CAPE NEDDICK ― The Cliff House Maine resort celebrated the completion of the first of two phases of its large-scale reinvention with an event that doubled down on its Maine locale.
On Oct. 27, visitors experienced a variety of events and experiences, including property tours, a performance by the singing group the Sea Shanties, oyster shucking, drink cocktails and lobster rolls.
Investment firm Rockbridge has partnered with Maine hoteliers Marc Dugas and Peter Anastos along with hotel development company RBHD to revitalize the Cliff House with the purpose of welcoming both travelers and the local community.
“Cliff House has one of the most spectacular settings in all of New England,” noted Jim Merkel, Rockbridge CEO. “We are thrilled to partner with Marc and Peter. Together, we focused on every detail during the renovation and believe the improvements seamlessly add to the charm and character of this wonderful hotel.”
In August 2015, Anastos told the York Planning Board that renovation plans call for making the Cliff House less institutional-looking and more “Maine-like.”
More recently, Cliff House representative Nikki Bock said, “The resort captivates a modern take on authentic, Maine traditions and brings to life a highly anticipated, ground‐breaking coastal vision.”
But it has not always been smooth sailing for renovation plans. At that same August 2015 Planning Board meeting, Cliff House neighbors complained about the height of the Ledges, which would be 56 feet high. Based on the town attorney’s opinion, the Planning Board narrowly approved the renovation of Cliff House’s Ledges building, 3-2, to be constructed higher than 35 feet.
The extensive renovation adds new amenities and enhances existing features throughout, such as fully renovated guestrooms with luxurious and contemporary touches; a reconception of the resort’s restaurants and bars, including a classic Maine lobster shack and a feature restaurant showcasing locally sourced cuisine; a new 4,300-square-foot ballroom; and a new full-service spa and fitness center. The resort will have more than 25,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, catering to modern corporate events, meetings and weddings.
Currently operating with 132 guest rooms, each with terraces overlooking Bald Head Cliff and expansive water views, the resort will debut additional guest rooms and suites next summer, bringing the total count to over 225.
For the first time since welcoming guests in 1872, the property will remain open year-round, offering more job opportunities for area workers as well as catering to local patrons.
“We want to be inclusive of everybody in our local community,” Dugas said. “We don’t want to have a gate. We want people to come from blocks away and do the Cliff Walk, and sit down for dinner or a cocktail on the patio, and use the facility. It’s here.”