New Hope, Pennsylvania is one of those ultra-charming towns that’s picture-perfect for an East Coast weekend getaway, especially since many of us are only comfortable traveling by car, if at all, at the moment. The town is perched right on the Delaware River, and has long been known for its lively arts scene, cozy restaurants and eclectic shops. And now, the town has its first true luxury hotel, with the opening of River House at Odette’s.
The new hotel is situated right on the waterfront, so all the public spaces and rooms have river views. River House opened its doors September, and even though it’s a brand-new construction, the stylish hotel still recognizes its predecessor, Chez Odette.
French actress Odette Myrtil opened Chez Odette, a cabaret and piano bar, in 1961, and garnered a very loyal following of both locals and out-of-towners. In later years, however, Chez Odette was repeatedly due to its proximity to the Delaware River, and eventually shuttered its doors in 2006. The site remained closed for several years, until River House took its place.
The hotel knows its roots, and aside from the name, River House also features a chandelier from the original building that dates back to the early 1900s, as well as a piano bar and mementos including sheet music and menus. The hotel combines the comfort and sophistication that luxury travelers seek, while still remaining a comfortable and cozy local spot that embraces its past and the surrounding area.
Here’s everything you need to know about the luxurious new waterfront hotel in New Hope.**
The hotel is composed of just 36 rooms.
The entire hotel is comprised of just 36 rooms, including 12 suites. The rooms are decorated in a neutral tan, grey, green and purple color palette, with ecru leather paneling and comfy velvet chairs, while the suites are a touch less modern, with stacked-stone fireplaces and wooden accent tables. River House is adding two new keys this year, though, as the hotel is finishing up work on the two Residences, which are much larger accommodations situated in a separate building. If you’re contemplating a trip to River House this spring, rates for rooms range from $419 all the way to $1,900.
Take in the waterfront view while dining at Odette’s.
The main restaurant is the aptly named Odette’s; it’s an ode to the erstwhile cabaret owner, but with a modern twist. The eatery is furnished with gem-toned turquoise velvet banquettes and bar stools, as well as leather dining chairs and modern light fixtures. The wood-beamed ceilings and exposed brick accent walls give the space a cozy, loft-y vibe, all of which you can take in while tasting a seasonal menu with dishes that range from escargot to cherry-glazed duck breast to gigli pasta, though we recommend considering one of the many types of steak offered. There’s also the option to dine outside, on the patio at Odette’s Overlook, which offers an impressive view fo the water and is outfitted with many a heat lamp and an outdoor fireplace, making it ideal for the current social distancing restaurant scenario.
Or head to the Piano Lounge for a cocktail vibe.
If you’re interested in more of a cocktail bar atmosphere for smaller bites and drinks, settle into a cushy leather couch in the Piano Lounge, which features a massive stone fireplace, cow-print accent stools and, of course, a large piano, so you can listen to live music while sipping on your drink of choice. The cocktail menu has a rather impressive variety of beverages, including a particularly decadent apéritif with Sparkling Brut Crémant, Bacardi Silver, Giffard Crème de Fraise Liquor and fresh strawberries that’s appropriately dubbed “Our Leading Lady, Odette Myrtil.” There are also plenty of seasonal options, like the array of spiked hot cocoa-inspired drinks for winter.
The most exclusive invitation is to the member’s-only rooftop club.
Guests at River House also get access to the exclusive Prohibition-inspired member’s-only club, Roof, which is located on the very top floor of the hotel and reached via a special access key. The indoor-outdoor spot features a different seasonal menu than the restaurants downstairs, with an emphasis on the craft cocktails. And while we definitely recommend testing out one of the original beverages on the menu, the bar also makes what might be the best gin martini for miles.
Definitely make the most of your guest access to Roof, as at the moment, membership applications are closed. Last we checked, there were over 500 people on the waitlist.
The erstwhile owner’s influence is especially prominent in the love note-covered ballroom.
The dreamy 200-person ballroom is a true homage to Odette Myrtil, as the walls are entirely covered in love notes from the French actress’ personal collection. Aside from the romantic billet-doux, the ballroom also boasts an indoor-outdoor aesthetic with glass doors that open out to a terrace overlooking the Delaware River.
Stroll through the town of New Hope to get a feel for the impressive arts scene.
The picturesque riverfront town has long-attracted a big arts scene. “It’s always been a magnet for people in the arts,” Carol Cruickshanks, the executive director of New Hope Arts, told Observer during a recent stroll through the town. “It’s charming here. People come here and really enjoy the ambiance of the place, and there’s a long history of artists choosing to come here and work here.” Part of Cruickshanks’ mission is to make sure that the town retains its art-y roots, through initiatives like the long-running New Hope Arts Center Outdoor Sculpture Project, which features an array of free public art exhibited throughout the city, which visitors and locals alike can take in simply by walking through New Hope. The artwork included ranges in scope from a sculpture of three dancing women surrounded by flowers to an absolutely massive creature dubbed “Boomer” by Dana Stewart, which started out as a temporary installation in 2003 but was so beloved by the town that it’s now a permanent fixture.
And you must go on a ghost tour for the true New Hope experience.
New Hope is always charming, but we recommend heading there when it’s warm enough out that you can stroll through the town and make the most of the historic spots, and that includes the all-important ghost tour. We suggest signing up for a tour courtesy of Adele Gamble’s Ghost Tours of New Hope; she’s a true expert, and has been leading the tours since the early 1980s. You can join one of the group tours for just $10 from June through mid-November, or you can opt for a private tour (which we definitely recommend) so you can get the VIP ghost tour treatment. It’s the perfect just-spooky-enough experience, complete with lanterns, tales of the friendly phantom hitchhiking ghost and a little history lesson, too.
** Safety and cleanliness are still the top concerns when going outside your home right now, so no matter where you’re heading, remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. The pandemic is not over, and we urge everyone to check the CDC website for the most recent and relevant information and guidelines for any kind of travel during the COVID-19 crisis.