Soft summer nights at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor

Delamar Greenwich Harbor. Photos courtesy Delamar Greenwich Harbor.
At the Delamar, the staff treats all the guests as if it’s their wedding day.

Should we have crashed the wedding?

The service had just begun on the tented terrace of l’escale restaurant bar at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor. The elegant Provençal-style, white-on-white interior was festooned with orchid centerpieces. The band was set up. The dance floor was at the ready. And we were in one of our signature pink floral outfits. It would’ve been so easy to take a page out of “The Wedding Crashers,” apologize for being late, tell the bride’s family we’re from the groom’s side, tell the groom’s family that we’re friends of the bride and….

But no. Tempting though it was, there was no reason to crash the wedding, because at the Delamar, the staff treats all the guests as if it’s their wedding day.

We had escaped on a hot Friday for an overnight staycation for one of our occasional features in WAG. Two years ago, we visited The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester in White Plains just as Brexit broke. While England fumed, we luxuriated. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it and it might as well be us. 

We began our Delamar escape with a publicist-friend’s invitation to lunch on l’escale’s terrace. The Delamar’s take on gazpacho, spicy-creamy, whetted the appetite for the grilled tilefish, sautéed spinach and fingerling potatoes. But between courses, Director of Operations David Fletcher had a surprise for us — he always has a surprise for us — a bit of gnocchi in a tasty broth with slivers of summer vegetables. The gnocchi were like teeny pillows on the palate. Make that teeny pillows in 600-thread count pillowcases.

Bouillabaisse at l’escale restaurant bar.

Speaking of which — the room. There are 82 rooms and suites in the Mediterranean-style hotel. Ours had a crisply made king-size bed that immediately beckoned; a generous marble-accented bath with Bulgari Thé Vert products — it had me at Bulgari; and, sigh, a terrace that overlooked the harbor. Oh, to plunge into the bath, to slide into the bed, to sun on the terrace. But one of the things you learn when you’re a writer, is that a staycation is more stay than ‘cation. (Or, as a sassy colleague of ours put it, a glamorous job is only 10 percent glamour.)

So we plugged in our laptop and began banging out another article. Before we knew it, it was time to dress for dinner. Since the wedding was occupying much of the restaurant, we were having dinner in the bar, which is probably the place to be in Greenwich, particularly on a Friday night. It was as if all of the town, having spent the day shopping on Greenwich Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of the Gold Coast, merely rolled down the hill for drinks, dinner and gossip — the men in their Vineyard Vines, the women in short shorts or slinky summer dresses. It was all we could do to peel our eyes away and stay focused on the laptop that we drag everywhere (like Charles Dickens’ Jacob Marley, wearing the chains he forged in life).

But we persisted and, fortunately, we had the collaboration of the waitress and bartender, who surprised us with a sweet virgin passion-fruit cocktail that certainly topped anything from Margaritaville. After a l’escale salad of mixed greens, we savored the Delamar’s take on lobster fra diavolo, just spicy enough, just al dente enough, with the sauce clinging tenderly to the pasta.

We were good. We had only the appetizer portion — and only a skim decaf iced latte for dessert. But there was yet another surprise treat — tiny, freshly made lemon bars. Well, we thought, maybe just one. And it would be a sin to waste the rest, so we’d have to take them back to the room for tea later.

Thus fortified and having finally finished a draft of that story we were laboring over, it was time to exhale and play. We dropped the computer and lemon bars back in the room and sashayed down the walkway that runs past the hotel along the harbor. A fisherman casting off at the end said we looked beautiful — which was certainly good for our ego, but then, who doesn’t look great in pink heels. We paused to watch the sunset bleed periwinkle and rose into the night sky. What’s the old saying, “Red sky at morning, sailors’ warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight”? The sky boded well for our boat ride the next day.

We clomped along a shaded path enveloped in all the leafy mystery of a summer night, then slowed along Steamboat Road as we headed back to the hotel, admiring all the handsome mid-19th century houses — with their mansard roofs, wraparound porches and gables — that face the bay.

And then we did something we almost never do. We sat down outside the hotel, facing the harbor and did — well, nothing. Nearby, a sailboat rocked back and forth. Small motorboats plied the water, their red and green lights perhaps not the orgastic light at the end of Daisy’s dock in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” but filling us nonetheless with a longing akin to that in the great Platters’ song “Harbor Lights.”

It was a soft summer night, the kind Frank Sinatra always sang about. Couples walking hand in hand smiled and said, “Hello.” An older gentleman stopped to talk about the hotter weather on the horizon.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, so you might as well enjoy it,” he said. Words to live by.

After a time, we went in to make a cup of caffeine-free berry tea at the cappuccino machine in The Library. It took us a moment or two to figure out that you had to put the cup under the hot water dispenser and press the button that said, miraculously, “hot water” to make tea, but we got the hang of it. Repairing to our room with the tea, we showered, changed and set ourselves up on the balcony for another go-round with that story we were working on. With the light coming only from our computer, the harbor and the stars, we wrote until the early morning hours, listening to the laughing voices below. Like them, we didn’t want the night to end. 

We forced ourselves to go to bed, though, for the next morning was a big one — our boat ride around the harbor, courtesy of the Delamar. After the complimentary continental breakfast, we grabbed our umbrella — to help ward off Mr. Sun — and headed for the dock, where Capt. Tony Glenister and a gay couple celebrating their 21st anniversary together were graciously waiting for us. As we headed out, Tony pointed out the terraced mansions that line the waterfront, including the property that once belonged to the Roebling family — creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was Cold Spring-born Emily Warren Roebling who oversaw the bridge’s completion, after her father-in-law, John, died of tetanus and her husband, Washington, died of caisson disease. Their former Greenwich home slopes down to a miniature Brooklyn Bridge.

As we glided around the harbor, past an island that serves as a daytrip for ferrying beachgoers, one of the husbands told us about their anniversary getaway at the Delamar. The couple, with homes in New Jersey and Israel, had enjoyed shopping on the avenue, a couple’s massage at the Delamar Spa and chatting with executive chef Frederic Kieffer while eating his mahi-mahi. For them, it had been a perfect experience.

Mine was about to come to a close. After bidding my boating companions farewell and taking a short walk to the Bruce Museum, I headed to the bar for a scrumptious lunch of shrimp pappardelle and sports talk with director of operations Fletcher, like us a big New York Yankees fan. Then it was on to the Spa and its Beautiful Nails suite where Valentina Gonzalez gave me an expert mani-pedi with Essie’s Mademoiselle (pale pink, natch) and Russian Roulette (fire engine red) respectively. We talked makeup tips and I tried not to stare at the famous Greenwich resident who was having her nails done beside me.

Spa supervisor Stephanie Torres administers a facial.

Nope, sorry, I can’t name her. Professional ethics. And sorry, too, I was to leave the Delamar. But I had such a good time that I was happy to return home. I have my memories — of a Sinatra night, harbor lights and Russian Roulette. And I have my hopes of another lunch, another spa visit — and maybe even a wedding.

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