June 26, 2017

After 136 years, Hartford's Goodwin Hotel undergoes colorful rebirth

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
(Clockwise from left) One of the well-appointed guest suite in the newly renovated, reopened Goodwin Hotel in downtown Hartford; seating area in another suite; the Harlan Side Bar fronts Asylum Street.

In the span of 136 years, the Goodwin Hotel has gone from an apartment building, where legendary financier John Pierpont Morgan called home during his Hartford visits, to a lodging facility, then a shuttered hotel that was recently reborn.

Now, the doors and rooms of the six-story English Queen Anne-style building, bordering Asylum, Haynes and Pearl streets downtown, are open again to temporary lodgers, diners and networkers.

Eight months after acquiring the vacant building from the buyers of the adjoining Goodwin Square office tower, Stamford real estate investor Randy Salvatore says the 124-room luxury hotel is ready to resume a place in downtown Hartford's market.

Salvatore, whose RMS Cos. is landlord of some 1,600 hotel rooms and apartments in Fairfield County, says he also has a stake in West Hartford's new Delamar Hotel slated to open this summer.

Salvatore said the extensive renovations to Goodwin's lobby and guest, conference and meeting rooms, along with opening of the Harlan Brasserie restaurant and smaller bar-lounge, bring a certain cache to the Goodwin — and to Hartford. He declined to say how much was invested in the makeover.

"It was a lot,'' Salvatore said of the renovation cost. "It creates the environment people are looking for when they come to a hotel like this."

Virtually every square foot of the hotel's interior and exterior was either scrubbed clean, repainted or revarnished, or replaced with more modern, colorful flourishes like tiled flooring rendered to look antique. New furnishings and fixtures are in every room. Bright colors abound the walls — even the ceilings.

Many of them were "borrowed'' from lodging venues that Salvatore says he and his partners have spied worldwide.

"You take the best ideas you come across,'' he said.

Take, for instance, the relocation of Goodwin Hotel's main entry from Asylum Street, where it had been for decades, to Haynes Street, a one-way thoroughfare less than a half-block long.

The new entry, Salvatore said, evokes the esprit of many New York City hotels, whose side-street entryways are almost a trademark.

Rooms, too, also received high-end treatment in the makeover. The J.P. Morgan Suite, a nearly 600-square-foot room on the second floor, features a huge walk-in bathroom, with garden-style tub, separate shower and commode. Like many of its rooms, the suite has a wood clothes closet dating from the Goodwin's earliest days as an apartment building.

A wall-mounted flat-screen TV overlooks a queen-size bed with nightstands and a sitting area with a coffee table and a sofabed. Artwork lines the walls.

Despite the Goodwin's restored glamor, the hotel's room rates are competitive with other lodgings downtown and in the region, he said.

Weekday rates range from $229 to $299 per night; weekend rates are lower.

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