Vacationing in the small Bucks County borough of New Hope, Pennsylvania makes you feel like you’re part of a community rather than a guest in one. Everywhere you go, friendly locals are eager to offer recommendations to help you make the best of your visit. From the restaurants to the art galleries and antique shops, the residents are proud of the bustling tourist attraction that the town has become and excited to share the tales of how it got there. Spending even just a short amount of time in New Hope, it becomes clear that you’re in a town that celebrates its past. Whether it’s a tour of the Parry Mansion museum (a must-visit, if you’re in the area) or a bite to eat in an old stone tavern from 1751, the area is rich with history that seeps through at every turn and in every conversation with the locals. This nostalgia is also evident in one of the town’s newest hotels, The River House at Odette's.
Odette Myrtil may not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but she’s a local legend in New Hope. The French-American violinist and vaudeville actress lived out her retirement in the small Bucks County borough and now, over 30 years after her death in 1978 at the age of 80, her spirit lives on at The River House. The luxury hotel and event space opened for business mid-pandemic and the staff hopes visitors and locals alike will experience some of the same magic that Ms. Myrtil brought to her cabaret house that once stood on the same plot of land.
Although the original structure wasn’t salvageable after damage from several floods over the years, Refined Hospitality set out to make sure Chez Odette’s would live on in nearly every facet of their new property. The entrance to the event space features portraits of Odette herself. The walls of the party room are decorated with quotes from actual love letters she wrote. There are menu items that replicate the food that used to be served at the old restaurant. They even have musicians performing in the piano lounge who played in the original space. The River House is a time capsule that also happens to be a boutique hotel with over 30 rooms and several multi-bedroom guest houses located a short walk down the road.
The ode to Odette is just a small part of what makes this place special. One visit up to the members only restaurant, ROOF, and that becomes clear. Hotel guests share access to the rooftop eatery with club members from the local area who come to socialize over artfully-crafted cocktails, prime cuts of beef, and views of the Delaware River. ROOF After Dark, their late night programming from Thursday to Saturday, is the perfect way to cap off a day exploring New Hope. In fact, between meals offered at ROOF and Odette’s, the live entertainment in the piano lounge and DJ sets during ROOF After Dark, guests can have their fill of fun and relaxation without even leaving the property. For anyone that decides to venture out into town, the hotel offers complimentary bike rental and encourages overnight visitors to ride on the historic New Hope towpath that runs right behind the hotel and stretches nearly 59 miles.
The original Chez Odette’s closed its doors in 1976, but has lived on in the hearts of the local community in the decades since. Even when construction for the hotel began, the first order of business was to relocate the remnants of the original building 1,000 feet down the road so that it could be preserved rather than demolished. But if Odette Myrtil was building her restaurant and cabaret house in 2021, it would probably look a lot like The River House.
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