Hilton Buys Bowens & Bannisters Wharfs For $112 Million, Site To Be Leveled, Construction of Luxury Hotel Begins In May

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Famous Newport landmarks like the Clarke Cooke House & The Black Pearl will be demolished in the next few months to make room for a 15-story monster luxury hotel.

Newporters bewildered by a rash of hotel construction announcements have been shocked to learn that the waterfront properties of Bowens and Bannister Wharfs have purchased by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, who plan to construct a massive 573-room luxury hotel towering over Newport Harbor.

This project will displace dozens of local businesses, among them the Clarke Cooke House, the Black Pearl, Diego’s, The Wharf Pub, Fluke, 22 Bowens, The Landing and The Lobster Bar.

Bannister’s Wharf

“We do want to retain some of the local flair, so a few of the names will be retained inside the hotel”, Hilton Americas President Danny Hughes said in a phone interview Sunday. “We’re going to have a Clarke Cooke Gift Shop with Midway Bar snow globes and a 22 Bowen’s wine kiosk in the T.G.I.Fridays that will be located on the second floor. We expect locals to appreciate these touches and hope they’ll want to visit this location as much as the thousands of tourists staying in the hotel each and every day will.”

In addition to all guest rooms, there will be 66 event spaces, allowing the hotel to bang out as many as 100 weddings a weekend. Hughes said “People love getting married in Newport and we can’t wait to create a conveyor belt of nuptials. Just imagine heading out to Ocean Drive with a few dozen bridal photo shoots happening each and weekend. It’s going to be glorious!”

This artist’s impression is of a Dubai hotel design that will serve as the basis for the larger Newport Hilton.

Bureaucratic Oversight?

Typically a massive multi-million deal like this would require at least City Council approval. How has it not appeared on anyone’s radar before it was all said and done?

The state is desperate to raise funds, especially now that the new Tiverton casino and sports gambling isn’t turning out to be the cash cow that everyone was hoping for. So Governor Raimondo created a new agency to fastpass all $100 million+ projects without requiring local approval in the bid to get Google to relocate to the state. They may have failed with the Google bid, but it looks like it actually caught a big fish with this Hilton project.

An Offer no one could refuse?

While they bypassed most legal obstacles, it’s somewhat surprising that every property owner on the wharfs was willing to sell, but the offers were likely a fair chunk richer than anyone was willing to walk away from. No word yet from any of tenants on their plans for the future. There are a lot of boats that offer day cruises from the docks at the Wharfs, so they’ll have to find somewhere else to operate from.

Will the Hilton sisters be making an appearance?

“We don’t want to feed too much into the rumor mill, but we are in talks with Paris about a reality show based in the Newport Hilton. It’s a an opportunity to bring Paris’ personal brand back with the family business.”

One last thing…







-Tristan Pinnock, Blast April Fools Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?