The Fairhope Inn and Restaurant has a long and impressive history in the community with which it shares its name. It was built as a private home over a hundred years ago and has operated as a unique dining and lodging establishment for more than twenty years. The Inn has recently reopened after an extensive renovation under the direction of new owner, Paige Dawson, who purchased the property and the business last spring. Dawson brings an impressive set of skills to the table and has used them to achieve her goal – updating and refreshing the restaurant, bar, outdoor entertaining space, and four luxurious guest rooms while preserving the historical and architectural integrity of the structure along with the Inn’s reputation for gracious service and delicious food.
When the Inn reopened in October, patrons were treated to all new furnishings, lighter colors, completely updated guest lodging, and an overall vibe that marries the old and the new. “We were closed exactly one hundred days,” says Dawson. “We accomplished amazing things in that period of time. We extended the kitchen and added state-of-the-art equipment. We upgraded the prep area and the dish room, making it easier for our culinary staff to put out the finest meals for the restaurant and private parties.” Additionally, the bar, now renamed the Polo Lounge to acknowledge the original polo-themed artwork by acclaimed local artist B’Beth Weldon celebrating the sport’s connection to the area. “We also had an entirely new bar constructed,” says Dawson. “The overall palette of the room is lighter, and the gently curved bar softens the feel of the space. Mirrors and glass contribute to the feeling of light, as do the expansive dining porch windows that are visible from the bar area.”
The spacious enclosed courtyard provides an attractive focal point for guests on the dining porch on the south side of the Inn. A fountain anchors the charming space, and an existing gazebo was relocated to provide more open space for dining, dancing, mingling, and a tent if desired. At the rear of the courtyard is the Carriage House, which provides luxurious private accommodations in its spacious bedroom and sitting area. New landscaping has been installed around the entire property, and tall privacy fences enclose two sides of the courtyard. Classic wrought iron fencing along the sidewalk makes the courtyard feel open and welcoming.
The renovation was accomplished on an aggressive timetable due in large part to the professionals with whom Dawson worked. “I was lucky to work with David Martin and SCC Group, LLC out of Point Clear on this project, and I couldn’t be happier. David and his people did a great job and made the whole thing come together in a very quick turnaround. My dear friend and sorority sister at the University of Alabama, designer Lila McDuffie Bailey, put her skills to work on the colors, furnishings, and finishes, achieving the overall light, modern feel while preserving the Inn’s history and elegance.”
It’s not just the owner and the physical surroundings that are new. Executive Chef Weston Simpson returned to the Inn after several years elsewhere, bringing with him new twists to the menu. General Manager Jeffrey Mog brings years of experience to the front of house position and oversees arrangements for special events. The Inn is a coveted location for rehearsal dinners, weddings, receptions, as well as social and special business events. The dining rooms and courtyard accommodate parties of up to 300 guests.
“The Fairhope Inn has once again taken its rightful place in the culinary and social scene in Fairhope. We look forward to hosting many private events – from small intimate dinners in our private dining room to weddings and other celebrations that fill the entire Inn,” says Dawson. “Please come visit and see for yourself what’s happening in our charming Inn.”
THE FAIRHOPE INN
Paige Dawson, Owner
Jeffrey Mog, General Manager
63 South Church Street
Fairhope, AL 36532