Hotel Blue Blends Victorian Charm with a Trendy Flair
The stunning view of an elegant Victorian-style hotel is among the vivid memories that drew me back to Lewes, DE. I was standing on the pier at Memorial Park when I looked across the canal and noticed the classic façade of Hotel Blue gracing the harbor, demanding my attention. I was only in town for a few hours, but I knew that someday I’d return to explore this historic seaport and that I’d stay at that hotel.
I arrived at the Victorian gem mid-afternoon, imagining a cozy mayhem of potpourri, bric-a-brac and other turn-of-the century fancies. But the hotel isn't the time capsule I envisioned; there is nary a fussy tassel or doily in site.
Inside, Hotel Blue is trendy, chic and invigorating with whimsical elements that are a big hit with guests. Its sleek architecture, vibrant furnishings, lively local art, and a glittering cobalt blue-tiled lobby desk gave the day a second breath. It was just the tonic I needed after a delightfully exhausting afternoon of exploring this charming town. For an extra nudge, there’s an espresso machine tucked in a corner of the lobby. There would be no tea sipping here for me; but it is available for guests who prefer it. A huge bowl of fresh fruit graced a nearby coffee table.
Local hoteliers Scott and Donna de Kuyper opened Hotel Blue, which also hosts residential condos and retail space, in 2007. Scott had owned the popular Anglers Motel on the sight for nearly a decade before it was torn down in 2003. With an extensive background in design, his vision was to blend a coastal Victorian hotel, to embody the town's old world charm, with a voguish vibe. "It was an exciting challenge that took a lot of work and creativity. We’re close to the beach, and I want guests to experience a relaxed, shore-side feeling without being too obvious," he said. Scott pulled in a few natural elements, such as the curvy architecture of golden sand-colored walls, but don’t expect to be overwhelmed with seashells. You can, however, anticipate a bit of drama. Donna, an actress who has performed on Broadway, said there’s a theatrical flair to the hotel. So get ready to applaud when the lights go down.
Hotel Blue offers 16 spacious, yet cozy, suites, each with a fireplace, comfy sofa and chair, bookcase, flat-screen TV and dining area. All rooms have a private balcony, and several overlook the Lewes-Rehoboth canal. Rooms are decorated in jewel tones or restful shades of sea, sand and sky. If you’re looking for romance, consider the tower suites which offer magnificent sunset views.
In my quarters, French doors led to a snug alcove with a queen-size bed, accented with a satin beach ball pillow, and a large mirror that cleverly flips into another TV. Saltwater taffy on the night stand greeted my sweet tooth. While the suite’s main areas are painted in earth tones, a sea-green hallway takes guests to a little nook with gourmet coffee, sink, microwave and fridge. Just a few more steps and you enter an ultra cool, ocean-blue bathroom with high-end toiletries and spa robes. But it’s the vanity here that steals the show with its double, crackle-glass sinks that echo the pearly iridescence of a seashell. Come night, the sinks shine with dramatic blue lights! I applauded with a smile of surprise.
Settling in, as I chilled a nice Riesling, the ice bucket started to glow, changing from bubble gum pink to lime green, sort of like the lava lamps of my youth. Another round of applause! Donna said, “The glow of these dramatic elements are my favorite. I guess that’s the theater in me.” Scott added, “They surprise our guests and elevate their experience. They’re fun elements, but not something they’d typically have in their own homes.”
When traveling, I have a “key” priority. Once I’ve settled in for a stay, I don’t want to see my car keys until I leave. Hotel Blue offers that luxury along with free parking; its ideal location makes it a great base to explore the quaint town which dates back to a Dutch settlement in 1631. The canal, a gateway to Delaware Bay and on to the Atlantic Ocean, divides this popular shore destination. The hotel is on the beach side, along with the marina and a few restaurants. Just a block away, a drawbridge takes you to boutiques, antique shops, historic homes, bakeries, museums and more restaurants where you can savor the local flavors.
My room offered such a unique mix of coziness and energy that I was tempted to stay in. Besides that, the rooftop pool was calling my name, not to mention the Riesling. But my adventurous spirit had other plans and so did a rumbling tummy. Earlier in the day, I had an incredible lunch at Striper Bites, a nautical bistro, and thought about returning for dinner. But along the way, I stumbled upon Taste of Italy, a mom and pop deli, and decided to grab a quick bite (a delicious choice), explore a bit more and chat with the locals.
Come sundown, I was strolling through the grave markers in St. Peter’s Churchyard which sits in the town’s center. Some might find this a bit eerie, but here you can listen to the celebrated heartbeat of the town’s history. An elderly gentlemen, eager for conversation, saw me lingering by the weathered tombstone of a river pilot. “You know, we’re the first town in the first state,” he boasted and then went on to share the colorful history and lore of the fishing port. He also mentioned the spectacular sunrises at Herring Point, a popular surfing site along the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Henlopen State Park. “It’s only five minutes from town and worth the drive,” he assured.
Returning to the hotel, I was welcomed with brilliant blue lights shining from the balconies. The same blue lights glowed in a portion of the lobby that I failed to notice earlier. This peaceful area, with sofas the colors of old lace and smoky blue-grey, beckons guests to sit by the fireside. A bronze monk statue adds a contemplative energy to the room, even when he’s up to mischief. Donna enjoys dressing him in costume for the holidays; soon, he’ll transform into a leprechaun.
A few feet away, the striking contrast of tangerine, lemon, lime, and blue décor gives a welcoming sense of balance. I grabbed an apple and went to my room. The private balcony was quite tempting, but I chose to bring the Riesling to the rooftop pool where I curled into a blue-stripped sofa. Sipping my wine, I watched the night unfold amid the twinkling harbor lights below.
Come morning, well before sunrise, I fixed myself an espresso and walked along the marina, listening to the screeching cries of sea birds and watching fishing boats leave for the day’s catch. It was still dark when I returned to the hotel, fixed myself another espresso and headed to Herring Point. Within minutes, I reached my destination. A short walk through pine trees brought me to the dunes. A few surfers were already paddling into the waves. Others arrived as sunrise splashed its amber-orange glow upon the horizon. The old gentleman was right; the sunrise was absolutely spectacular!
Back in my room, I brewed a cup of coffee and started packing for my next destination. Lewes is a hard place to leave. This little fishing village offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the simplicity of a bygone era, to connect to the past. And Hotel Blue offers a state-of the art haven where guests can rejuvenate the spirit and connect to themselves; it’s a work of art that deserves a standing ovation.
For more information, visit Hotel Blue's website HERE.