MYSTIC — Change is happening just around the corner in the newly-renovated lobby of the Whaler’s Inn.
With large windows looking out on the drawbridge, the new space, located at 1 Cottrell St., opened on March 23 and offers comfortable couches, a working fireplace and coffee and tea for hotel guests.
As of Tuesday, the inn also gained the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a tavern license, which will allow wine and beer to be served in the lobby, an amenity that will be charged to hotel guests’ rooms and will not be available to the public.
The location was the home of Mallove’s of Mystic, which has moved to 3 Holmes St.
Public reaction to the new space has been favorable, said Amanda Arling, general manager of the inn.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive from new guests that are coming to our guests that come back year after year, and just from the community and residents and friends from the town,” she said. “Residents, local business owners, restaurateurs will just stop by and say hi. With that fireplace, they pop in to warm up on their walk, especially with the cold days we’ve had.”
People in the neighborhood continue to express support of the change, said Amy Munoz, director of sales and operations.
“We’ve had people knocking on the window, giving up two thumbs-up and stopping in just to say hi and congratulations,” she said Tuesday.
Behind the scenes, the inn also more changes in progress.
“We’re also renovating our historic 1865 house, doing a major renovation on seven of the guest rooms,” said Munoz. “It will have a little bit more of a classic feel, being a Victorian home, so we’re going with richer, darker woods in that building, a more historic type of feel with the colors, but still the same refreshed feel.”
The 1865 house will reopen in the beginning of June, Munoz said.
The hotel will also open its own eatery after Bravo Bravo Restaurant moves across the street to its own building. The inn’s restaurant will likely serve three meals a day, offer room service and provide for gatherings like rehearsal dinners and conferences.
The inn also purchased John’s Tavern, at 9 Cottrell St., in December but neither Arling nor Munoz would reveal the property’s next incarnation.
“We’re still considering our options,” said Arling.
In the meantime, the old lobby, located around the corner at 20 East Main St., is now under renovations.
“We want to be able to offer more common space for our guests so we’re planning on turning the old lobby into a library of sorts, just another nice area for a person to drink their coffee in the morning, read the newspaper, play games with their family,” Arling said.
The new lobby not only provides more usable space for the hotel workers and guests, but it also gives the inn a greater connection to downtown Mystic, said Arling.
“We really only moved about 200 feet but we’re a world away and really in the heart of downtown,” she said.