|By Alexandra Sanders, New Haven Register,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 08, 2011--MADISON -- After first planning to open in June, then in August, the Madison Beach Hotel on West Wharf Road is now aiming for Oct. 1.
"It is so difficult because there are so many factors," said hotel owner Dawn Duques. "Everything has to be passed by the town and the staff has to be well-trained because when it opens, we really want it to be an incredibly wonderful experience."
The heavy snow slowed progress this winter, but the most recent roadblock was the continuous rain in May, said Sales and Catering Manager Beth McDevitt.
"We were Sheetrocking, insulating and painting during those rains so it really slowed us down," she said. "We saw delays in many different aspects throughout the project, but two years in the making is not that long in the big picture."
Ken Martino, former general manager of the hotel, left the project two weeks ago because of some "issues," but Duques said that did not slow the work. When asked if Martino was fired or if he resigned, Duques said it was mutual, but did not elaborate.
"He was ready to move on and we have some wonderful candidates we are interviewing (for the position)," she said. "We have an incredible management team and should have a new general manager shortly."
Duques said the hotel's opening will go slowly and not every room will be available at once, but the owners are pushing to get everything open as quickly as possible.
"We have painting crews that work all night," said McDevitt. "We need to move forward. The work crews have really come together in the last two weeks and it's amazing -- we walk in every day and see significant changes in the space."
Duques said the landscaping is 95 percent done; the interior has carpeting, stone floors and wall covering, and the kitchens are coming together, but the bedrooms are not finished.
"No one wants to be in this space as badly as we do," said McDevitt. "We are getting close to making a formal announcement for the opening and from that point on, we hope to stay busy."
The hotel has been busy as a wedding venue and 14 more weddings, among other events, are booked through September. The first wedding was held outside the hotel because the hotel did not have a certificate of occupancy, but McDevitt said the owners are hoping to use the reception room for the two weddings set for this weekend and are moving ahead to get the certificate of occupancy.
First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said Friday afternoon the owners had not yet requested a temporary certificate of occupancy, but can do so today .
"We aren't going to do anything unless it's 100 percent safe and we have the approval of the town," said Duques. "We are trying to get everything tight and up and running."
Duques said she and her husband, Rick Duques, who spent every summer in town as children, want to "do nothing more than provide a wonderful place for the people in Madison."
Contact Alexandra Sanders at 203-789-5714. Follow her on Twitter @asanders88.
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