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Chill at Hotel Zero Degrees and Mediterraneo of Norwalk

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This weekend I had the good fortune to get an exclusive look inside the brand-new Hotel Zero Degrees on Main Avenue (Route 7) in Norwalk and its gorgeous on-site restaurant, Mediterraneo of Norwalk!  Both those names may seem somewhat familiar; the hotel’s sister property on Washington Boulevard in Stamford has been luring out-of-towners with its urban-chic vibe since 2009 and has earned the distinction of being the #1 rated hotel in Stamford on Trip Advisor.   The restaurant is managed by the Z Hospitality Group, whose impressive line-up of restaurants include; Mediterraneo in Greenwich, Solé in New Canaan, Acqua in Westport, and Aurora in Rye, New York.  Although Hotel Zero Degrees opened on April 8th, the restaurant is opening tonight – and take my advice…make a reservation now – this place is going to be hot.

First, the hotel…Founded by Randy Salvatore, Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk blends modern simplicity with luxurious elegance.  The hotel’s sleek glass and steel facade hints at the hotel’s urban vibe, but the sophisticated interior is sexy and inviting.  Designed by Christine Shanahan of Massachusetts-based Studio E, the decor in the lobby and Celsius Lounge blend hues of taupe, notes of cerulean blue, cream and natural wood-tones – the perfect backdrop to the wall of glass that overlooks the rushing Norwalk River and surrounding woodlands.  The contrast between the natural landscape and sleek modern design is striking.

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Mia Schipani, the Vice President of Business Development, said that she is working with the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan to curate the art for the space.  ”We are partnering with Silvermine to bring us together with local artists and artisans.  We’re also working with the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and other not-for-profit organizations.  We believe in being very involved in the community and partnering with local organizations – it’s a win-win for everyone,”  Schipani explained.

Schipani says that the art will change periodically, showcasing different artists in the various gallery-like public spaces. “The artists are very excited about it and so are we!” she said.

The hotel’s accommodations are large and comfortably outfitted.  Each of the 96 rooms feature plush fabrics, laptop-friendly safes, spacious work areas with task lighting, over-sized showers and luxury bath products from Gilchrist and Soames.  Although the hotel is geared towards the business traveler during the week, weekends are made for relaxing – the hotel is offering romantic couples get-away packages and special destination packages for families that include discounted tickets to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and a family fun night.  Rooms are reasonably priced and a good value for the area (check the reservations website for pricing).

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Their philosophy includes a commitment to the environment and they’ve developed a “Zero Tolerance” policy which includes maintaining a zero carbon footprint; mindfully recycling, selecting environmentally responsible products and materials, and reducing waste.

The hotel also boasts a fitness center, ballroom (available for private parties and corporate meetings) and a rooftop deck for guests and private events – sorry, the deck is only open to hotel guests not the general public.

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Now, on to the restaurant…Opening this evening, Mediterraneo of Norwalk promises to be Fairfield County’s newest see-and-be-seen spot.  Taking its cues from the colors of the hotel’s Celsius Lounge and turning them up a notch, the restaurant’s nautical theme blends the hues of the sea with gleaming stainless, pure white seating, and natural wood  banquets – a setting that evokes the feeling of cruising on a yacht just off the island of Capri. The rushing waterfall behind the wall of plate-glass windows adds a water element and sets a romantic scene.

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Owned by the charming Ramze Zakka, the visionary behind the celebrated Z Hospitality Group, Mediterraneo of Norwalk promises to deliver the same outstanding quality and innovative cuisine as his other restaurants.  In the kitchen, Chef Albert DeAngelis, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will put his own spin on Italian favorites with an emphasis on freshly caught seafood.  Both lunch and dinner will be served.

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Hotel Zero Degrees –  353 Main Avenue, Norwalk, 203-750-9800

Mediterraneo Norwalk – 353 Main Avenue, Norwalk (203) 229-0000

See more of what’s hip and happening in Fairfield County at www.fairfieldista.com

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