Amenities at this boutique hotel include a custom motorcycle building program – Robb Report
You can’t miss the motorcycle photo at Restoration, a boutique hotel in Charleston, SC, which reopened a year ago after a $ 27 million makeover. It spans the wall opposite an entryway and shows a stripped-down 1976 Honda CJ360 customized with a plunging Yamaha seat, chrome fenders, and lower handlebars than the model’s original ones. The rider wears leather brogues, no socks, blue jeans rolled up above the ankles and a bow tie. He’s on a dirt road crossing a meadow on his way to the city for a night, hence the dress shoes and ties.
If the picture doesn’t stop you, the actual version of the bike will. It shines under the work of art, as if it had come out of the frame. Rugged yet stylish, it invites hotel guests to take a break and perhaps entertain their own biker fantasies.
Sometimes Ivan Remus shows up too. That’s the guy in the photo, and it’s his bike, at least until one day the hotel’s creative director, Cory Ingram, saw the photo and contacted him. Ingram asked if Remus would sell him the bike and also become the design consultant and builder for the Open road of restoration project (hotelrestauration.com). It is a program that offers customers the opportunity to design and commission a custom motorcycle.
The second question, while strange in the context of a boutique hotel, was easy for Remus. He had been building custom bikes for 15 years and was certainly qualified for the role. As to the first question? He was reluctant to part with his Honda. “I was hesitant,” he said, “but at the same time honored. It’s bittersweet.
Remus, the Honda, and the photo of them are part of a bigger package for the hotel.
“I had that moment aha,” Ingram said, remembering the first time he saw the photo. “It reflects the DNA I wanted to pass on – that feeling of freedom and Americana.” His hope was that the hotel would do more than just provide travelers to Charleston with a chic place to stay; he wanted it to celebrate local artists and contribute to a greater sense of community in the city. This led to the establishment of the hotel’s Artist-in-Residence program, which began with the Charleston-based photographer. Ben gately williams (gately williams.com). His works are on display throughout the property, none more visible than the photo of Remus on the Honda.
Giving guests the option of working with a local craftsman to customize their own vintage bikes also fits Ingram’s vision for the hotel. Remus charges a consultation fee of $ 500, which is applied to the cost of the motorcycle if the guest continues with the project. It secures the base bike and parts to customize it and completes the project in 4-9 months. The final price depends on the donor’s bike and parts costs and the amount of labor required.
Remus, who grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Charleston with his family in 1990 when he was 12, works in a small downtown studio. Elvis and James Brown dominate the studio’s playlist. For a pilot, he made a 1970s Honda CL350 to be better suited for commuting. He removed the red paint from the fuel tank and repainted it with charcoal, to match the owner’s Audi. It also replaced the original saddle with a more streamlined café-racer style saddle. The bike has become sleeker and more practical, says Remus: “It’s more streamlined and there is now less weight, which releases power.
Remus’ current car is another custom vintage Honda, a 1973 CB500 Four K2 which he painted bright green. “I made everything else smaller so that the frame and engine stood out,” he says.
He still misses the Honda pictured, but knows that it found a good home in the Restoration, where it is the focal point of the hotel’s Cultural Library. He keeps company there with art books organized in partnership with Assouline Publishing, plush leather sofas and fur cushions. “His bikes are neat and well assembled,” says Nicholas Boudreau, Remus’ friend and fellow traveler. “They’re just as good with beer and burgers as they are with wine and cheese.”