The pandemic may be continuing to rage, holding us back from doing many of the things we would like to do, but the hotel scene in the Hudson Valley has not been standing still. Older establishments have been reinventing themselves and new hotels have been opening apace. But beware: These are not your tchotchke-filled “olde” inns and guesthouses of yore. They are one-off originals, hip and in some cases edgy, where that bowl of slightly moldering apples on the front desk has been replaced by flax and chia seeds, where schmaltzy repro pictures of Venice and Positano on the walls have given way to cool and funky modern art and where you’re as likely to find Myla sex toys in the minibar as a Diet Coke or Snickers bar.
Hotel Dylan, Woodstock
At Hotel Dylan, Courtney and Robert Novogratz have taken a run-down old motel and imbued it with a psychedelic, 1960s vibe — although there’s no need for psychotropic drugs if you stare at the rather beautiful but mesmeric wallpaper long enough. Every room is named for a rock legend and comes complete with a Crossley record player and, it goes without saying, a great selection of vinyl. Recently expanded, the hotel boasts a heated, saltwater pool and with a first-class gym (across the street, and accessible to hotel guests), couch potatoes have no excuse. The Dylan’s terrific, small Mexican restaurant, Santa Fe, punches well above its weight and lively Woodstock — bars and restaurants galore — is minutes away. The Dylan also makes a great base for exploring colorful nearby towns like Phoenicia and Saugerties.
Hutton Brickyards, Kingston
Across the scenic Ashokan Reservoir, 10 miles from Woodstock as the crow flies (the road will take you on a more circuitous route,) lies Hutton Brickyards, the newest addition to the Salt collection of hotels. Two talented hoteliers and designers, David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea — who have cut their teeth on two cool, mellow properties, the Salt House Inn and Eben House in Provincetown — have partnered with Brickyards owner, film writer Karl Slovin, to create a luxury retreat on the 73-acre former industrial site. (A huge gantry crane and dilapidated kiln are all that remain to remind guests of the building’s original purpose.) Reopened this year after a major renovation, Hutton Brickyards by any other name is basically a spoiling camp for adults, offering a variety of sleek, rather beautiful cabins, spa sheds for massages and facials, upscale pursuits like archery and croquet on the lawn and bucolic walks and rides on the grounds and beyond. Working away in the kitchen, meanwhile, is ex-Balthazar and Minetta Tavern chef Dan Silverman, who uses a wood-fired grill to cook superb fish, meat and vegetables.
The Roundhouse, Beacon
Excellent food is a big part of the draw, too, at The Roundhouse in Beacon, where a new restaurant seems to open in the time it takes to say, well, Beacon. Fully attuned to its Hudson Valley locale, the restaurant, which is currently open Thursdays through Mondays, takes palpable pride in using local ingredients — though its lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, while not ostensibly local, is nevertheless a showstopper. And thrilling views of the Fishkill Creek add an extra dimension to eating here. The charming, 23-room hotel, meanwhile — a former textile factory and later the H. N. Swift machine shop, where the first lawnmowers in America are said to have been manufactured — has been cleverly integrated into the building’s original curved walls, respecting its history. Reclaimed wood and original brick lend atmosphere, pillow-top mattresses and luxury linens assure comfort and the cooked breakfasts — included in the room rate — are said to be the best in Beacon. The Roundhouse’s owner is Long Island-to-Beacon transplantee, Bob McAlpine, of McAlpine Construction Co. fame.
The Chatwal Lodge
Located in the Catskill Mountains and so not strictly speaking in the Hudson Valley, this exciting new property, slated to open as our September issue goes to press, is tipped to be so hot that we make no excuse for including it. A sister hotel to New York City’s highly-regarded Chatwal, a luxury, razzmatazz space close to Times Square, this is something of a town-and-country mouse scenario. You want bright lights, big city, you head to The Chatwal. You seek quiet, solitude and astonishing natural beauty in a 2,500-acre preserved wilderness in the fresh air of the Catskills, you head to The Chatwal Lodge.
The hotel is the brainchild of visionary hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, who has spared no expense in making his new property, located on Sullivan County’s Chapin Estate, the new template for Catskills luxury, while marrying it with the beauty of the great outdoors — which is a lot more difficult to achieve than it sounds. Architect and builder Steve Dubrovsky, who bought the entire Chapin Estate more than 20 years ago, has mandated a 19th century Adirondack aesthetic in the design, so you can expect shedloads of natural wood in the guest rooms and suites, with vaulted ceilings and functional but rather beautiful handmade furniture. Bathrooms feature outdoor showers, and there are indoor, deep soaking tubs for the less adventurous.
Suites come with kitchens and their own dining areas, making Chatwal Lodge entirely conducive to “natural” social distancing, restorative retreats and upscale, multigenerational vacations. And, as you would expect, when it comes to dining great emphasis is placed on the natural bounty of the Catskills, with local cheesemakers, farmers and growers all well represented. The jury must still be out until after opening, however, on Chatwal’s tantalizing prospect of “localism through a culinary lens.”
All the way up in Hudson, the recently opened, 11-room Maker is certainly making its mark. It’s a gorgeous property, surely designed with sybarites in mind. Imagine a beautiful, flower-filled Georgian house — antique filled bedrooms with rich swags and custom-made beds. Consider an elegantly proportioned conservatory restaurant ( as well as very hip, very ‘Hudson’ juice bar, along with an Edwardian-style cocktail bar) and young staffers so obliging, so friendly, so utterly intuitive, they seem to know what you want before you know it yourself. Oh, and then there is the pool, small but perfectly formed, which could have been lifted directly from the Hollywood Hills (or maybe Umbria), which you should take advantage of before summer is entirely over. The Maker is all the more remarkable because two of its three founders, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, are not professional hoteliers. Indeed, they are not hoteliers at all. But they are the creators of cult brand Fresh Beauty — now owned by LMVH — so there’s nothing they don’t know about quality goods, pampering the customer and raising the aesthetic. Suddenly, the idea that they have established such a chic retreat makes perfect sense.
For more, visit hoteldylan.com, salthotels.com, roundhousebeacon.com, thechatwallodge.com and themaker.com.