Lake House doors soon to open

The Lake House on Canandaigua is scheduled to open to the public Aug. 14

Mike Murphy
And the ribbon is cut on The Lake House on Canandaigua, the new hotel at the former Inn on the Lake site on Canandaigua Lake. Officials gathered Thursday for the occasion, with doors expected to open to the public next week. [MIKE MURPHY/MESSENGER POST MEDIA

CANANDAIGUA — Getting to the point to host a ceremony to mark the soon-to-open The Lake House on Canandaigua wasn’t easy.

And, Doug Bennett, a co-developer of the site and third-generation Sands family member, noted that it took an army and a lot of money. But during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at the site of the former Inn on the Lake hotel, Bennett said the Sands family and developers who built the $48.5 million Lake House created the excitement around its opening.

Now, it’s the community’s hotel, he said.

“This is for all of you, your families and our community,” Bennett said. “Together, we have the opportunity to do something truly special. This is our community, our special place, our Chosen Spot. We believe in this community and together, we want to show it off to the world.”

The doors of the 125-room boutique hotel are scheduled to officially open to the public Aug. 14.

The reimagined Sand Bar onsite opened in July, while the Rose Tavern signature restaurant is next up, with an anticipated opening in September. The Lake House Spa by Soveral is planned to open in October while an event barn will be opening at an unspecified time.

Valerie Knoblauch, president and CEO of the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, said the tourism agency has been looking forward to the opening of the Lake House. And with each aspect of the hotel concept opening, new people will be coming to the Finger Lakes region.

“The level of service that they are going to provide, the quality experience they’re promising and will deliver on, and just the overarching invitation to come to our area that this place is giving will benefit not only tourism but the residents of the area as it becomes a destination itself,” Knoblauch said.

Canandaigua Mayor Bob Palumbo said he is happy the hotel is ready to open, and that rooms already have generated interest, while also noting the great feedback about customer experiences at the Sand Bar.

“Hopefully the people that are coming get up to downtown and Sonnenberg and the Historical Society, to see all the things that Canandaigua has to offer,” Palumbo said.

New staff members were introduced, including General Manager Simon Dewar and Jennifer Hess, director of guest experiences, and several holdovers from the Inn days also have been retained.

Bennett said the service standard and overall quality at this hotel will be like no other.

“It will be the right amount of luxury to attract a new traveler to this region, but still maintain the sense of place that makes it approachable and fit within this community,” Bennett said.

The former Sheraton Canandaigua Inn was built in 1980. The Inn on the Lake was closed in October 2018, with demolition work beginning soon after.

The intent of the new hotel is to give all who visit the same kind of experiences that members of the Sands family have had for generations.

Bill Caleo, a co-developer with Bennett, his cousin, and grandson of Marvin and Mickey Sands, shared a story of his grandmother.

They were sitting in the screened-in porch at her house on Canandaigua Lake. Caleo said he asked his grandmother, then in her 90s, what life is all about and what she will miss in this world when she is no longer here.

In her soft-spoken voice, she told Caleo she would miss sitting here on Canandaigua Lake each morning and having a cup of tea, and looking at the willow tree in front of her house, in the most beautiful place on Earth, he said.

“It was such a wonderful answer,” Caleo said. “And that’s what we want for our guests here. We want people to go on those balconies, look out at that lake, and have that moment of peace and tranquility.”

Doug Bennett, The Lake House on Canandaigua co-developer and member of the Sands family ownership team, welcomes dignitaries to the new-and-improved hotel on Canandaigua Lake.