New and Improved: Grove Hotel Rises from the Ashes

For two seasons now Cherry Grove has lived without the Grove Hotel, a longtime fixture of downtown. The new, improved Grove Hotel however, owned by the Liguori family and currently very much a work-in-progress, should be in operation this summer.
On March 27, 2015, an early morning fire burning on Holly Walk for more than five hours engulfed the Grove Hotel but spared its Ice Palace nightclub, pool, hotel office, Rainbow Dreams Gift Shop, and Cherry Grove Pizza below, on the east side of the building. On Holly Walk to its west, Holly House – living quarters to many Grove workers and the Fire Island Artist Residency also burned to the ground – along with two private homes. Duffy’s Hotel, its predecessor that once stood on that same spot, was also claimed by fire on Sept. 27, 1956.
“We hope to be open by the end of July,” said Wendy Lewis, operations manager/comptroller for the Grove Hotel and Ice Palace. She gave us a grand tour of the progress thus far. “Work by electrical and construction workers and plumbers is happening six days a week,” she added.
Why the long delay?
“The Town of Brookhaven kept asking for additional things we were not aware of,” Wendy explained. “The Ice Palace’s sprinkler system and the cesspool area, east of the hotel, for example which were previously considered up to code, were suddenly held to new standards. Also, the power lines had to be moved by PSEG, and the phone lines had to be relocated by Verizon.”
A special variance was granted by the Town of Brookhaven to enlarge the footprint by a total of 20 feet on the north and south sides. The new Grove Hotel will have 64 rooms, actually one less than what the previous structure had. All rooms in the earlier building measured 13 by 13 feet. The new structure will boast eight larger suites, designed to accommodate four guests apiece. Each room will have a telephone, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and pressure-balanced plumbing valves.
The second floor, still very much under construction and presently appearing to lead to nowhere, will soon house Juliet balconies, their names inspired by Shakespeare. Central hallways will replace the old roofed breezeways, and be protected by video security. Three triangular peaks now cap the structure, making for an interesting new feature in the Grove skyline. An ADA ramp will also be incorporated into the design.
Not unlike the song from “Hello Dolly,” it will be nice to have this hotel back where she belongs.