By Colleen Morrison
Imagine the last hotel you stayed in. Now, imagine the art in that hotel. While most typical hotel art is known for being notoriously bad or completely unforgettable, one man is leading the charge to bring amazing, contemporary, worthwhile art to the forefront of the vacation experience. Jeffrey Meier, former owner and curator of The Jeffrey Meier Gallery, is bringing style, sophistication and a place for traveling art enthusiasts to lay their heads in the form of an art lover’s haven-away-from-home with The Raven Art Hotel, slated to host its first guests later this month.
After having owned his namesake gallery on Church St. in Lambertville, NJ for two years, Meier was ready for a completely new outlet through which he could share more of what he loved with the world. He had always dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast; by combining that dream with his art gallery experience, he knew he had found a way to channel his passion for art and the area into an idea perfectly suited for the Delaware River Towns.
As luck would have it, Meier decided to close his gallery and make his move into his next business venture when his best friend Steve Lau bought The Raven with the idea of transforming this popular New Hope inn, bar and lounge into The Raven Resort, a contemporary country club with world-class music and dining. An art-centric bed and breakfast sounded like the perfect addition to the project, so Meier was brought on to bring the concept to life in a long-unused, free-standing house on the property.
“The Hotel is a hybrid between my retail art gallery and a contemporary bed and breakfast,” says Meier. “Our goal is to provide our guests with a completely curated experience of the Delaware River Towns – an insider’s guide to the most stylish and inspired people and places.”
The location of The Raven Art Hotel has had different owners and many lives over the past 40+ years, says Meier, including being the home of a former Raven Resort owner and a bed and breakfast called Cordials for many years. The structure and interior haven’t been touched in decades and needed major renovations to bring it up to date and to fit Meier’s vision of
an inspired retreat for art and design lovers. Contractor Glenn Stephan’s team gutted it and started from scratch.
The final look of the six bedrooms, each equipped with an ensuite bathroom and Juliet balcony, is one of sophisticated simplicity spread out over three floors. The rooms will feature dark hardwood floors, subway-tiled bathrooms with pedestal sinks, lots of windows and natural light, and cozy white beds with Pendleton blankets. Downstairs encompasses a shared kitchen, living room and breakfast room for guests to gather and admire the hand-picked antiques and contemporary art curated by Meier that cover the building from top to bottom and spill outside into the surrounding sculpture garden. Dozens of artists’ work, many locally-based, will be on display as framed originals and sculptures available for sale throughout the rooms and common areas of the Hotel.
Beyond concierge services hosted by Meier himself, guests can enjoy The Raven Resort’s popular bar, dance club with rotating DJs, pool deck, indoor/outdoor dining room, and Oak Room, featuring piano playing and cabaret shows, as well as discounted prices on signature services at neighboring Nurture Spa and Cornerstone Gym. This distinction of being part of a larger resort with nightlife and culture just steps away from the guest rooms sets the Hotel apart from other bed and breakfasts in the area.
“We’re creating a very contemporary version of a country bed and breakfast with lots of personal touches and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere,” says Meier. “Because we sit on the larger Raven Resort property, our guests will have access to lots of special events, live music shows, dinners and outdoor movies. It will be a place where there’s something going on all of the time.”
As his labor of passion nears completion, Meier looks forward to once again sharing his personal style and taste with the River Towns in a new way, one that will fit like a well-sculpted piece into the artistic and culture landscape the area is known for, and hopes visitors will fall in love with the art he, too, adores.
“Our hope is that the hotel and the larger resort will help to reassert New Hope as the formidable creative hub it has historically been,” says Meier. “For decades, places like the Lambertville Music Circus, The Playhouse and Odette’s drew artists, writers, actors and musicians from all over the country to these towns. We want our guests to feel a part of this legacy and to pay it forward.”
The private Grand Opening party, featuring artists, musicians, curators, guests, supporter and friends, is on Thursday, May 12, and the Hotel will be officially open to the public beginning Friday, May 13.
Reservations are being taken now. Call (215) 862-2081 for more information and to reserve a room today. Guests must be 18+. All art pieces showcased at The Raven Art Hotel, which is located at 385 West Bridge Street in New Hope, will be available for sale online at jeffreymeiergallery.com.