Take a look inside the new luxury boutique hotel in Northport Village. NewsdayTV's Rachel Weiss reports. Credit: Newsday/Debbie Egan Chan

A few summers ago, Kevin O’Neill spent the weekend in Camden, Maine. It took him eight hours to drive home. “I’ll never do that again,” says O’Neill, developer of the Northport Hotel, which opens Aug. 1.

The 26-room boutique hotel has long been a dream for O’Neill and his partner, Richard T. Dolce, owners of the Engeman Theater across the street. People ask, “Why a hotel?” says O’Neill. “It’s the same question people asked me back in 2006, why a theater?” The answer, he says, is that Northport has always been undervalued. “I felt all along before buying the theater, why do you have to go two hours east to Sag Harbor, or eight hours to Maine to find a nice town? It’s right here.”

The hotel, which will have a 175-seat restaurant, “will be synergistic with the theater crowd,” says O'Neill, noting that an earlier survey of patrons found that 95% of them went out to eat before or after a show.

Having a hotel in town is welcome news for other Northport businesses as well.  “I believe the opening of the hotel is a paradigm shift for Northport to really truly become an overnight vacation destination,” says Frederick J. Giachetti, owner of nearby Del Vino Vineyards. The vineyard’s out-of-town guests will have a place to stay, he says, and “hotel guests will come to the vineyard. This is a wonderful opportunity for the village that we didn’t have before.”

Northport Hotel rooms

One of the bedrooms at the new Northport Hotel in...

One of the bedrooms at the new Northport Hotel in Northport. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

People will be surprised to see this kind of luxury in Northport, says O’Neill, emphasizing that  we didn’t want it to be “so fancy-schmancy that people feel intimidated.” The idea was to make it feel very homey and residential, he says, with plenty of charm and character.

The dining room at the new Northport Hotel in Northport.

The dining room at the new Northport Hotel in Northport. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Much attention has been paid to detail, starting with the striking African mahogany on the front doors. Touring the hotel a few weeks ago, with work still in progress, O’Neill showed off the cozy lobby with its fireplace and dramatic staircase (no worries, there’s an elevator).

The street-level restaurant has an imposing bar, with a casual area up front, and fancier tables toward the rear. Putting finishing touches on the space, chef Justin Staudt, most recently of Danfords in Port Jefferson, said he’s planning an Italian steakhouse with enough twists to make it interesting. A lounge on the second floor will welcome guests during the day but can be reserved for small private functions in the evening. There are also two levels of parking, which O’Neill notes is a big deal in a village with limited spaces.

The main lobby of the new Northport Hotel in Northport.

The main lobby of the new Northport Hotel in Northport. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Every guest room is different, each with its own dramatic light fixture, including a couple made from wine bottles. Some feature Juliet balconies or bay windows; one room replicates the windows of a Dutch colonial home that once stood on the property. The bathrooms are large, with double sinks and oversized showers. And the walls are built like vaults, says O’Neill. “I didn’t want people to hear anything from outside.”

The Curto room where guests might have a small intimate...

The Curto room where guests might have a small intimate gathering at the new Northport Hotel in Northport. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

O’Neill envisions people coming from near and far. Northport is “the perfect place for a staycation,” he says. “It’s got that charm and ambience that other places don’t have.” “I often hear that we can be the next Sag Harbor,” he says. “I think we can.”

INFO 225 Main St.; thenorthporthotel.com; 631-628-7000; rooms are $450-$700

What to do in Northport 

A little over a mile from the hotel, Del Vino Vineyards offers wine tastings and light fare, (29 Norwood Rd., Northport, delvinovineyards.com, 844-335-8466). Once the home of William K. Vanderbilt II, the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, while the planetarium has a variety of shows, (180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, vanderbiltmuseum.org; 631-854-5579). 

What's up at East End, North Fork hotels

It’s rare for a hotel to be built ground-up as The Northport Hotel has. But several spots on the East End have reopened after extensive renovations.

Canoe Place Inn

Dating to the 1600s, the inn (claimed to be one of the nation’s oldest) was vacant for many years as owners dealt with development plans. Opened last summer, it sits on 6 acres overlooking the Shinnecock Canal. There are 13 rooms, seven suites and five cottages, some with original features like fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. The restaurant, Good Ground Tavern, has a Mediterranean flair, and other amenities include a pool, a pavilion that hosts concerts and guess speakers, and a spa operated by ONDA Beauty. Rooms start at $750 midweek, going down to $350 in October.

INFO 239 E. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays; canoeplace.com, 631-763-6300

NEARBY It’s a fishing village so get out on the water with a deep-sea fishing trip, fishingbooker.com lists 64 charters. Or head to Southampton for an afternoon of shopping on Jobs Lane.

Daunt’s Albatross, Montauk

Just 100 feet from the ocean, this 23-room family-run hotel has been around since the late ‘70s, but reopened last summer after a renovation that included a new lobby, an updated courtyard and refurbished guest rooms, 10 with kitchenettes. Much of the furniture came from the vintage shops in the area and this summer, the pool area got an overhaul. The hotel also owns the restaurant next store. Formerly Bird on the Roof, the name has been shortened to simply The Bird, with dinner service added to its offerings. A midweek room in July starts at $629, in October it goes down to $205.

INFO 44 S. Elmwood Ave., Montauk, dauntsalbatross.com; 631-668-2729

NEARBY Montauk is known for surfing, and it doesn’t get better than Ditch Plains Beach, just minutes from the hotel, which can provide parking passes. A 10-minute drive to the tip of the Island (eastern end of Route 27) will take you to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, where the views are drop-dead and a museum displays its rich history, montaukhistoricalsociety.org.

Hotel Moraine

It’s all about families at the 20-room North Fork hotel that opened in June after a renovation of all five buildings on the property, including construction of a new building for the lobby. Set on a bluff overlooking the sound, the hotel has a heated saltwater pool, 200 feet of private beach, a fitness center and a cottage that can handle private events for up to 20 people. Special kids’ activities include bath amenities, daily activities and ice cream by the pool. Adult beverages can be found at the lobby bar, where coffee and pastries are served in the morning. A room midweek in July starts at $575, in October it goes down to $325.

INFO 62005 County Rd. 48, Greenport; hotelmoraine.com, 631-477-1776

NEARBY The North Fork is home to more than 60 vineyards, among them Croteaux, specializing in rosé (1450 S. Harbor Rd, Southold, 631-765-6099). If you bring the kids, check out the antique carousel in Mitchell Park ($2.50 a ride; 115 Front St., Greenport).


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