Saturday, October 31, 2009


It looks like it'll be just a few more days...literally...we plan on opening our doors on Tuesday, November 3rd. Odd day of the week to open, right? Friday or Saturday would make more sense, but in fact, we've been waiting so long for this day, and we have so many people who really want to see the building ablaze with lights, flavorful scents permeating the Restaurant, and good conversation emanating from the gathering rooms, that we decided to open early in the week.

The good news is that we will open the ENTIRE building, from guest suites, to Restaurant, to Bar, to the Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. The Rat). No Phase 2, no more waiting.

Let us know if you'd like to drop by and share in
this "soft" opening. You can reach us at 908.996.3200. Our website should be up by next Tuesday to match the brick-and-mortar opening with a virtual opening: Visit it on Tuesday...

Monday, October 26, 2009


Another day, another story. But this one is not a story about being brought down by the day's workload or about having a bad day at work. It's a typical day at The National Hotel. Often, it starts after we wind down for dinner.

I had just finished putting my girls to bed a little bit ago, and as I went through my emails, pending files, and numerous lists of "things-to-do," I came across an email that made me realize that I had to stop and blog.

It was a long Monday. Really. Pete worked tirelessly to get the building looking its best today.

We ripped up the carpeting on the stairs and put down new carpeting--check out the pumpkin pine floors and the beautiful new carpeting we put down, matching the building's overall theme--

finished some last-minute touches, had the rooms cleaned (again),
and so on and so on...

Then I got an email from a musician who is interested in showcasing his work on our premises--thanks to the email he received from a friend who had stopped by The National Hotel over the weekend, and to whom I had had the pleasure of showing the property. She said to me that she would spread the word and keep our name out in the artist community in case anyone was interested in performing here, but the truth is, that so many people are well-intentioned, but short on time (come on now, you know you've run out of time at least once to respond to an email or a request for information in a timely manner...), and I only met her and her companion on this one occasion, that I am just floored, just absolutely amazed at how many genuine, wonderful, and helpful people I've met since Pete and I purchased The National Hotel. I keep using the word "amazing," but truly, I'm running out of adjectives to describe the awe I feel each night I put my head down on my pillow.

Thank you to my old friends, and thank you to all my new friends. You are AMAZING!

If you happen to know anyone who is interested in performing here, or are yourself an artist, please comment here so that I may reach out to you in the near future. Thanks in advance!


Another week and each day I say to myself: "I need to share this or that on our blog." There's always one thing that stands out each day, from an issue that we are struggling with --and often, its very simple solution--to major challenges that require brainstorming and strategic approaches. Thank goodness for our friends, our Frenchtown neighbors, and our families, who always turn up at all the right moments with words of encouragement, sage advice, and plain old sweat equity. The Rat is just about ready!

I had the most amazing day yesterday, being visited by a new friend who found me after reading about us after reading a press story about the removal of the wooden boards off the front of the building at the beginning of our journey with The National Hotel. She made the time to travel to Frenchtown to meet us!!!

She brought her daughter and as we gave her a tour of The National Hotel, she said that following this blog had given her a glimpse of how we were bringing back the beauty of this historic building, and that seeing it in person gave her confirmation of what she already envisioned.

We're meeting such incredible people, who make the time out of their busy lives to just stop in to say, "Keep up the good're almost there!" and "Terrific. We can't wait for you to open. Glad you're taking the time to do it right." Wow.

It's so easy to stay focused on the little things, the little problems and issues that one grapples with daily, but to hear people whom you've never met before say things like that, just pulls you right out of the micro and into the larger picture, the fact that this old historic building really means something to so many people. It holds memories, it holds tangible moments in time that people treasure.

And what about our friendly business neighbors? They have far exceeded anything I could have imagined. They stop by and encourage us nearly every day. Without exception, every single business owner who has seen us and had the opportunity to speak with us, has welcomed us, has given us words of encouragement, sage advice, and a warmth that is inexplicable. Just last week, the owner of Designs for Tranquility, Russel, came in to bring over some customers and friends of his, so that they could meet us and join our email list to get news of when we'll open. How very kind of him. Can you imagine? He left his shop around the corner, just to walk over his clients and friends to our establishment? Unbelievable!!! Wait until you meet his beautiful wife, Jill--beautiful from the inside out!

Pete and I can only hope to be able to provide our friends, neighbors, and out-of-town guests, with as much warmth, comfort and hospitality as they have experienced, and more. Every time a new person stops by, far from being an interruption from the daily grind, we find it absolutely exhilarating to be able to have an opportunity to chat, to share, to show them around the building. We feel incredibly connected. We feel incredibly blessed.

Do let us know if you'd like to come and see our beautiful building by posting a comment--or just stop by when you're in Frenchtown.

Friday, October 9, 2009


It's been days since I've had a chance to send an update on our progress with the renovations being made to The National Hotel. The transformation has been immense. Little by little, every day there is yet another area that has become a shining visible example of the sweat equity being put into this project.

Amazingly, from ripping up the carpets, painting, refinishing the floors, adding furniture, accessories, etc., slowly but surely, Pete and I feel as though our vision is becoming a reality. And through what sometimes feel like small steps, when you take them all into account, you can truly see some tremendous improvements. Kristine Gryl Marinelli, as usual, flies in and magically moves one thing here, adds some festive accessory and/or decoration there, and voila: visible change and immediate improvement!

We are so grateful for all the help and support we continue to get...I recently received a beautiful card from someone who used to frequent The National Hotel:

Dear D'Costa's,
Yea, yea, yea! I can't tell you how happy I am that you are going to reopen one of my favorite restaurants resulting in super memories.
Yes, my husband and I had many a fine dinner but the best times were with two other gals. On a Sunday we would dutifully take a very strenuous hike and almost count all the calories we had lost. We would then immediately proceed to The National Hotel, sit at the bar, have a couple of Margarita's...Lots of laughs and good times.
Good luck and hope to see you soon.

We can only hope that we will be able to exceed her expectations...and we can't wait to meet her!

If anyone else would like to share any of their past memories of times spent at The National Hotel, do share your comments.