What happened to The Wilmingtonian?
ARRIVE Hotels and Restaurants has acquired the Wilmingtonian. We are going to reopen the hotel as ARRIVE Wilmington, which will part of the ARRIVE family of hotels that we launched in Palm Springs, CA, in 2016. We’re also going to add a café and bar on the corner that will be geared towards the local community.
What are you doing to the place?
Most of our work involves re-landscaping the property and building out the new café and bar. We're going to restore the property to its historic look, with the facades returned to their early 20th century designs. And we're going to make the property feel more open to the surrounding neighborhood, with a vibe that’s as welcoming to our neighbors as it is to our out-of-town guests.
With the guest rooms, we'll be converting some of the apartment-style units to studios and upgrading all the rooms to have nicer finishes, furniture and bathrooms. There will still be several one-bedroom suites available if you enjoyed those in the past.
But we loved The Wilmingtonian. Why change it?
We loved it too - that’s why we bought it. We think our improvements will make it even better for all the reasons that made it such a great place to begin with. We think it’s such a beautiful property that it should be shared more with those who live in the area. And some of the fixtures and furniture in the rooms needed some updating.
You sure you’re not going to ruin the property?
So who are you guys again? What’s your deal?
We’re ARRIVE Hotels and Restaurants. We’re a hospitality development and management group based in Los Angeles that creates what we call “neighborhood hotels" built around restaurants, bars, shops and outdoor spaces catering to the local community. We think hotels should be a meeting ground for locals and travelers, so we want our neighbors to feel welcome to eat, drink and hang out. We think that makes our hotels great places for visitors who truly want to experience the local flavor of the place they’re visiting.
Our first hotel opened in Palm Springs in 2016. This will be our second property to open, although we have additional ARRIVE hotels on track to open in Austin, Phoenix and Memphis in 2019.
When are you going to reopen?
We’re moving as fast as we can to have the property back online quickly, since we know no one likes looking at construction fencing.
So, when exactly?
We’ll keep you posted when we have a good sense of our target opening.
So, like November, December?
Who’s your general contractor?
We’re using our friends at Old School Rebuilder & Co.
Can I make a booking now?
Not quite yet. We’ll put out a release when reservations are open. You can also sign up for announcements from us [here].
Are you going to do weddings or parties?
Yeah, we're totally down to host weddings, parties, corporate retreats and other groups. You can hold events on property or just use us as a base camp for your party. With our large courtyard, the new café and bar, and our proximity to a number of the city's most popular wedding venues and destinations, we think we'll have a lot to offer groups who need fun, open places to hang out.
What kind of cafe/bar are you going to have?
We’re still working on that, but we will be adding an outdoor patio, and we'll be making good use of the property’s beautiful courtyard for those enjoying a drink, snack or meal.
Wait, where is there room for a café there?
You know that building on the corner of Dock Street and S. 2nd Street. with the old lobby and the area next to it that had a couple parking spaces and their trash enclosure?
Well, they had that building on the corner of Dock Street and S. 2nd Street with the old lobby and the area next to it that had a couple parking spaces and their trash enclosure. We’re ripping that out and converting that space into a kitchen, bar and seating area, and then we're going to build out a patio in that small courtyard next to it.
So where will the lobby be?
We don't have lobbies at ARRIVE hotels. Guests will be able to check in at the bar,
At the bar? Do I get a free drink when I check in?
Yeah, you do.
Really? I was joking.
Yeah, really. Why else would we put check-in at the bar [smiley]?
So what's the vibe going to be like? Are you going to be really noisy?
No, it won’t be that kind of place. There are plenty of bars just a couple blocks over for the rowdy crowd. We'll be there often. But at our spot, we like to think of ourselves as a more mellow, social place where you’d love to be a regular if you live nearby and you'd feel like you're blending in with the local crowd if you’re visiting from further afield.
What’s the deal with the elephant?
There’s a great story about the property getting trashed by a runaway circus elephant named Topsy in 1920. Back then, it was a fabric dying shop (which apparently was a thing [link] in those days). Topsy saw her reflection in the glass storefront and charged into it thinking it was another elephant. She then got stuck in the store for a couple days, spraying fabric dye everywhere and badly damaging everything, before the circus wranglers finally coaxed her out.
With such a great piece of local lore tied to the property, we felt we had to find a way to pay homage to Topsy’s story. So keep an eye out for various artifacts and references when we reopen.
You can read a newspaper account of the whole fiasco from when it happened here [link].
We know, right?
Why would it take two days to get an elephant out of the building?
Well, clearly you know nothing of the ins and outs of elephant wrangling.
Like you do?
Boy, do we.
Well now I have lots more questions...
Shoot an email at email@example.com, and we'd be happy to hear any questions, comments or ideas you have for us.