By Lee Stabert
Seven Mile Island, the lovely stretch of Jersey Shore containing the towns of Avalon and Stone Harbor, has long been a haven for the braided-of-belt and pink-of-short. It's an affluent area where houses routinely rent for the same price as a European vacation. But options have long been limited to houses, a smattering of condos and a less-than-inspiring selection of mid-century motels concentrated around 80th street. (Worth noting among that set, the Windrift Hotel has undertaken a massive renovation to keep pace with the island's posh demographics.)
Part of this has to do with regulatory efforts meant to stymie the development of multi-family dwellings, a long-established and morally-ambiguous attempt to keep out the Snookis and Situations. If you wanted the full resort experience—privacy, fresh towels, high end on-site dining, spa services—you had to look elsewhere.
This is all set to change with the construction (now underway) of the Reeds at Shelter Haven, a boutique hotel at the corner of 96th Street and Third Avenue in Stone Harbor. The name references the old Shelter Haven Hotel, which stood on the same spot half a century ago. Here is the developers' pitch:
The Reeds at Shelter Haven is a destination resort offering a luxurious respite from the everyday and a home away from home. Relaxing overnight escapes/getaways, unique and intimate dining opportunities, impressive multi-functional venues for business meetings and corporate events as well as unforgettable wedding and celebration spaces. It's an ambitious plan for a relatively small plot of land in the heart of downtown Stone Harbor. There will be only 37 guest rooms, allowing space for events and outdoor entertaining. The property's greatest asset is bay and wetlands views—also one reason many residents hoped for a permanent public park on the site. The Reeds is set to open summer 2013, but here's what it looks like so far: