Updated Friday, April 10, 10 am
The Wesley Hotel, the last of the grand Victorian hotels in Oak Bluffs, will soon be under new ownership. Peter Martel, co-owner of the 95-room hotel for the past 29 years along with partners George Fisher and Richard Kelley, has confirmed that he has signed a purchase and sale agreement with Lark Hotels, a hotel management and development company that specializes in “intimately sized” New England resort hotels.
“I’m happy to retire; it’s been a long time,” Mr. Martell told The Times. “I know the place is in good hands. They own a lot of hotels, and they do a good job.”
Mr. Martell said all current employees will keep their jobs, and that he will stay through the end of summer to help ensure a smooth transition. “I’ll stick around to help them stay out of trouble,” he said. “I’ll make sure they’re aware of the Campground rules as well as the laws of the community.”
The hotel sits on land leased from the Camp Meeting Association, and is the last of the grand hotels built in Oak Bluffs during the late 1800s. It has been in continuous operation as a destination for travelers since 1879.
Mr. Martell is ending a long career in the hospitality and entertainment business on the Island. Prior to taking over the Wesley, he owned the Lampost bar on Circuit Avenue and the Pequot Inn in Oak Bluffs, and the Colonial Inn and the Hot Tin Roof in Edgartown.
Mr. Martell expects the closing to take place on May 8. He declined to divulge the sale price.
Lark Hotels operates a collection of self-described boutique hotels, according to its website, “located in sought-after spots,” including Whitehall in Camden, Maine; Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine; 76 Main on Nantucket; 21 Broad on Nantucket; The Attwater in Newport, R.I.; Gilded in Newport, R.I.; Pomegranate Inn in Portland, Maine; Ale House Inn in Portsmouth, N.H.; and The Break in Narragansett, R.I.
According to the website, “Lark Hotels embrace the locations they are in, but in playful, unexpected ways. Think ‘sense of place’ with imagination and a touch of mischief.
“Each Lark Hotel invites guests to experience modern luxury in the heart of an iconic destination, to feel the pull of a nostalgic getaway while surrounded by today’s amenities, and to find attentive service when they want it and privacy when they don’t.”
Lark Hotels already has a Vineyard connection. The company named Vineyard Vines to be its official outfitter for all its hotel employees, from managers to housekeepers.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Lark Hotels declined to comment until the deal is finalized in May.
In an email to The Times on Friday morning, Rob Blood, founder and CEO of Lark Hotels said, “We’re are so excited about the warm welcome that we have received since the MV Times published a story about the purchase of the Wesley Hotel. I wanted to take a moment to clarify where we are in the process. While my partners and I have signed a purchase and sale agreement and hope to complete the sale by May 8th there are still some contingencies that need to be satisfied before the ‘deal is done.’ If all goes well, we look forward to becoming a part of the Vineyard community this spring.”