Seaside luxury, history and green technology intermingle comfortably in the new Stone House hotel and resort on Sakonnet Point. The stone mansion built by entrepreneur and Civil War hero David Sisson in 1854 has been completely restored and updated under the direction of its new owners, Craig Pishotti and Zachary Miller.
Seaside luxury, history and green technology intermingle comfortably in the new Stone House hotel and resort on Sakonnet Point.
The stone mansion built by entrepreneur and Civil War hero David Sisson in 1854 has been completely restored and updated under the direction of its new owners, Craig Pishotti and Zachary Miller.
In 2007 the business partners bought the historic stone mansion, which has been an inn since the 1950s, and began an extensive multi-million dollar overhaul. The property consists of a rustic tavern and 10 hotel rooms and suites in the stone mansion and an additional 3 luxury suites, an upscale restaurant and a holistic spa in the repurposed barn.
Hotel guests will also have access to two private beaches on Round Pond Road, which borders the property, and a captained 59-foot Hinckley yacht with restaurant service.
Set on a vista overlooking Round Pond and the ocean beyond it, the Stone House’s renovation included restoration of the glass rooftop cupola and the wrap-around porches, which were destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938.
The rooms in the stone mansion have been painstakingly restored and reconfigured from the previous inn to create additional rooms and suites. Several rooms have access to their own private portions of the porch and the cupola was incorporated into the Lantern Room, which has a spiral staircase leading up to the Lucite floor in the cupola. “To me this would be the ultimate place for an engagement,” Pishotti said.
“You could also have an in-room spa service here.”
A formal living room with an Eastlake period fireplace is now the David Sisson suite and raised stars that were once on the ceiling of the ballroom now adorn the Star suite. The Barry suite offers one of the most panoramic views with access to three sides of the wrap-around porch. A soapstone fireplace and an egg-shaped Italian tub in the center of the huge bathroom add to the ambience in that suite. Every room and suite was designed uniquely with different décor, spa tubs and showers.
“I’m really proud of the restoration,” Pishotti said. “It’s a blend of the old and the new.”
While they sought to maintain the serenity and tranquility of the area, they also didn’t leave behind the modern conveniences. Every room is equipped with iPod docking stations, Bose surround sound, WiFi and iTouch to download movies.
The basement of the house, rumored to be a taproom during Prohibition, is the site of one of two restaurants on the property.
Named 1854 after the year the house was built, the tavern will serve reasonably priced, updated versions of classic comfort food. The classic New England tavern with an original stone fireplace and a basement view of the ocean, is expected to be completed in mid-July.
Pishotti said they hired nationally recognized chef Paul Wade as executive chef overseeing 1854 and the more upscale restaurant, Pietra, after holding “Top Chef”-style interviews with chefs from across the country. “His food is brilliant. It’s authentic and genuine,” said Pishotti.
Pietra, Italian for “stone,” is a contemporary, chic restaurant with stunning views of the mansion’s property and ocean from its stone patio and glass walls. Wade, a proponent of local, seasonal fare, has crafted an imaginative and inspiring menu based around local produce, seafood, meat, poultry and cheese.
The barn also houses three contemporary luxury suites: osprey, heron and plover, named for the seabirds that dot the nearby shore. Miller, an architect and Rhode Island School of Design graduate, called on fellow RISD graduate, Denise Schmidt to design quilts for the hotel rooms. The sleek, modern suites in the barn feature private balconies, spa soaking tubs and gas-fired fireplaces.
The quilts, along with work from local artists Tiffany Peay and Amy Lund, will be for sale in the resort’s Goosewing Spa. Peay designed a gemstone ring that will be sold exclusively in the spa store.
Spa director Alfredo Madero, who most recently headed up the spa at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, said they called upon the beauty of Little Compton and the history of the Stone House in shaping the natural, holistic direction of the Goosewing Spa. Mornings begin with yoga sun salutations on the beach, lawn or outdoor yoga deck depending on the preference of the hotel guests. They’ll also offer tai chi and pilates classes. Guided meditation will be offered in the afternoon and Madero said he’s planning on bringing nationally recognized spiritual leaders to speak at the resort.
“We want to enhance the connection between mind, body and spirit,” said Madero.
A winding uphill labyrinth of stone and sea glass leads guests from the stone mansion to the entrance to the spa. Madero said the purpose of the one-directional labyrinth is to start the process of centering spa guests. The four-stage spa ritual involves a foot soak and cleansing at the entrance to the spa, followed by an aromatherapy soak, massage and treatments to cleanse, detoxify and restore the body.
The high-tech spa tables are equipped with colored chakra lighting, which Madero says is used to restore the body’s seven channels of energy. Four points of acoustics on the tables are also meant to enhance the restorative effect.
Madero selected two natural product lines, seasonal plant-based and locally produced Farmaesthetics and marine-based Osea for the spa.
“They’re two of the most natural, sustainable products made in the United States,” Madero said.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Properties, the renovations maintained the architectural integrity of the historic home’s exterior while integrating green technology.
Reclaimed timber from the barn was used on the bars and tables; slate on the roof of the stone mansion was cataloged and reinstalled. The heating and cooling system relies on geothermal technology and 100 percent of the lighting comes from solar panels.
Miller and Pishotti met while in a bidding war for a Little Compton residence. Miller ended up with the property and Pishotti eventually bought the house next door. Pishotti, a graduate of Cornell University with extensive background in the hotel and resort industry, became friends and eventually business partners with Miller, forming the Goosewind Resort and Hotel Corporation. They worked on the restoration of the Weekapaug Inn in Westerly and this is their first ownership venture.
It’s no mistake that the hotel garnered a highly sought mention in the June issue of Vogue magazine under the “People are Talking About” heading: The owners are marketing the upscale resort nationally as well as targeting an audience within a three-hour drive from areas such as New York, Boston and Connecticut’s wealthy Fairfield County.
But Pishotti said they’re hoping to appeal to a broad range of customers, particularly with the two restaurants. As a resident of the area, Pishotti said the restaurants are a needed addition in a town with too few places to eat.
“The prices at 1854 are reasonable enough for people to eat there a few times a week, and Pietra’s a little more refined and upscale,” Pishotti said.
The hotel and Pietra are scheduled to be open on July 1 and Pishotti said the tavern 1854 is slated to be completed in mid-July.
Reservations at Pietra are recommended. For more information, call 401-635-2222 or log on to www.stonehouse1854.com.
The Herald News