The Grand at Bedford Village Inn Opens in Style

Jack Carnevale's latest boasts bucolic chic

The tufted leather tuxedo couches in the lobby were the starting point for the interior design of the new Grand at the Bedford Village Inn. Owner Jack Carnevale picked them out himself. In fact, most of the interior design was chosen by Carnevale and his wife, Andrea. More than just pointing to objects in catalogs, the couple made several pilgrimages to High Point, NC, the mecca of interior design fulfillment, to complete this impressive $15-million-project.

At 67 years old, Carnevale is as dapper as ever, sporting the current menswear pairing of jeans and a sports jacket. He thrives on work and appears eager to give yet another tour of his latest project. What makes him so driven in the hospitality business? There always seems to be another improvement at the BVI. And it helps that he’s been at it since he was 16.

“I was a rabble-rouser growing up,” Carnevale says. “In fact, I was kicked out of the house at 16. I went to work at the Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls at the front desk, and they gave me a room. Eventually, after putting myself through college, I returned to the hospitality industry.”

“Nobody ever gave me a dime,” he says, “but I liked to dream big.” Looking at his newest endeavor, you’d be hard-pressed to claim he didn’t dream big enough.

The consummate host, Carnevale says of his work, “I just want to create something nice for people to enjoy.” This latest project, situated behind the Bedford Village Inn proper, is styled much like a large-scale Stanford White summer cottage with a touch of Dutch Colonial. You enter through a spacious portico and into the inviting lobby and adjacent lobby bar.

The bar has its own menu of small but inventive options, including duck confit poutine, moules-frites, bánh mi lettuce wraps, mini Grand burgers and a daily ceviche. A few sandwich, soup and dessert selections, including the inn’s signature Chocolate Bag, are also available.

With The Grand, Carnevale wants to capture the
hospitality of the grand hotel era.

“We designed the menu to offer small bites for guests before dinner or late night,” says Carnevale. Non-guests looking for a light meal and a nice glass of wine will be perfectly happy too. The bar has an interesting selection, including Carnevale’s favorite, Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay, stored in the custom cabinetry surrounding the bar. Of course, that is just part of the expansive list offered onsite at Corks, The Tavern and the myriad of rooms that comprise the Bedford Village Inn.

The Lobby Bar and adjacent patio are open to the public for dinner after 3:30 p.m. daily and for lunch and dinner on weekends. The patio space is inviting, with comfortable seating, umbrella tables, fire pits and a water feature. Carnevale says there will be entertainment in the space as well.

In guest areas, most of the artwork is animal-themed, with contemporary prints of domestic cows and wild birds scattered throughout the property. The Charolais Room, a mid-size function room for about 80 guests, plays on that theme more abstractly. Named for the pure-white Charolais cattle that used to occupy the property — and, indeed, which Carnevale had to shoo off Rte. 101 in one particularly memorable incident — the room is decorated with white-on-white abstract works crafted from handmade paper.

Again wanting the best for his guests, Carnevale opted for a saltwater pool at The Grand instead of the typical chlorine variety. He says they are starting to see more families as guests and feels that’s because of the top-notch pool. It is heated too, so it will stay open for all four seasons.

The exterior of The Grand

There are a total of 50 guest rooms at The Grand, ranging from the 850-square-foot Tower Suite to Junior Suites with two queen beds and fireplaces to standard rooms. All the rooms have two upholstered chairs — “it just makes sense,” Carnevale says — so you’ll never have to quibble over who gets the comfy seat. All the décor matches the of-the-moment “greige” color palette, with grays and beiges in the carpet, the walls and the bedding ordered from Company C in Concord. It’s the Elan pattern and is 100-percent organic cotton.

The bathrooms really spell elegance, with Carrara marble countertops and, in the larger rooms, a separate tub and shower sporting a rain head for a relaxing rinse. The spacious baths are also right on trend in shades of white and gray.

There are several fully equipped conference rooms, and the fitness center is designed by the same fellow who designed Tom Brady’s home gym. “That’s all I needed to hear,” says Carnevale.

The architecture may hark back to older times, but this inn also has grand new technology to keep it energy-efficient. Computers balance the ebb and flow of heat, and hot water is pumped on demand, while electric car chargers stand ready in the parking lot. Carnevale made sure everything was soundproofed room to room and floor to floor. “The family spent a night to make sure everything was quiet and comfortable,” he adds.

With The Grand, Carnevale wants to capture the hospitality of the grand hotel era. Admittedly, not all activities will be found on site, but he wants to bring in a few options and let people know what’s out there to explore. Assuredly, The Grand will bring respite to weary travelers and escape to vacationers in a luxurious style. As an experienced hotelier, he has that nailed. The only question now is, what is he planning next?

Categories: Features