haven, Salvatore wanted to act on a specific demand.
“We saw a big need for extended-stay hotels in the city, so we wanted to create a space that would deliver the quality of a world-class hotel, regardless of whether guests stay for one night or for a month,” Salvatore said.
All 108 rooms, nine of which are complete suites, all include a full kitchen — offering a homey feel to guests of both short-term and long-term stays.
Steve Fontana, New Haven’s deputy director of economic development, agreed that the city’s various educational, professional and entertainment opportunities make extended-stay hotels a source of high demand that needs to be met. He said that employees of Yale and local hospitals, as well as individuals coming to visit museums or events in New Haven, could benefit from the availability of long-term rooming.
“Whether people are traveling for business or pleasure, they’re gonna want to have something other than a typical hotel,” he told the News. “New Haven’s intersection of various attractions make it a city that tends to attract people who need extended, higher-end residences.”
Fontana said that a potential reason for the city’s recent surge in hotel projects is due to the city’s increased development of mixed-housing projects over the last few years and “promise of more to come.”
Salvatore said that the Elm City will continue to be a destination for visitors. On Wednesday, Salvatore praised Mayor Harp and the city’s development team for having “truly created a business-friendly culture” in the city.
The ground-floor restaurant Hamilton Park — which is located at the Blake Hotel — will be open to the public, allowing residents and hotel guests to enjoy the culinary experience that Michelin-star chef Matt Lambert brings.
Lambert, who hails from New Zealand, is currently the executive chef and co-owner of The Musket Room, a Manhattan restaurant that specializes in New Zealand cuisine and earned him his Michelin star only four months after its opening. He runs the eatery with his wife, Barbara Lambert, and Jennifer Vitagliano, and the trio is set to continue its teamwork by heading the Hamilton Park restaurant.
According to Salvatore, the construction of rooftop restaurant, lounge, private dining and meeting rooms are set to be completed in the next two to three months. Once completed, guests will be able to enjoy the space and its retractable glass roof.
He concluded his speech at the ceremony with a description of the “essence” of the Blake Hotel — a place that’s perfect for a casual coffee or lunch with friends, an ideal venue for a business or social gathering in one of the meeting rooms and a place with a vibrant ambiance.
The Blake Hotel is located on 9 High St.
Caroline Moore | firstname.lastname@example.org .