The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis History
1874 – Abel D. Makepeace – Widely known and most respected Land Owner, Farmer and President of The Hyannis National Bank. Started as a potato farmer who in time transitioned to cranberry bogs earning him the nickname “Cranberry King” the original founder of what became Ocean Spray Cranberry Company.
1944-67 – Walter Hall’s Driving Range and Pitch and Putt, originally 9 holes, first place on Cape Cod to sell Soft Serve Ice Cream.
1950 – The Cape Cod Music Circus is opened by Richard Aldrich, Broadway producer and husband of Hollywood actress, Gertrude Lawrence. The Music Circus which eventually became the Cape Cod Melody Tent brings world class live entertainment to Cape Cod annually during the summer months. Most, if not all celebrities and stars stay at the Resort to this day.
1958 – Birth of American Express card, first made of paper, then plastic eight months later. Changes the way the average tourist and business individual travel and where to stay.
1961 – John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th president of the United States and the youngest president ever elected. Hyannisport and Hyannis are put on the map and his family compound becomes a new haven for tourists. Tourism on Cape Cod increases by 40%.
1967 – Land purchased from Walter Hall by Abraham Grosman. Abraham Grosman made his fortune in Nursing Homes in Boston during the 60’s and owned the largest house in Palm Beach which was purchased by Donald Trump in 2006. Mr. Grosman obtains a mortgage and builds the Sheraton Hyannis Motor Inn coupled with the Fiddlers Green Executive Golf Course.
1972 – Dunfey Family Group – Dunfey’s Hyannis Resort – 5 brothers who originally started a clam stand with a 32 room Inn at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire purchase the Resort from the Grosman’s and add 100 rooms and an additional 9 holes to the existing golf course. The Dunfey’s went on to become the first company to franchise hotels. Dunfey eventually became the powerhouse corporation known as Omni Hotels. The majority of the hotel properties retained the Sheraton Motor Inn name. The name came from one of the earliest properties acquired which had a heavy sign attached to the roof that read Sheraton Hotel in Springfield, MA and it was costly to remove so they retained the name. The Dunfey’s were intimate friends of the Kennedey’s and regularly campaigned and contributed to the presidential campaign.
1977 – “The Racquet Club” showroom opens in what was the original indoor tennis courts on property. Headline entertainment starts performing at the resort including Sonny and Cher, Ike and Tina Turner, Patti Page and Liberace.
1978 – Joining the rest of the country caught up in the Disco craze “Tingles” night club opens and creates a stir as most frequented night club on Cape Cod. “Studio 54” was at its peak of success and Donna Summer was the top performer.
1979 – Emeril Lagassi becomes the Executive Chef at the Dunfey’s Hyannis Resort and is nominated as Chef of the Year in 1983 prior to his illustrious television career.
1986 – Flatley Corporation purchases the Resort and several of the other New England Dunfey Hotels. It becomes the Sheraton Tara Hyannis.
1987 – Sheraton Tara Hyannis renovates the entire property and converts the cavernous Tivoli room into the Tara Ballrooms. The property changes its focus and starts to pursue the group market for conferences and large meetings.
1997 – Flatley Corporation sells the Resort to Starwood Hotels and re-flags the property as a Four Points by Sheraton. Shortly after the purchase the resort steadily declines into disrepair and becomes a shade of its former glory.
2008 – The Finch Group purchases the property and completes a $12,000,000 renovation and renames the property The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis for which it remains today servicing groups and tourists alike.
2010 – Summer 2010 brings the passing of Eunice Shriver and a large Kennedy funeral. Along with several other dignitaries and celebrities Oprah Winfrey and Gail King check in to the property to attend the services. During their stay a local pie company “Centerville Pies” delivers pies to the front desk of the hotel which are in turn delivered to Ms. Winfrey’s room. Oprah puts “Centerville Pies” on the map and are featured on her show.
2010 – Rachel Ray is invited to be the guest conductor for the Cape Cod Arts Foundation “Pops by the Sea” Concert. After her concert and reception duties were concluded she led a sing along at the piano in the 35 Martini Hotel Bar to the amazement and pleasure of our guests.
2014 – The Resort and Conference Center continues to be the largest property on Cape Cod regarding meetings and conferences. We continue the tradition of exceptional service coupled with warm hospitality and host thousands of social guests, meeting attendees, celebrities and dignitaries as we have done for the past 45 years.