A long-standing fixture on Rockland’s Main Street has been made like-new again. The Rockland Harbor Hotel is set to open its freshly-painted doors later this month.

Extensive renovations to the former Navigator Motor Inn at 520 Main St., began shortly after the property was purchased by Maine Course Hospitality Group in November.

“We love this kind of project,” said Sean Riley, president and CEO of MCHG. “We are having so much fun doing this project because we can put our own personalities into it.”

The hotel’s working waterfront and industrial view and its downtown location appealed to them, Riley said. “There is a renaissance going on here in Rockland, and we wanted to be a part of that.”

This is the group’s eighteenth hotel, Riley said, and he has been hands-on in helping with the renovations – even operating forklifts on site. As the president of the company, Riley said that building the quality of service from day one starts with him. He has been working to set the example that he’s willing to do the work that he asks of his staff, while reinforcing their company core values of respect, integrity, family and fun.

While MCHG manages several Hilton and Marriott properties, the Rockland Harbor Hotel is unique, he said. They can take the best practices they have learned from their other properties, but also add their own personal touches.

“We can operate like a Mom and Pop boutique hotel with all the standards of the brands,” he said.

Contractors basically left the walls of the original hotel – and even a few of those were torn down – and everything else has been replaced, said Tim Prosser, Rockland Harbor Hotel’s General Manager. Nearly every inch of the property has been renovated – new siding, paint, doors, flooring, kitchen, dining area – as well as all-new guest room furniture and bathrooms.

Maine Course Hospitality Group has spent millions on renovations, Riley said.

“We absolutely want a quality place that people can be proud of,” Prosser said. Most recently he was the assistant general manager of Embassy Suites in Portland. He has moved to Owls Head to take the position at RHH.

The original Navigator Motor Inn was built in 1972, where the Congregational Church and Rubenstein’s Antiques had been located, according to the Rockland Historical Society. The majority of the property has been renovated and a few of the items from the original hotel found new homes. The spiral staircase that had been located near the bar of the former Gator Lounge, as well as the exterior doors to the Gator Lounge were claimed by locals, Prosser said.

A new exterior facade featuring a red cedar pergola and siding, as well as an outdoor fire pit and seating area that will soon be landscaped greets guests. Rather than a traditional front desk upon entering, guests will see what Prosser described as “pods,” which offer a more inviting atmosphere for the staff to connect with guests. Also at check in there is a small gift shop area that will sell snacks and drinks with Maine-made items with local flair, he said.

Making personal connections with guests is their goal, Prosser said – whether that means making a birthday more special for someone or getting a plant for someone who is visiting a friend in the hospital – “it’s the little things that matter,” he said. And their staff will be empowered to do what it takes to keep guests happy.

“We are about total satisfaction and will be all about the guests from day one and we will do what we need to do to make things right,” he said.

The 82-room hotel has a staff of 25 and among the hotel’s amenities are free WiFi, a new fitness center that will include cardio equipment and free weights and a breakfast area offering both continental breakfast and hot breakfast items. The hotel also plans to offer their own blend of locally roasted Rock City Coffee – Rockland Harbor Roast.

Prosser said he is looking forward to creating unique guest experiences at the property – like a children’s story time with s’mores by the fire pit and tastings with local businesses.

The rooms feature king-size beds or two queen-size beds as well as 43-inch flat-screen televisions, microwaves, small refrigerators, and Keurig coffee systems. The design of the rooms is a sleek, contemporary look and features photos of local lighthouses and the waterfront. In the offseason, rates will start around $119 a night and in peak season will be around $200 a night; rates during the Maine Lobster Festival will be closer to $300 for balcony rooms, Prosser said.

In speaking with local downtown businesses, Prosser said the sentiment is they are excited to have an attraction like Rockland Harbor Hotel at that end of town and so far people love the changes they are seeing and are excited for the opening. He is currently working on creating relationships and partnerships with The Strand Theatre, Farnsworth Art Museum and Owls Head Transportation Museum and the hotel wants to be strong community partner, he said.

Reservations are already being taken beginning with the weekend of the North Atlantic Blues Festival, July 16 and 17, but Prosser said the hotel will be open later this month, however the exact date has not been announced. Regardless of the official opening date, they will welcome the Rockland Main Street group Tuesday, June 14, for Morning on Main at 8 a.m. for their monthly meeting. Right now everyone on staff is pitching in to get the finishing touches complete, he said. A ribbon cutting and official grand opening will be announced soon. For more, visit www.rocklandharborhotel.com.