The video of the restaurant in the NYLO Hotel in Warwick is hardly on track to win an Oscar. But it almost brought tears to the eyes of Patrick O’Neil. When the executive vice president of NYLO watched the clip, he appreciated how far the 163-room hotel has come since water overwhelmed its first floor in late March 2010.
Nearly 17 months later, workers have carried off the water-soaked furniture, repaired walls and floors, hauled in new mattresses, replaced computer equipment and rebuilt the bar. On Aug. 15, hotel staff welcomed the first guests.
“We tried to put it back exactly the way it was in many aspects,” O’Neil said.
But he said it will likely take more than a year to rebuild the customer base at the hotel, which had been open for just two years before the Pawtuxet River decided to check in.
“The bad part is when you open a hotel you have a ramp-up period and we were just about to hit our stride when the water came in and took it away from us,” O’Neil said.
Texas-based NYLO is now putting on a full-court press to let people know the hotel is back in business and very dry. Earlier this month executives hosted an event at the hotel for the media. Sales staff in Texas and Warwick have been lining up corporate accounts, soliciting functions and have taken to social media to announce the reopening.
O’Neil said the strategy is virtually identical to launching a new hotel. NYLO is helped however, by holding a list of former guests it can directly reach. And some companies allowed the hotel back onto their corporate accounts without going through the typical bidding process, in a nod to the unique situation.
But how will guests feel about sleeping in a hotel where four feet of polluted water stayed the night? O’Neil said he has no indication such a stigma exists. He notes that if people were truly worried about entering previously flooded buildings, no one would visit the Warwick Mall, which water also inundated last year.