Lifestyle Travel

At This New Delaware Hotel, the Restaurant Lamps Have the Exact Wattage for the Most Flattering Light

The Quoin is the city’s latest design destination.

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New Yorkers have long been keen on a weekend jaunt, whether it’s to the Hamptons out east or the Catskills and Hudson up north—but this summer, we’re calling it: It’s all about Delaware. Namely because of the Quoin, a new hotel and restaurant in Wilmington that’s two hours by car and even less by train from the Big Apple, but obviously, anyone from anywhere can make a visit to the 1885 Victorian-Romanesque brownstone.

Designed by two Philadelphia-based firms—Method Co. and Stokes Architecture + Design—the Quoin (the name is an old French architectural term for “corner” or “angle”) features a cozy lobby, the city’s first rooftop bar, an underground cocktail lounge, and 24 guest rooms. No two stays are the same, a unique challenge befitting a historic property, and Method Co. creative director Daniel Olsovsky explains that they intentionally kept the interiors simple and straightforward to convey a sense of authenticity.  

Mixing styles to counterbalance the Victorian architecture was no small feat, but Olsovsky and the team make it look seamless with a blend of Shaker-influenced furniture, traditional floral-print wallpapers from Farrow & Ball and Little Greene, and modern pieces from Gubi and Lawson-Fenning. Method Co.’s cofounder and CEO, Randall Cook, also sought out local craftspeople to fill the space with work that resonates with the destination. Joseph and Benjamin Johnson of Workerman Studios, a Philadelphia-based father-and-son team, created several of the property’s focal points, including the haberdashery-inspired cabinet in the lobby.

Throughout the common spaces, details help set the mood. Richard Stokes, founder and senior principal of Stokes Architecture + Design, says deciding on the proper lighting was essential to draw people into the environment. “It needs to be warm,” he says (2,400k, to be exact). “And not just to light the space, but the tables and the faces of guests when seated.” 

One of the property’s best-kept secrets is Simmer Down, a cocktail lounge tucked away behind what appears to be a utility door. The low barrel-vaulted ceiling adds to the moody ambience, while a whimsical mural by local artist and illustrator Michael Alan tells the story of Wilmington’s history from wall to wall as you sip on a gin-heavy Vesper. No matter how far you travel to get there, you’ll feel light-years from home. 

Where to Eat

De Co: Inside the Art Deco DuPont Building, this contemporary food hall serves the downtown lunch crowd. With eight restaurants and a soaring atrium bar, there’s a little something for everyone, including a regular schedule of events and pop-up artisan markets. 

Le Cavalier: Occupying the ground floor of the nearby Hotel DuPont in an ornate triple-height Renaissance Revival space, Le Cav (as the locals call it) embraces the flavors of North Africa and Provence with dishes like eggplant tajine and branzino rouille. 

Wilma’s: New to Market Street, Wilma’s specializes in decadent, Southern-inspired dishes that taste like lazy days in New Orleans. Not hungry? It also offers duckpin bowling to help you work up an appetite. 

Bardea: This innovative, James Beard–nominated restaurant offers tongue-in-cheek twists on familiar Italian dishes (burrata pop-tart, anyone?) with ingredients all sourced from organic farms and purveyors nearby. For alfresco dining, be sure to also stop by its newest concept, Bardea Steak, next door. 

Where to Shop

Trolley Square Market: Almost hidden on the second floor of an unassuming strip mall, this homewares shop is stocked with everything from beautifully packaged candles and potted plants to works by local artists.

Girard Craft and Cork: The friendly staff at this specialty wine shop will help guide you through its assortment of the highest-quality bottles (including some local faves), whether you’re looking for a gift or for yourself. 

Delaware Estate Sale Warehouse: A short drive from downtown, this warehouse is chock-full of estate finds, vintage decor, and antique furniture. The inventory can be hit or miss, and sifting through the products is not for the faint of heart. But for those who love the hunt, this is the place for you.

Get the Look

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