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Opening of Hotel Zero Degrees fills niche for business travelers
NORWALK — A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a rushing waterfall provided the backdrop Monday evening as local dignitaries gathered to celebrate the opening of the newly opened Hotel Zero Degrees.
The 96-room boutique hotel and restaurant at 353 Main Avenue was the brainchild of Fairfield County real estate developer Randy M. Salvatore and his partners Bill Burnham and Charles Mallory.
Before champagne corks were popped and a celebratory ribbon was cut, Salvatore acknowledged the city of Norwalk for what he called its extraordinary vision.
“I’m so excited about the opening of our Norwalk location,” Salvatore said. “Fifteen months ago we began the process with the city of Norwalk and I want to thank Mayor (Richard) Moccia for his vision.”
Several years ago, Salvatore opened Hotel Zero Degrees at 909 Washington Boulevard in Stamford. Buoyed by the success of the Stamford location, and seeing a need for a luxury hotel to cater to business travelers in close proximity to Norwalk’s corporate presence along the Main Avenue corridor, Salvatore set his sights on the 1.6 acre Norwalk parcel abutting the Norwalk River.
“We try to make it so that it works for businesses coming in to Norwalk,” said Moccia. “I remember 15 months ago when I said to Randy, ‘I hope you can do it’ and they did it.”
Formerly the site of a two-story commercial building and warehouse space, the new hotel is a three-story building that features a 2,700 sq. ft. rooftop terrace; meeting and event spaces; and a 1,900 square-foot ballroom.
The hotel will feature restaurateur Ramze Zakka’s Mediterraneo Restaurant of Norwalk, a restaurant and bar that will be open to the public. Head chef will be Albert DeAngelis, the creative force behind Sole of New Canaan, Aqua of Westport, and Terra and Mediterraneo of Greenwich.
Designed by architect Bruce Beinfeld, the hotel’s zen-like muted gray walls and expansive windows are devised to offer corporate clients a respite from the end of a long work day.
“The theme here is oasis,” Beinfeld said. “The biggest surprise here is the waterfall on the back side of the hotel. We’ve taken full advantage of that.”
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are prevalent themes at the hotel. The ZERO program was implemented to put those beliefs into action. The four components are: Zero tolerance, striving for little or zero energy use; Environmental Responsibility, by sourcing local and organic products; Recycling by using composted cups, utensils, and recycled office materials; and Our people, in a nod to the hospitality team.
In keeping with using local sources, the paintings throughout the hotel have been created by artists at the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan, according to Mia Schipani, vice president of business development.
“What a great design,” said state Sen. Bob Duff. “What Randy has done here is wonderful. Not only has he created a beautiful space, he has created jobs — not only construction jobs, but hospitality and restaurant jobs.”