Yes, Virginia! Stepping into the lobby of the completely reinvigorated Virginia Hotel on Jackson Street is like walking into an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Bold reds decorate the Living Room and the bar. Overhead, crystal globe chandeliers mimic delicate fireworks setting the mood in the hotel’s main corridor and the entrance to the Ebbitt Room restaurant.
Upstairs, lush bedding with big fluffy pillows with a bold “V” in the middle seduce the visitor and make you just want to plop down on the bed and close your eyes, telling those other people in the room with you to go away and come again some other day.
New York interior designer Colleen Bashaw put the Victorians back in the closet of the 1879 hotel and switched the mood to a more modern heyday.
“I wanted to establish a mood of fun and of timelessness,” she said to a gathering of interested folk. “I chose red to be the main color because I wanted the hotel to be reinvigorated and have a sexy new view. I thought red would be bold and fun on the first floor and carried those color schemes upstairs with the carpets and the red guest room doors.”
And what a mood. The visitor wants to go back and put an evening gown on, making sure she has a proper martini in one hand and a gold cigarette holder in the other (but not a lit cigarette of course). She imagines nonchalantly greeting gentlemen callers in their formal attire. She would descend the red-carpeted staircase making sure the light from the stained glass window at the top of the landing held her in a flattering profile all the while. After a cocktail or two in the Living Room, she and her guests would go into the Ebbitt Room for an elegant dinner prepared by Chef and General Manager Andrew Carthy.
Let’s not forget that The Ebbitt Room is a five-star restaurant, deserving of an elegant dining room, lightened by sparkling lacey chandeliers and Osbourne and Little wallpaper with gold on gold.
Afterwards, the visitor and her guests move to the lounge or possibly sit by the fireplace to listen to Steve, the piano man, play “Misty.” After an aperitif and some lively conversation, the visitor excuses herself and retires upstairs to her room. She takes a long comfort-filled bath and climbs into bed… to wake refreshed and ready for a day at the beach.
The Virginia sparks such fantasies… But let’s not think that because the 24-room hotel has the feel of the ’30s that it hasn’t kept up. Each room has a flat screen TV., in-room DVD player and Wi-Fi internet connection, and a custom designed in-room bar and fridge, something different in an historic Cape May hotel,
Colleen Bashaw also did the interior design on the Brown Room at Congress Hall ( her brother Curtis Bashaw owns both properties).
“I’ve been wanting to re-do the Virginia for a long time but my brother wouldn’t give me the go ahead. Finally last winter, he told me we could start. I love this hotel and I wanted to see it revived in a fun way.”
Revived it is! Let the fun of staying in this grand place begin!