After months of anticipation, the posh, 20-room Greydon House, with its island-inspired restaurant and Brooklyn-meets-“Out of Africa” bar, opened on Oct. 1. Located at 17 Broad St. less than five minutes by foot from the ferry docks, this independent hotel has deep historical roots in Boston and Nantucket.
The Boston connection comes from the real-estate investment firm behind the hotel, the Boston- and New York-based Faros Properties, known for its pioneering urban renewal projects and high-end developments. Siblings, Alexander and Jeremy Leventhal, along with their long-time pal, Elliot Gould, founded the firm and all grew up in Newton. Alexander currently lives in Boston. The brothers’ grandfather was Norman B. Leventhal, who constructed such Boston landmarks as Center Plaza, Rowes Wharf and South Station, through his firm, The Beacon Companies. (The brothers’ father, Alan M. Leventhal, founded the private real-estate investment firm, Beacon Hill Partners in Boston.)
Regarding its island roots, Greydon House was built in 1850 for master mariner, William Rawson, and most recently belonged to the Collins family, including “Doc” (Wylie) Collins, the island’s beloved general practitioner during the 1930s and ’40s. When the doctor died, the home went to his wife, and then son. Upon the son’s death, the house went on the market, ultimately landing with Faros Properties.
“They spared no expense,” says Jamie Holmes, chairman of the Nantucket Lodging Association, referring to the hotel’s renovations, which included gutting the original home and building an addition connected by a hall. “It’s a small and very intimate property and every detail has been thought through. They have the latest Wi-Fi, top-end HDTV, every amenity, including Follain [body products], and a world-class Michelin-star chef. They even have flower boxes on the second floor, which is the only place on island to have done that.”
Indeed, Greydon House is flying first class, from the bespoke staff uniforms to the homemade tonic water at the bar. Despite its humble white clapboard exterior, the inside has been richly designed and curated, paying homage to the seasoned traveler in a comfortable, yet fresh and tangy way.
“The design is quintessential eclectic Nantucket versus cliché [pastels, buoys, and starfish],” says Jeff David, managing partner of Greydon House Group. “We’ve taken a historical museum as our muse with expressions of the whaling era and its trade with Asia and the Ivory Coast of Africa, along with the Bohemian era and its art colonies,” that flourished on Nantucket in the 1920s when artists converted abandoned whaling shacks along the wharves into waterfront studios.
The uber-chic design firm, Roman and Williams (whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and various Ace Hotels), oversaw the design, beginning with reception area, which is drenched in teal paint and dark wood. To the left of reception is a bank of elevators (rare for such a small hotel) to bring guests to the Broad Suite and the petite, standard, and deluxe guestrooms. Although each room differs in layout, choice of furniture, art, bed linens, and curios — such as the wooden footlocker dating to 1716 in one room — all have crisp white walls, reclaimed chestnut wood floors, iron beds, hand-painted blue and white Portuguese tiles of maritime scenes in the shower and a variety of amenities, including breakfast, served in the restaurant or on the patio in warm weather.
Joseph Keller, brother of chef Thomas Keller of Per Se and The French Laundry , consulted on the food and beverage program. Michelin-star chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware serves as executive chef for the 25-seat restaurant. One of the few island options open year-round for lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers island-inspired fare, such as salads with local greens and striped bass served with fava beans, chanterelles, and cockles. An additional 26 guests can eat in the adjacent bar, which encompasses two spaces, including a slouchy living room area with a fireplace and a cocktail salon with a former countertop from a New England general store, over which hangs a triptych mural of the China Tea Trade inspired by an 18th century painting in the Peabody Essex Museum. Jackson Cannon, co-owner of The Hawthorne and bar director of Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar, created the cocktail list with such unwinders as Little Gray Lady, composed of gin, Americano, St-Germain, bitters, and lemon juice. The hotel took its name from a variant of the old English name, Grayson, the offspring of the Little Gray Lady, Nantucket’s nickname.
Faros Properties plans to open more hotels and restaurants on the island, says David. “We’d like to create a brand with the same service and qualities and are exploring other opportunities.” As for the timing, “in the near future,” is all he will say.
GREYDON HOUSE 17 Broad St, Nantucket. greydonhouse.com. Rooms from $169.
Victoria Abbott Riccardi can be reached at vabbottriccardi@