The Caribbean Court, Maison Martinique, Havana Nights

Hotel: (772) 231-7211     Restaurant: (772) 231-7299

 

 

 

the only magazine dedicated exclusively to indian river county: Vero Beach Magazine. The Gonzalez Legacy Continues. A Very grand opening for the caribbean court
new life for a hurricane ravaged hotel. Farewell riviera; hello Caribbean. by ann taylor, photograph by john pine. Close your eyes for a minute, and picture yourself somewhere in the caribbean, savoring the spice that seasons island living. -sea scented breezes, happy colors, and a cuisine with a decidedly french flavour, Alluring and appealing, like that song you can't get out of your head, the romantic scene beckons you to come, stay and enjoy. The good news is, thanks to Boris González, that same island-in-the-sun ambience is within easy reach in Vero Beach on Ocean Drive. Welcome to the Caribbean Court and Maison Martinique, formerly known as the Riviera Inn, Tip Top restaurant, and later Chez Yannick. For González, who worked tirelessly for the past two-plus years to achieve The Riviera Inn has re-emerged as a two-storied, Caribbean-flavored boutique hotel. There is now an abundance of arches, balconies and flowering his vision of a charming boutique hotel and restaurant,  vines, including vibrant blue thumbergia, rich red bougainvillea, purple passion vine and white blooms of Confederate Jasmine. Inset, facing page: the hotel before renovations began. the opening is cause for celebration. “I fell in love with the building in January 2004 and wanted to buy it but I couldn’t get a contract on it for
González took the request seriously, started search-
ing, and found just what he was looking for right here
in his own backyard. In 1971, when he was in seventh
grade, his parents had moved the family to Vero Beach
from Spain. While his father Jorge was developing The
Moorings and his mother Leonor was teaching English
at St. Edward’s, González quickly made friends. He
also fell in love with his surroundings and developed a
deep appreciation for what Waldo Sexton had created
with “found things.”
Those are just some of the reasons that for the past
two years González has spent 14-16 hours a day on
site, overseeing the myriad tasks involved in transform-
ing the old hotel and restaurant.
González will be the first toadmit that he could
never have done it without the assistance of a number
of individuals and their firms, “including some terrific
sub-contractors.”
He saves his biggest thank-you for his mother, Le-
onor, who helped him achieve the look he was after.
“Mom has been the artistic overseer throughout,” he
explains, leading the way up a set of stairs to a guest
room on the second floor that opens to a terrace
overlooking the pool. González added white crown
  The entrance and the parking lot have been totally revamped, with Chicago brick pavers replacing the pot-holed asphalt left over from the old
  hotel. Inset: the same entrance before the renovation. molding and bead board and had the walls painted a
soothing honey tone.
  months,” says González. “I learned it was going to beenettes were antiquated. Walkways, stairs and the pool  “We tried to go for comfort. The beds are all new
  bulldozed to make room for condos, and I said no, no,deck were well-worn concrete. The pool needed to be  Beautyrest pillow tops with white, 100 percent cotton
The Caribbean Court offers two totally different water experiences. A
  no. In Monopoly I always remember that the idea was  redone and landscaped for privacy. The restaurant waslinens. The furniture is mahogany. I went all over to
profusion of oleander provides peace and privacy in the re-landscaped
  to own a hotel, and I thought, my goodness, what agrim, the kitchen small and inadequately configured. find the right pieces, from Frederick County, Vir- pool area while a nearby path leads to the ocean, a two-minute walk
away.
  waste of an asset to turn it into condos, so I decided  González knew he had his work cut out for him. ginia, to Lincoln Avenue in Chicago to Mount Dora.
  to take the risk.”  “The rooms needed updating,” he says, opening an  Kerry Eshleman helped in any number of ways, not
  González finally succeeded in his pursuit of the  album with before-pictures, pointing as he turns the the least of which was helping me pick out many beverages, a microwave, toaster oven, and set of china.
  property, purchasing it on Aug. 27, 2004, just days be- pages. “The linoleum floors creaked when you walked, items, and Mary Walters was instrumental in their  A coffee maker comes complete with a tray of beverage
  fore it was hit by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. What  the vanities were blue Formica, the headboards veneer.  repair and placement. Normally I like to find pieces  selections, sweeteners and creamers. Additional acces-
  had been an aging hotel was now an eyesore. Now all of the downstairs rooms have Mexican tile that need a little work. I like to fix things and makesories include hammered metal ice buckets, tongs, and
  Undaunted, González assessed the damage and floors and the ones upstairs have sisal carpeting.”  them better than they were before.” special bottle opener in a wooden case.
  pressed on. “I kept the footprint, improving what wasThose same warm earth tone tiles also replaced And that’s just what González has done with the “All of the art you see on the walls are originals by
  already here. I wanted to make it something different,  every inch of concrete on the walkways and pool deck;bathrooms. Gone are the dingy Formica counters, Caribbean painters,” González says. “I had originally
  something charming.”González chose ones with colorful patterns to add chipped sinks and cracked linoleum flooring; in their thought to have a little shop where we would sell
  And charming it is, starting with the old Chicago artistic interest on the stairways.place are white tiles interspersed with colorful Mexi-things, but then I thought why not turn the entire
  brick pavers in the guest parking areas and courtyard. can ones that repeat the design of the raised, bowl-  place into a shop? All of the different pictures are
 “T
  González says it best: “Before, it had been an asphalt  he reason I started looking for a hotel  shaped sinks.  catalogued and if someone wants to buy something
  driveway with a lot of potholes.”  was that, for years, I have co-sponsored Gilchrist & Soames Aloe Vera shell-shaped soaps they can.
  The exterior of the two-story, 18-room hotel with an annual networking conference in therest in curved wooden West Indies dishes, and there“Each room has a table so if you want you can have a
  its defining arches and balconies was a dingy white; field of chemical dependency,” González explains. are plenty of thick fluffy towels to go around. Addi- little romantic dinner for two. Our rate includes high-
  the landscaping was minimal and tired, the tile roof “People come here from all over the country, and  tional amenities include embroidered robes, in-roomspeed wireless Internet and local and long distance
  needed repair. The interior was even worse. Thread-  in 2003 Dr. Conway Hunter of St. Simon’s Islandsafes and an iron and hair dryer, plus a tray of choco-  calls within the continental U.S. The televisions have
  bare indoor/outdoor carpeting covered the floors, theasked me whether Vero Beach had a boutique hotel  lates and crackers. The kitchenettes are as equally well DVD and VCR; we have a movie library and can rent a
  furniture was mismatched, the bathrooms and kitch-like a little Jekyll Island Club where attendees to the appointed with a mini-refrigerator/freezer stocked with  movie for guests at Blockbuster upon request.
