Although River House at Odette’s in New Hope, Pa., finally started welcoming guests in fall 2020, its path to opening was most definitely fraught. As Ron Gorodesky, president and CEO of the hotel management company Refined Hospitality, which creates and manages high-end properties like River House at Odette’s, describes, “Speaking strictly from a business standpoint, COVID was just a speed bump compared to other things we had to endure to get this project open. From the start, there were setbacks and challenges,” he says. There were also extra costs related to its location—on the water—and place in the town’s heart and history.
“Even before breaking ground, there were soft costs, such as attorney, engineering, and architecture fees. Then, too, the closer you are to water, the more stakeholders there are; in this case that included the Army Corp of Engineers and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Add to that historical organizations, canal preservation, and earning the approval of our neighbors.”
Yet, he says, they knew there would be no better time to proceed. “We were prepared to deal with and pay for roadblocks, knowing it will only be harder in the future.” And, of course, they were confident it would all be worth it in the end.
Although the opening of River House at Odette’s has coincided with the COVID pandemic, Gorodesky remains optimistic. ROOF, which is open only to guests and those who purchase a membership, is already oversubscribed—possibly because it offers heated outdoor dining now considered safest during the pandemic. “We had a vision of creating a hotel unlike most in the U.S.—one with the kind of whimsy that would inspire people and attract them to the town as well as the property.”
Gorodesky connected with LODGING to talk about what goes into these hotels and how they are primed for success, even during a global pandemic. Read the full story here.