Shelter Island's once-sleepy Kona Kai Resort has a fresh spark, thanks to a $20M overhaul by its new owner, Noble House Hotels & Resorts. The renowned hospitality group, which also runs Palm Springs' swanky Riviera, was attracted to the property by its prime waterfront location and history; it was a celebrity hot spot in the '50 and 60's, when Sammy Davis, Jr. and his Rat Pack buddies used to stay and play here during marlin fishing trips out of the adjacent marina.
The Spanish Colonial buildings were decorated in a dated Polynesian style before their recent modern makeover, which included upgrades to the lobby, guest rooms and the resort's main eatery, the just-opened Vessel.
Done up in reclaimed boat wood, the nautically-themed restaurant evokes a contemporary beach cottage and includes a booth and banquette-lined dining room and a separate bar area serving craft beer and cocktails. There will be live music here on Fridays, and free concerts for the public on Kona Kai's private beach every Saturday night and Sunday afternoon through the summer.
Small and shareable plates dominate the menu (pulled pork sliders, smoked fish dip, spicy tuna tacos), but there are larger mains that include a mole-marinated pork chop, steak frites with chimichurri and chili-rubbed snapper.
· Kona Kai Resort [Official Site]
· All Opening Alerts on Eater [~ESD~]