Hotel Tivoli, Upstate New York
Will Ross, October 16, 2017
Arriving in Tivoli in September 2017 feels like the inspection of a village midway through its model development. At the central crossroads of the tiny settlement stands a 24-hour laundrette, a Mexican restaurant, a theatre and a hotel. Stray merely a few yards from the crossroads and you’ll find a bakery, a general store, a coffee bar and a whiskey-cum-beer tavern. Stand at the intersection of Broadway and North you’ll see this idyllic simulation has a focal point, with the hospitality of the Hotel Tivoli lighting up a resplendent scene that wouldn’t be out of place 100 miles south in Manhattan.
When Tivoli’s Madalin hotel and restaurant closed in 2013, renowned artists Helen and Brice Marden purchased the property, proceeding to update the Victorian building to its bright and energetic landmark. By pulling in the skills of their photographer daughter, Mirabelle, and her longstanding interior designer friend, the established artists recruited the tastes of a younger generation. The quartet proceeded to reinterpret traditional materials with new colours and local finds. Dark Douglas fir wood flooring is lightly stained purple, while the robust marble bar was sourced from Brooklyn. Furnishings were found from the nearby mid-century antique goldmine, Hudson, as well as through bizarre collectors listing on eBay.
Despite ample opportunity to go overboard with the eleven bedrooms in the hotel, sleeping quarters are spacious and airy. The Parsons Bed from Room and Board is a striking choice, matched with an open hanging space, small writing desk and pair of chairs. A small collection of hotel stationery is a welcoming touch, designed by New York-based Reunion Goods & Services.
Wander downstairs from your room and dinner options are plenty. The hotel’s The Corner restaurant mirrors the eclecticism of the accommodation, though with a Mediterranean and farm-to-table emphasis guided by chef Devon Gilroy. I went for the heirloom tomatoes with homemade mozzarella, followed by the yellowtail poke. Feeling a little fragile after a long day in the summer heat, the blackberry mint lemonade was my Monday night tipple. A continental breakfast with scrambled eggs set me off to protein perfect day the following morning.
Beyond the terrace, you’ll find coffee at Murray’s, responsible for reappropriating the local church for a new congregation, and Tivoli Bread & Baking, who have been built a following since turning on the oven in 2003. During these wanderings, you may come across produce from Tivoli General, sourcing produce from nearby Mead Orchard and Five Maple Farm – the U-Pick scene during harvest is vibrant. Tivoli also sells the literature of local authors like Joseph Luzzi’s In a Dark Wood, and European beer from the re-bottling factories of Germany. You might extend this introduction at the bar in Traghaven, a stone’s toss from the terrace at Hotel Tivoli.
If you’re looking to make the most of the comfortable accommodation and sumptuous Mediterranean dishes, get your running shoes on and head to Tivoli Bays. Simply go south at crossroads down Montgomery Street and after about a mile, head down a slope and veer left over a creek. Continue on the road once you’ve crossed the creek, up the slope on the other side then look right to a trail that juts off to the right, called Access Road on Google Maps but it’s essentially a gravel track.
This trail takes you down to Tivoli Bays down the right fork and to liberal arts college Bard if you go left. If you’re prepared to make a 5-mile run out of it, swing into campus, via the Frank Gehry-designed Bard Fisher Center for Performing Arts and over to Blithewood, a late-19th-century building with an impressive landscaped garden that overlooks the Hudson and Catskills Mountains. Double back from here, making sure to keep safe on the road – there is no pavement along the 500m sloped section of the road either side of the creek.
To get to Hotel Tivoli, take Amtrak from Penn Station to Rhinecliff Station, ordering a taxi in advance through Village Taxi (845 757-2244) to take you from the train station to the hotel. Amtrak costs c. $30 when purchased on the day, while the taxi costs $20.