Date: Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The newly remodeled Vanderbilt Hotel & Residence Club reopened on July 18, 2007, with a guest list of over 200 guests from the world of finance, entertainment, sport and politics on hand to christen The Polo Lounge, the town’s newest hot spot.
More than 200 attended the event, sipping pink martinis, wine and all the usual libations; or the lounge’s signature drinks – The Wandering Divot, Broken Mallet, English Saddle, Pony Whip and the Cosmo POLO-tini.
They also enjoyed Executive Chef Peter Lech’s array of nibbles - sushi and sake, grilled shrimp and sweet fruit, crab salad with sumac and fresh washabi, pepper grilled lamb chops, shrimp and gazpacho shooters, seafood macaroni and cheese, Vanderbilt steak tartare and his ever-popular sliders, baby burgers with crunch chips. All were displayed on tables resembling miniature polo fields. Dessert came in the form of dark and stormy ice cream sandwiches or a trio of crème brulees.
After a multimillion dollar transformation by owners Buff and Johnnie Chace, the residence club and hotel, built in 1909 by Alfred G. Vanderbilt, offers 32 uniquely-designed suites and private apartments, an indoor pool, health spa, rooftop patio and garden terrace, dining room and bar.
The Polo Lounge, on the hotel's main floor, offers casual dining in an upscale restaurant and bar with exhibits of significant polo artifacts from Newport’s legendary polo heritage of which the Vanderbilt family played a major part, including items from the Vanderbilt Collection and from the Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame. The Polo Lounge is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, light hors d’oeuvres, dinner and cocktails with cuisine designed by executive chef Peter Lech.
Alfred G. Vanderbilt, heir to the railroad fortune of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was a summer regular in Newport during the Gilded Age, and a polo player in the historic Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club, founded in Newport in 1876. Today’s Newport Polo Club, successor to The Westchester Club, makes the Polo Lounge its home club.
The Newport Polo Club carries on the grand tradition of international polo competition started by the Westchester Polo Club, with the Newport International Polo Series on Saturdays throughout the summer at Glen Farm, on the outskirts of Newport, featuring teams from more than 20 nations around the world who come to play against Team USA. The visiting international players and members of the Newport Polo Club have become fixtures at the Polo Lounge.