Vero Beach Magazine
Vero Beach Magazine
Vero Beach Magazine
          is to make people feel at home.”
              It’s obvious that González
           himself feels that way. Tanned,
           smiling, and wearing his signature
           guayabera, island print shorts
           and sandals, he’s the picture of a
           perfect island host.
              “The way I see the project is
           in three parts,” he says, leading
           the way around the pool to the
           entrance of Maison Martinique.
              “The first is the hotel; the
           second is the restaurant; the third
           is the event-coordinating func-
           tion that Elizabeth Kennedy will
           capitalize on to accentuate the
           many intimate charming nooks
           the hotel offers for private parties,
           mini conferences and very special
           weekend weddings.”
              Kennedy was instrumental in the
           initial concept of the restaurant
           and is thrilled at the prospect of
           working closely with Valerie and
           Yannick Martin, who will run the
           new restaurant. “I loved what they
           did at Café du Soir,” Boris says,                                                                                                         The restaurant’s spacious white banquettes offer a perfect counterpoint to the rose-colored walls. The large painting at rear depicts a hibiscus
                                                 The 18 guestrooms offer Beautyrest pillow top mattresses with 100 percent cotton linens. The furni-
           “and am so grateful to Paul and                                                                                                           bursting into bloom.
                                                 ture is mahogany, the walls a soothing cream tone. All of the downstairs rooms feature Mexican tile
                                                 floors and the upstairs rooms sisal carpeting.
           Nancy Morgan, dear friends who
           live at The Moorings, for their
           insistence that I contact them.”                                                                                                          and artistic touches all combine                   it was a homecoming of sorts as he had been the chef at the Riviera Inn’s
              Gonzalez is quick to point out                                                                                                         to create an intimate atmosphere.                  restaurant for five years before he and Valerie moved on to open Café du Soir
           that his mother was involved                                                                                                              The main dining room features                      on Royal Palm Pointe.
           in selecting the striking shade                                                                                                           a soaring bamboo ceiling, hang-                       When the Café closed in June 2005, González wasted no time contacting
           called roseland on the walls of the                                                                                                       ing lamps and a large fireplace,                   the couple. They both liked what they heard and saw, but knew there was work
           restaurant.                                                                                                                               its mantle a medley of chunky                      to be done to the kitchen. “We enlarged it by about eight feet, and Yannick
              “Boris wasn’t sure, but I said                                                                                                         coral and shells, hurricane globes                 designed it to his specifications,” says Valerie.
           look, this is a color that women                                                                                                          and candles. Mahogany tables                          “We’ve been together for 33 years, working side by side in restaurants, and we
           will love. I knew what I wanted                                                                                                           and chairs with striped fabric in                  know what works,” Yannick nods. “To take this seriously you have to like what
           and we tried and tried to get it                                                                                                          happy hues of peach and pink                       you do. For me, cooking is a passion.”
           just right,” Leonor says. “And the                                                                                                        add punch. The Shell Room,                            Another piece de resistance González has added to the mix is “Havana
           lamps hanging from the bamboo                                                                                                             Paula’s special creation, has shell                Nights,” a piano bar directly above Maison Martinique and reached either
           ceiling are wonderful–there are                                                                                                           lights on the walls spreading a                    by stairs or an elevator. Here, there is an impressive mahogany bar, white
           16 of them, you know. I had told                                                                                                          romantic glow. If eating al fresco                 banquettes, cocktail tables and baby grand piano. Also present are the spe-
           our interior designer Paula Holden                                                                                                        is preferred, dining on the outside                cial touches González delights in adding to the decor; in this case, oversize
           that I wanted lots of candles and                                                                                                         terrace is also available.                         burlap sugar bags with the name of his grandfather’s Cuban sugar mills
           she did a beautiful job finding just                                                                                                                                                         stamped on them.
           the right ones. In fact, Paula has                                                                                                                      ll in all, it’s a perfect               “My mother’s family has been in the sugar business in Cuba for years. Here
           been invaluable tying everything                                                                                                                        setting for Yannick                  we’re going to have entertainment and serve a light menu that will include
           together.”                                                                                                                                              Martin, known for his                French appetizers, Cuban daiquiris and Spanish tapas,” says González, smil-
              The candles, colors, furnishings                                                                                                       superb French cuisine. For him                     ing as he leads the way to the terrace. “People can come outside and enjoy the

