After announcing earlier this month that Rhode Island-based hospitality management firm, TPG Hotels, Resorts & Marinas had bought Port Jefferson’s Danfords, many have been wondering what this means for the iconic hotel, spa and restaurant in the heart of the village.
Robert Leven, chief investment officer of Procaccianti Companies, the overseeing group of TPG, said that because the transaction happened in the midst of its busy season, nothing is going to change just yet.
“We haven’t made a lot of changes at this point,” he said. “We just stepped in to get our systems set up and try to get everybody on board successfully. I think it’s been reasonably smooth, and it’s been going well.”
According to Leven, TPG began talking to The Crest Group in February 2021 to take over Danfords, The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club and The Club steakhouse.
“The deal took a long time to get done,” he said, due to the size of the transaction and all the entities included.
While Leven can’t speak for The Crest Group, he said that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hotel industry hard.
“When this is not your core business, and particularly an operation like this, which is hotels, significant food and beverage, a spa, a country club, a marina, there a lot of things going on here,” he said. “I just think it was a lot for them to stay on top of and with the combination of the pandemic, it probably made them say, ‘OK, you know, maybe now’s the time for us to go in another direction.’”
But the new owners are excited for what they can bring.
Danfords is one of three acquisitions within the last nine months in TPG’s newly launched Marina platform. TPG has also acquired two Rhode Island businesses: Dutch Harbor Boat Yard in Jamestown this June; and Champlin’s Marina & Resort on Block Island in December 2020. The latter is currently undergoing extensive renovations as part of a comprehensive property improvement plan.
Leven said that TPG is planning on giving the Port Jefferson resort a facelift, as well. First on the list of to-dos include upgrading scenery outside with new plants and flowers, and improving other parts of the hotel’s exterior.
“What we’re really going to be focused on is guest rooms and doing a pretty significant upgrade and redo of them,” he said. “We hope to modernize them, freshen them up and bring it sort of to current design standards to elevate the product. … It’ll be a pretty significant transformation from what exists there now.”
Their goal is that people are getting an appropriate product for what they’re paying.
Leven added that while capital had been spent previously on the public areas and in the restaurant side of the resort, he believes the guest rooms had “kind of lacked the attention.”
But because of the transaction finalizing in the middle of their busy season, the upgrades to its 92 guest rooms and suites won’t start until the off-season, to be completed next year.
That being said, the food and beverage side of the resort, including WAVE restaurant at Danfords, The Club and The Waterview, will also stay the same for at least the next year.
“We’re doing some things like analyzing the menus and some of the processes in the food and beverage operation to see where we can do things differently or better,” Leven said.