A restyling of the Jasmine Bar and Lounge at the Fairmont Southampton has given the contemporary feel to the lobby lounge — and uncovered a hidden gem.
And it is not only the fittings and furnishings that have a new look, there is also a fresh menu themed on the Americas, which has been created by new sous chef Gerardo Say Colmenares.
The lounge reopened last week ahead of the Labour Day weekend, and the feedback has been positive. There is a new colour scheme, new chairs, sofas and carpet, and repolished and restored tables. There is also a clear demarcation between the lunch and dining seating area and the lounge.
The hidden gem uncovered is a triple window view previously obscured by a stage area for live music in the heart of the dining area. Now natural light floods in through the large windows that have a view on greenery surrounding the hotel and the southern approach area.
Live music is still a feature of the Jasmine Lounge, but it is now situated at the entrance to the lounge, fringing the hotel’s main lobby area. This allows the music to overspill a little and permeate further into the hotel for the enjoyment of guests. There will be live music seven nights a week through this month and on selected nights during the winter.
The hotel worked with Wimberly Interiors to design the new look, aiming to keep the elegant, classic feel of the lounge without making it overly modern.
“We have updated the furniture and have slightly different colours, with teal and blue. We have a full new carpet, new chairs and sofas, and some tables that were taken away, sanded, repolished and restored,” said Wouter Aarts, director of food and beverage.
It was originally expected the lounge transformation would take three weeks to complete, but the plans changed. On the eve of the 35th America’s Cup this summer, and with some construction items still to arrive, the hotel opted to postpone the revamp rather than risk disruption during the busy period around the sailing event.
In the final week of August, the lounge was closed in the middle of the night and for one week the renovations were carried out around the clock. The lounge reopened on September 1, and the feedback from customers has been positive, said Mr Aarts.
The tweaks to the overall layout mean the dining seating is now deeper in the lounge, while the area immediately adjacent to the lobby is dedicated to bar and lounge guests who might be stopping by for a light snacks, high tea or drinks.
Four paintings by Bermudian artist Graham Foster now adorn the walls beside the two fireplace snug areas.
As for the new menu, it features tastes and cuisines from North America, Central America and Latin America, plus some of the Bermudian favourites previously available. Among the menu items are Peruvian spiced lamb meatballs, Bermy burrito sandwich and Pina Colada cheesecake. The menu was created by sous chef Mr Soy Colmenares, who is familiar with the foods of the Americas and is a native of Mexico.
The Jasmine Lounge is the first part of the hotel’s $1 million restaurant refurbishment programme. The second phase will be a new Mediterranean restaurant called Mediterra, in the Newport Room, which is scheduled to open early next month. Then in late October or early November, the Boundary Sports Bar and Grille is set to open in the former Bacci restaurant at Turtle Hill Golf Club.
Mr Aarts said: “The revamp of Jasmine Cocktail Bar and Lounge is an important first step of our dining projects. Our culinary team has worked meticulously to bring new and exciting flavours to the table. We look forward to welcoming locals and guests to experience the new interior and try the delicious drinks and dishes from our updated menu.”