ore than two centuries after an inn was established at the southwest corner of the Dartmouth Green, The Hanover Inn at Dartmouth, managed by Boston-based Pyramid Hotel Group, has undergone a $40-million modernization that melds its historic roots with 21st-century conveniences and amenities. The top-to-bottom renovation of this boutique property—on the site of a home converted to a tavern, replaced by a hotel—includes a new lobby with WiFi, a conference center, a large ballroom, new guestrooms and suites and a health and fitness facility. A restaurant from Boston-based, James Beard award-winner Chef Michael Schlow will be complete March 2013.
Located in the quintessential New England town of Hanover, NH, the five-floor hotel has 108 guestrooms and suites and plays home to guests who are in town to tour the Ivy League campus, attend a corporate event or experience the Upper Valley’s outdoor activities. “The Inn is Dartmouth’s front door,” William Anderson, VP of campus planning and facilities, stated. “We are excited to introduce both new and returning guests to a contemporary and refreshed inn.”
“The concept behind the design of the hotel was to infuse a modern spirit juxtaposed against the legacy of enduring heritage, highlighted with the use of bold colors on classic 18th- and 19th-century shapes,” said NY-based interior designer Bill Rooney, Bill Rooney Studio, Inc., who, along with Boston developer Richard Friedman (Class of ’63) of Carpenter & Company, Inc., Boston-based architects Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. and Engelberth Construction Inc., led the renovation. “Weaving the new design into a historic building on a tight schedule was very challenging,” said Rooney. “It was achieved by a great collaboration between Dartmouth College and the project team.”
The overall space is fresh, classic, serene, relaxed and purposeful, according to Rooney. A member of Historic Hotels of America and a Preferred Boutique property—and the only inn located on the Appalachian Trail—the hotel’s intrinsic charm remains, with iconic local references woven throughout.
Guests are encouraged to gather and meet in the lobby, the “living room” of the hotel. A massive, rectangular, 2,800-pound, handcrafted “Concord Gray” granite table is the lobby’s new centerpiece, or focal point, a nod to New Hampshire’s nickname, The Granite State. It’s polished smooth on top and rough on its sides and sits atop a base of antique timbers. Beneath it is a custom-designed, black-and-white area rug inspired by birch trees, which are abundant in the surrounding New Hampshire woods. Hand-blown glass lamps from the renowned glass blower, Simon Pearce of nearby Quechee, VT, illuminate the lobby under a new skylight.
The Hanover Inn offers space for both corporate meetings and social events. The new Minary Conference Center, an 11,000-sq.-ft. facility, includes a 4,000-sq.-ft. grand ballroom, seven executive conference rooms and the 1,761-sq.-ft. Hayward Room, which features a granite fireplace and 103-in. plasma screen TV. Each room includes custom artwork and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment. Located at the corner of Main Street and Wheelock, the conference center is attached to the Hopkins Center for the Arts, adjacent to the Hood Museum of Art and steps away from the new Black Family Visual Arts Center.
“We eagerly welcome guests to experience the updated Hanover Inn, which is the new, premiere hotel and conference facility between Boston and Montreal,” stated Joe Mellia, general manager. “The service and ambiance embody the sense of community, warmth and personal attention that define the Hanover experience.”
Despite the property’s makeover, traditional elements—referring to the history of the college—remain intact, such as the rocking chairs on the front porch facing Baker Library and the Green. Nostalgic details, like the vintage weather station and the guest register—both gifts from Dartmouth graduating classes in the early 1900s—are incorporated into the design.
In the guestrooms and suites, transformed New England elements offer luxury, as well as functionality. Most rooms include a combination hardwood bench and round table pairing. The bench is derived from New England hall bench design, but has been updated to provide seating, luggage storage and dresser drawers; the TV is mounted on it and network cable outlets are discreetly installed in it. Furthermore, the guestrooms feature plush new beds with collegiate-style, cable-knit throws, Pompanoosuc Mills custom furnishings and Gilchrist & Soames bath products. “Official” Dartmouth Green—yes, it’s Pantone Matching System (PMS) 349—is used in key areas throughout the hotel.
But green is more than a color to the property. The Hanover Inn is dedicated to environmental stewardship through various initiatives and programs, including the following: the Clean Plate Club, where all unfinished meals are composted, the compost used to grow plants the Hanover Inn serves in its restaurant; local food sourcing; waste reduction—all paper, plastic, glass and tin are recycled, and recycling waste baskets are available in all guestrooms and public areas; and eco-friendly products and practices, such as water-free urinals in men’s’ public restrooms, which reduces water usage by more than 75,000 gallons/year.