The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a Newport, RI brand worth visiting

by Karen Post, on April 23, 2012

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This past week I had the pleasure of visiting Rhode Island. I was in Warwick for a workshop on self-esteem and business effectiveness. If you’ve not checked out my other blog (it’s geared to general branding and entrepreneurial topics) you should take a visit. I try to share some interesting stories, business lessons and life/balance tips.

Since my meeting was just one day and I was so close to Newport, I decided to relocate my working office to The Chanler at Cliff Walk and extend my stay. I love being a free wheeling and spirited entrepreneur, because as long as there is electricity I can not only work, but experience some great adventures. And Newport was that and more.

Here’s a few trip highlights and some note worthy hospitality and restaurant branding ideas.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk is a magical place to stay. The 20 guest room mansion was built in 1873 and was originally a private home for the then New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler. During the next century, the property would transform many times from military housing to a school to a museum and then a hotel.

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In June 2000 Detroit businessman John Shufelt purchased the property and subsequently closed the hotel to embark on an extensive three year renovation and refurbishment to the building. Shufelt and his wife Jeanie sought to bring attention to the history and original elegance of the mansion, while at the same time creating a luxury hotel and restaurant experience as this had not been seen before in New England. The hotel reopened in 2003 in its current format as The Chanler at Cliff Walk.

The hotel is exquisite. The service was consummate and the branded experience divine.

Granted, I was not there during high season, but the cost was a lot less than I would have expected for such a gem. For under $300, my room included a full breakfast for two in the Spicy Pear Restaurant, lavish French country styled accommodations with a fireplace, a second level lavatory fit for a Queen or in my case Diva, heated floor tiles and a Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. Leaving this hotel made me very sad. I’ll fix that and be back soon.

The Chanler hotel leadership and team get branding. Every touch point is perfectly aligned to its historic charm and promise of modern luxury and comfort. But what I most applaud them for is how they brand their restaurant the Spicy Pear and created such an important asset to the entire experience.

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When I arrived on Wednesday awaiting me in my room was a hand written welcome note from the management team and chocolate covered pear.

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The next morning, it was breakfast at the Spicy Pear. The ocean view was framed by the grand open-air kitchen, elegant chandeliers and understated visual reminders of a pear, from the menus design to pear inspired dishes and drinks to the simple signage to delicate accessories through out the bar and dining room.

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This Chanler on Cliff Walk and Spicy Pear restaurant leverage their unique essence on every touch point with grace and smart marketing. From their interactive website and well trained staff, to small details like the postcard art-like business cards, and even the bond leather book in the lobby, the hotelier tells a story you won’t soon forget. Bravo! To a well-done Brand!

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Later in the week, I will give you 3-4 other Newport, RI restaurant spots that I experienced. I’ll share some cool marketing and branding ideas and one big brand killing mistake that one sad restaurant committed. In fact, it was so crazy and anti-customer loving, I’m still steaming about it. Stay tuned. . .

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Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm and filed under Business plan for a restaurant business, Customer service, Publicity, Restaurant branding, restaurant branding reviews, Restaurant reviews.