A decorative lighthouse stands in front of the office at Cook’s Island View Motel, Bailey Island, on Dec. 30. (J.W. OLIVER PHOTO)
Cook’s Island View Motel will reopen in the spring under new ownership, with a new name and a fresh look.
“We are back in the motel business,” said Jeffrey Raup, who now owns the motel with his wife, Mindy Schwarz-Raup. The couple also owns the former Bailey Island Motel, which they are converting into three high-end condominiums.
Unlike the old Bailey Island Motel, the couple will continue to operate Cook’s Island View Motel as a motel. They plan to change the name to Bailey Island View Motel, or maybe just Bailey Island Motel.
Raup and Schwarz-Raup bought the old Bailey Island Motel from Paul and Rita Dube in March and operated it for one “phenomenal” season, Raup said. But Raup cited several hurdles to the motel’s long-term prospects, including its relatively small size and unreliable water supply. The 63-year-old motel had a dozen rooms and an owner’s residence on a 1.05-acre lot just south of the Cribstone Bridge.
Up the hill and a half-mile south, Cook’s Island View Motel sits on 3.5 acres. The building has 20 rooms, bigger and in better condition than those in the old Bailey Island Motel. Cook’s also boasts a three-bedroom apartment, an in-ground pool and an “abundant” water supply, Raup said.
The transaction closed on Dec. 22. The previous owners, Barry and Patti Pontolillo, bought the property in December 2005, according to town records.
Barry Pontolillo’s connection to Bailey Island goes back generations. “I’ve come to Bailey Island my whole life,” he said. At 19, he bought his grandparents’ cottage on the island.
Barry is an attorney, Patti a registered nurse. In 2005, they were living and working in Connecticut. Patti wanted to open a bed-and-breakfast. When they saw Cook’s Island View for sale, they chose a motel instead.
Both have continued to work their full-time jobs while operating the motel, usually alongside two employees. Barry continues to practice law in Connecticut. Patti now works at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where the couple has a home.
“We had a very good year” in 2021, Barry said, but they decided to sell because they are “getting a little older” and because they found the right buyers.
“We wanted to make sure it stayed a motel,” Barry said, and the new owners have the “enthusiasm and drive” to rejuvenate the property.
Barry said that he and his wife enjoyed their time as proprietors of the motel, especially the opportunity to meet interesting people from around the world and hear their stories. He attributes the motel’s success to its location.
“It’s the charm and allure of Bailey Island that brings people 15 miles out of their way” down a dead-end road, he said.
Raup said that when Cook’s Island View went on the market, he and his wife couldn’t pass it up.
Renovations are already in progress. The new owners plan to add air conditioning and heat, build decks behind some rooms, replace 90% of the furniture and lighting, and transform the appearance of the property with new landscaping.
“It’ll look different and it’ll feel different,” Raup said.
They will add lawn games, like cornhole and bocce, as well as grills for cookouts. “We’re going to make it more appealing to be there,” Raup said. They need permission from the town for some aspects of the project.
Raup, who has a background in real estate development, is overseeing the renovations to both properties.
The couple plans to open their new motel in mid-May. They are thinking about winterizing some rooms in an effort to extend the season through Christmas. Cook’s Island View Motel previously operated from Memorial Day weekend through the second weekend of October.