Bobbi Brown is no stranger to makeovers. In February, as Brown slipped comfortably into an oversized chair in the library of the soon-to-open George Inn in Montclair, she might well have been a guest rather than a proprietor on the verge of an ambitious launch.
“I never knew how many shades of gray there were,” she says of the pewter hue that handsomely updates the room’s original coffered, wood-paneled walls, topped with dentil molding.
Shortly after parting company with her namesake cosmetic brand in 2016, Brown turned her creativity to reinventing the George. She and husband Steven Plofker renovated the 1902 building—formerly the Georgian Inn, a residence and later a short-stay hotel—into a posh, 32-room, boutique space in a mere 24 months.
Plofker, a veteran developer, was “the brains,” says Brown, who acted as creative director. “Steven is always calm and has the vision. He focused on the big picture. I focused on the details,” she says.
Guests will delight in the details. Amenities in the rooms—seven suites, 16 standards, three premier and six studios—include Nespresso machines, mini Smeg fridges, Dyson blow-dryers, AudioPro speakers and Casper mattresses. Room rates are expected to start in the low $200s per night.
Despite swank architectural elements—a grand staircase, crystal chandelier, stained-glass windows and marble fireplaces—the George doesn’t take itself too seriously. Rooms have names instead of numbers; inside each, photographs of celebrity namesakes are playfully arrayed. In the Steve, pics of Jobs, Harvey, Urkel, King, Tyler, Martin, McQueen and Nicks are grouped on a pale gray wall. Guests will instantly be at ease in the stately foyer and library, as they notice George Washington shares the space with Costanza, Carlin and the younger Bush.
The hotel’s clubby vibe was achieved without a designer. Brown and Plofker cherry-picked personal items and hunted down one-of-a-kind objects, like a pair of cascading crystal lamps that grace a table in the library. “We got these from an auction,” Brown points out. “We shopped everywhere; we both have a good eye and did it together.”
In the entrepreneurial spirit, all the hotel furnishings are for sale. There is even a closet-sized pop-up store with Brown’s new line of George-branded items, such as beverage bottles and signature scented candles.
The first hotel to open in Montclair since the 1930s, the pet-friendly George will also welcome the community by hosting book signings and pop-up dinners and tapping local resources for goods and services.
A curated list of local options for treatments like massage, mani-pedis, dining and doings about town will be on hand for guests. “I’d love to just have guests write down anything they’re interested in, and we’ll find it for them,” says Brown. She and Plofker are already covering most of the bases: continental breakfast, afternoon tea, iPad check-in, bicycles, an organic garden, and, Brown says, eventually maybe even a vintage Rolls Royce or Bentley for shuttling guests around town.Click here to leave a comment