The St. James reopened its patio for Mother's Day. Now, the historic hotel is moving onto the next phase in renovations: the Port room.
Marilyne Bouteiller, St. James Hotel's director of sales and marketing, explained that the hotel is going to be seeing more updates and changes.
"Basically it all started about two years ago. When we looked at the property and we looked at what our role is within the community and basically what we need to become in the next 150 years; when we grow old," Bouteiller explained.
The first part of the updates has three phrases: the patio, the Port room meeting space, and the interior of The Veranda.
According to Bouteiller, the hotel was missing a space that would work best for groups of 80 to 150 people and this space in the basement, near The Port restaurant, was "sorely underutilized." Renovations began the week of May 20 and are expected to be done by late September or early October.
Work on The Veranda will begin around the time that the Port room (yet to be officially named) is available to rent.
"As soon as patio season wraps up, then we'll begin starting on the inside of the Veranda to match the outside," stated Jennifer Olson, the director of food and beverages. The plan is to redo the restaurant's interior. Aside from the windows, almost everything is changing.
This year also saw a revamp of the menus throughout all of the restaurants. Everything is now made in-house (except for bread, which is from Hanisch Bakery). Menus also feature microgreens from River City Greens in Lake City.
St. James employees said they are excited about the coming changes. Bouteiller and others at the hotel worked to study trends in hospitality and travel and convened a focus group to see what people wanted.
The changes have so far received positive reviews. The Verando patio has new bench seating, fire elements, creative plantings and an outdoor bar.
"We have had the most amazing response for the patio. People have been so complimentary of the food and of the patio.," Olson explained.
Bouteiller is excited to see the next few years at the St. James.
"It's a five year project so there's some more right now we cannot share but there's going to be some more things that are going to come up within the next few years."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Marilyne Bouteiller's name. The RE apologizes for the error.