Artists-turned-hoteliers Brice and Helen Marden poured their creativity into transforming a run-down boutique stay in Tivoli Village, upstate New York. In its current form as boutique stay Hotel Tivoli, it’s a colourful character. The Mardens’ paintings hang scattershot on the walls, the interior has been modernised and lightened, and dark Victorian tendencies nixed in favour of purple-stained floors, poppy-red chairs and plush-toy-pink sofas. Each of the 11 rooms is uniquely designed, and all have original artwork, village views and bright colours. Downstairs, the Corner restaurant serves farm-to-table fare, local brews and seasonal cordials; settle in for a full meal, or pull up a stool at the bar to mingle.
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A welcome selection of regional cheese and house-baked artisan bread, along with a local beer, cider, or a special kir each
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £229.11 ($279), including tax at 12.125 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 5% per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include a buffet breakfast of house-baked breads, granola, local fruit and yoghurt, fresh orange juice, and made-to-order eggs. A five per cent gratuity for housekeepers and breakfast servers is also included.
When they heard that the Madalin – the town’s beloved old hotel and restaurant, was no more – stalwarts of New York's art world Brice and Helen Marden stepped in and transformed the building into its current incarnation as an art-filled retreat.
Hotel is closed for annual refurbishment from 2 January to 7 February 2018.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, Nespresso coffee machine and a kettle with New York-based Harney & Sons teas in the reception area, which also has snacks and a mini fridge for guests' use. In rooms: free bottled water and Le Labo bath products (most rooms have a TV); in the suite, there’s also a mini fridge, a Nespresso coffee machine and kettle with Harney & Son's teas.
Our favourite rooms
We’d love to curl up with a book, mug of coffee, or bottle of wine and our travel companion in Room 11’s cosy window seat. To really feel like a local, swing for the suite, which has a separate entrance and feels like a private townhouse.
Bring your most stylish buffalo plaid and boots made for walking.
The common areas, restaurant and bar are wheelchair accessible on the ground floor, but there’s no lift access to guest rooms in this 100-year-old building.
Young Smiths are welcome, but there’s nothing in particular to keep them entertained. Baby cots can be added to all rooms except Room 7, and an extra bed for children can be added to rooms 2, 4, 8, and 11 for $20 a night.
Breakfasts are served in the main dining room; pull up a seat under the Sputnik light and start your morning with fresh orange juice, pastries, fruit, yoghurt, cooked-to-order eggs and coffee. Farm-to-table restaurant the Corner is helmed by chef Devon Gilroy. Echoing the design-led nature of Hotel Tivoli, the restaurant has an ever-revolving art collection and Murano glass and vintage light fixtures. The seasonally-changing menu focuses on local Hudson Valley fare with Mediterranean, North African, and Asian twists. You won’t go wrong with a classic burger (sandwiched in between a home-made potato roll), and the curries are famously tasty too. For dessert, we recommend the classic peach cobbler if it’s available. Weekends are for fluffy pancakes and second helpings of coffee; book a seat if you fancy joining the brunch crowd at the Corner.
The Bar at the Corner has a seasonally changing menu of house-made cordials and cocktails; try the grapefruit cordial and tequila-muddled De Peyster, or the maple-cinnamon and orange-infused Broadway. There’s also a carefully curated wine list with bottles and glasses from a selection of small vineyards and a handful of international varietals too. Locally-crafted beers are on tap, and there’s house-cured charcuterie and local Hudson Valley cheese and mezze plates if you’re feeling peckish.
Breakfast is served in the dining room from 8am to 10am every day. Weekend brunch at the Corner is from 11am to 3pm, dinners are from 5.30pm to 9.30pm Wednesday to Monday (until 10pm Friday and Saturday nights).
None, but there’s coffee, tea, snacks and a mini fridge in the reception area.
Historic Hotel Tivoli occupies a space off the mainstreet of Tivoli Village, a Catskill Mountain-view town on the banks of the Hudson River.
Albany International Airport is 50 miles away (a journey of around an hour and a half by car); New York City’s major airports – JFK, Laguardia and Stewart International – are a bit farther away, but still clock in at manageable two-hour drives.
Amtrak trains from around the state, including New York City’s Penn Station, regularly stop at nearby Rhinecliff–Kingston station (15 miles away).
You’ll want your own set of wheels to comfortably explore the area; there’s free on-site parking just behind the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you like what you see in your room, or the crockery at breakfast, browse through the boutique shop next door for a little Hotel Tivoli-inspired piece to take home with you. History buffs and vintage enthusiasts can do their shopping in nearby Germantown, an antiquer’s dream. Make a beeline straight for Luddite Antiques at 224 Main Street – it’s said to be one of the best in the state.
The surrounding mountains are particularly picturesque; go for a hike and explore the Tivoli Bays for a sweeping view of the sunset over the Catskills. If you’re visiting in the autumn, get a dose of seasonal festivities in Red Hook at centuries-old Montgomery Place Orchards; you’ll be rewarded with crisp apples, warm cider and (perhaps best of all) freshly baked apple-cider doughnuts (available Thursdays to Sundays only – get them while they’re hot!)
Nearby Germantown’s Gaskins is the place for farm-fresh American-style dinners of baked macaroni and cheese or wood-roasted chicken. Pair your meal with something from the international wine list, and end on a sweet note, with home-made ice-cream and a slice of honey and olive-oil cake. Back in Tivoli, make like a local and head to Traghaven Whiskey Pub for burgers, sandwiches and steak frites smothered in whiskey-molasses barbecue sauce. Their whiskey selection is seriously impressive, and they also serve local craft beers and a handful of carefully-selected wines.
For sweet treats and coffee, mosey down Broadway to Tivoli Bread and Baking; their fresh sticky buns are not to be missed. Housed in a converted church, neighbourhood café Murray’s serves breakfast, lunch and to-go bites. Go for the breakfast burrito or the hot smoked salmon on molasses walnut bread; Murray’s also has pillowy buttermilk biscuits, perfectly salty hashbrowns, espresso-based drinks and hot apple cider.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in Tivoli village and unpacked their fine art print and maple syrup bottles, a full account of their art-filled break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Tivoli in New York…
Boutique stay Hotel Tivoli has a pretty Victorian face and an modern artist’s heart, with pink, teddy-bear-fur covered sofas, lipstick-red chairs and bold modern artwork by owners Helen and Brice Marden and their friends, including Robert Rauschenberg and Francesco Clemente; every lick of paint in the building was carefully chosen (and at times, hand-mixed) by the owners. Each of the 10 rooms is unique, but all have boldly coloured Parsons bed frames, coolly modern ensuite bathrooms and views of Tivoli village.
Breakfasts are served in the cosy dining room, and Murano-glass chandeliers hang in the buzzy restaurant (a favourite with visitors and locals alike), which serves out mod-rustic dishes and potent, seasonal drinks with equal glee.