The Daniel hotel in Brunswick has been closed all week for repairs to the HVAC system. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Dozens of Bowdoin College families visiting for parent’s weekend had their hotel reservations canceled last minute and a bride was told she would need to find a new venue just days before her wedding when Brunswick’s The Daniel hotel closed for repairs late last week. 

The hotel’s 24 rooms were all booked for the weekend, according to Abhijit “Beej” Das, CEO of Troca Hotels, the company which purchased the Daniel in 2013.  With colder weather looming, he made the “very difficult decision” to close the hotel in order to make what he called “extensive repairs” to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which has been broken for months. 

“Displacing parents on parents’ weekend is absolutely painful, especially in a small town,” Das said, and “it’s just as painful to tell someone, ‘hey, this property is not available for your special event,'” but “we can’t sell guest rooms without heat and space heaters aren’t a viable solution.” 

The HVAC system at The Daniel has been broken all summer, resulting in no heating or cooling in the building and contributing to a flood in the ballroom. Staff purchased 42 window air conditioning units to keep guests cool for the remainder of the summer. The elevator has also been out of order for several months, but is an unrelated issue. 

The summer is “really not a good time to close the property,” Das said, with more activity and reservations, but as cooler weather approached he said he could no longer put it off and closed the hotel. 

Between 20 and 30 full and part-time workers employed by the Daniel are on standby. They are not working while the hotel is closed, though there have not been any formal layoffs and they “will have their positions when we return to operation,” Das said.

The repairs are expected to cost the hotel, built in 1819, between $50,000 and $100,000. 

John Ragucci’s daughter, Megan, was supposed to get married at The Daniel on Saturday, but learned Monday, less than a week after her family had visited the venue to taste the food and finalize the catering agreement, that the hotel would be closed and they’d have to rush to find a new wedding site. 

The Raguccis signed the contract for the venue in August 2018. They said the early 19th-century hotel had everything they needed. It was small, there were a restaurant and bar on-site with good food, a great staff, and had plenty of local history. 

“We figured it was one-stop shopping,” John Ragucci said. 

Ragucci knew guests would no longer be able to stay in the block of rooms they had reserved for the party but figured at first that everything was still on for the wedding. 

“I thought, worst-case scenario, it’s a little cool, a little damp,” he said. 

Then, on Friday, eight days before the wedding, he showed up at The Daniel to find it closed. 

The following day, he emailed Das and asked for reassurance that the facility would still be available for the wedding. Later that day, Hotel Manager Jeffrey Cappellieri emailed a letter canceling the contract and refunding the $1,000 deposit. 

Das said in an interview that it would be “inappropriate to comment” on individual hotel guests or events. 

Ragucci and the rest of the party found an unexpected opening at The Brunswick Hotel. They signed the contract on Tuesday evening, just four days before the wedding. 

Meanwhile, Das is trying to get the property back up and running as soon as possible. 

“We have worked hard to keep The Daniel and to keep it relevant,” he said, citing multimillion-dollar renovations in 2015. 

Das has not cited a target reopening date but estimated Thursday that it could be early next week. 

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