                                                                                                                 Yannick Martin, better known in recent years
                                                                                                                 as the chef-owner of Café du Soir, is back at
                                                                                                                 the site of his old restaurant, Chez Yannick.
                                                                                                                 As well as a totally new look in the dining
                                                                                                                 areas, the kitchen has been renovated and
                                                                                                                 enlarged.
                                                                                                                 fresh air and ocean breezes.”
                                                                                                                    Leonor likes that idea; even more
                                                                                                                 she approves of everything her son
                                                                                                                 has been able to accomplish over
                                                                                                                 the past two years. “What Boris has
                                                                                                                 done is wonderful; even his mother
                                                                                                                 is impressed and that’s not an easy
                                                                                                                 thing to do,” she says.
                                                                                                                    “You just keep what works
                                                                                                                 and you fix what doesn’t,” says
           The main dining room at the Maison Martinique.
                                                                                                                 González, smiling as he stands in
                                                                                                                 the courtyard and surveys his cre-
                                                                                                                 ation. “I really like to do something
                                                                                                                 outside the nine dots; here I’ve
                                                                                                                 tried to create a place where people
                                                                                                                 will want to come, a place that is
                                                                                                                 charming, intimate and
                                                                                                                 memorable.” `
                                                                                                                     The following individuals and
                                                                                                                     organizations assisted in the creation of
                                                                                                                     the new Caribbean Court and Maison
                                                                                                                     Martinique: Joe Downing, Busy Bee
                                                                                                                     Nursery; architectural consultant
                                                                                                                     Jim Carmo; Hayslip Nursery; interior
                                                                                                                     designer Paula Holden and her associate
                                                                                                                     Heather Horwitz; landscape architect
                                                                                                                     Warren McCormick; Lin Biber, Perfect
                                                                                                                     Pavers; R. C. Boos Construction, and
                                                                                                                     engineer Bill Stoddard and his associate
           “Havana Nights” is the name of the piano bar located directly above Maison Martinique. The light
                                                                                                                     Mike Neville.
           menu will offer French appetizers and Spanish tapas.
             Caribbean Court Boutique Hotel                                               Maison Martinique Restaurant
                                     tel 772-231-7211                                                       tel 772-231-7299
                             info@thecaribbeancourt.com                                               info@maisonmartinique.com
                                            1601-5 South Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963
                                                                           fax 772-231-4220


 

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The Caribbean Court Boutique Resort 1601-1605 South Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963