By Deborah Burst | Photography by Christy Laird Ryan
The skillful renovation of The Roost Hotel boasts the property’s coastal flair and the artistic vibes of Walter Anderson.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, hosts a heaping helping of small-town charm filled with friendly folk, farmers, and artists selling their wares in downtown parks.
Walking distance to the ocean and a mecca for naturalists, the town celebrates its native son, Walter Anderson, and the Anderson family inside the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and Shearwater Pottery. Stroll along the oak-canopied neighborhoods, from the delightful downtown shops to a gallery of historic architecture along Porter Avenue. It is there The Roost Boutique Hotel commands a second look.
The property took roots in 1894 when E.E. Clement built what was touted as, “a fine residence on Porter Avenue, a summer house in the branches of his giant oaks.” Through the years the property has changed hands, from a home to a hotel to a popular restaurant.
Today, it is a divine renovation orchestrated by Roxy Condrey, her husband, Ted Condrey, and partners Adam Dial, Joe Cloyd and Jessica Cloyd. Next door, the adjacent Eat Drink Love restaurant and The Wilbur bar adds to the ambiance as people gather at the bar and dine outside in an open multi-layered patio.
A partnership of the past, present and future, the skillful renovation boasts the property’s coastal flair. Eleven luxurious rooms, some with full kitchens, are dressed in an opulent beach décor. The ground floor harkens back to the original hotel while the second floor hosts five suites with a wide veranda inviting guests to mingle. Every detail from the chic chandeliers to the original woodwork shares the artistic vibes of Walter Anderson.
The boutique hotel, which opened in 2016, gained its name during construction; the group was standing on the second floor gazing out at the treetops. Someone commented birds roost high in the trees when they sleep at night. And so it came to be The Roost. Condrey admitted it was a perfect fit with its connection to nature and sleep.
Much emphasis went into preserving the original wood and staying true to the property’s ambiance. The reclaimed wood offers a fashionable wall in every suite as well as the craft cocktail bar next door.
“We took careful attention in achieving a harmonious design,” Condrey says adding each partner was involved at different levels. “We brought all of our individual skill sets together to create The Roost.”
Much work went into subtle but overarching themes that celebrate the spirit of Walter Anderson. Condrey was most excited when the family allowed them to use Anderson’s unique art throughout the hotel.
“The family has been an awesome partner the entire time for The Roost,” says Condrey. “They also allowed us to have prints on loan in the lobby.”
Bay-town luxury at its best, each room is in concert with the town’s unique persona, coastal elements such as fan coral in the Monarch Suite and a pirogue suspended from the ceiling in the Oyster Suite.
“Our partners actually owned this boat,” Condrey says noting it was the same type of boat that Anderson used to explore the Barrier Islands. “We all wanted to incorporate it into the design and the Oyster Suite with the vaulted ceilings was perfect.”
The Islander Suite is wheelchair accessible with a delightful twist in the bedroom décor. Against a tangerine colored wall is a headboard courtesy of an old church from the Carolina’s and at the foot of the bed, a Mongolian fur bench.
“I love mixing styles that work together but staying true to the overall concept of highlighting the art, culture and history,” explains Condrey. “But all the furnishings were carefully selected to work with the original accent walls.”
Upstairs, the open format works as both an art gallery and a social space. Rocking chairs bring a nostalgic flair as many guests enjoy gazing out at the trees.
“We have often gone upstairs in the morning to find the rocking chairs moved around and the stools all set in circles around the tables,” says Condrey. “Evidence of strangers turned friends that gathered for impromptu storytelling over cocktails.”
Much like the hotel’s namesake where birds flock together, in this case it’s complete strangers. Two couples who met when they checked in for a three-day stay, both had upstairs rooms in the veranda. They ran into each other while dining and decided to share a table.
“The next morning, I found the ladies upstairs in their pajamas, slippers on, curlers in their hair, drinking coffee,” Condrey says with a smile. “These ladies, both of whom were retired, along with their husbands, became instant friends, and have since come back to The Roost to visit with each other again.”
The Roost brings people together from all walks of life. Guests can order dine-in romantic dinners from the adjacent restaurant, or join locals under the oaks serenaded by musicians. Toast new friendships and a perfect ending for a perfect stay at The Wilbur bar, and be sure to ask about the hidden room behind the swinging bookcase.
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