Hotel Tivoli And Its Restaurant Bring An Artistic Vision To Town
By Jamie Larson
Since its opening a little over a year ago, Hotel Tivoli has been adding a rich vibrancy to the happening, yet slightly hidden, scene growing in its namesake village, Tivoli, New York. The walls lined with art created by the hotel’s notable owners Brice and Helen Marden, the high-style furniture and the beautiful bones of the historic building merge to create an atmosphere as unique as the village and the Mardens themselves.
Yet, despite the abundance of image and form on display throughout the ground floor dining and bar room, it’s never overwhelming. The ability to treat guests to such a complex visual experience, while also fostering the feeling of comfort and ease, represents the Mardens’ balance of vision with expertise.
“It’s the flavor and taste of the owners,” says assistant general manager Janett Pabon. “There’s a sense of generosity. It’s almost like stepping into their home. There’s a sense of care that’s been put in.”
Brice and Helen Marden are superstars of the modern art world. While the subject and styles of their work varies, Brice Marden’s minimalist work focusing on elegant, purposeful lines has cemented his place in the arena. Their success has allowed the couple, who have one of their homes in Tivoli, to create a hotel and restaurant that is suited to their specific tastes. They also own the Golden Rock Inn on the Caribbean island of Nevis and have a home on the island of Hydra, Greece. It’s nice to know that those with the ability to be anywhere in the world still appreciate the beauty and idyllic charm of Tivoli and the surrounds. That’s probably why, despite its sophistication, Hotel Tivoli still feels so rooted to the region.
That connectivity resonates most clearly in the food served by Chef Devon Gilroy at The Corner. With a rigorous dedication to seasonality, the restaurant serves dishes that remind us of the beauty of the region. While these self-imposed rules create challenges during the winter, the kitchen embraces them, turning out stellar dishes: Arctic char crudo with beets and cress; hand-cut pappardelle with fennel and pork sausage, garlic, chilis and cured tomatoes; Kinderhook Farm lamb rack and merguez with parsnip and blood orange.
“We face some challenges with seasonality but we’ve stuck to our high standard of quality,” Pabon says. “In the city you can go to the market and meet the farmers. Here you can be at the farm. That’s really what the Hudson Valley is about. When things come in season we get really excited.”
Also, like everything else in the Hotel, the food is a work of art, presented elegantly on unique ceramics by Tivoli Tile Works. It’s thoughtful design details like these that begin to accumulate during a visit or stay here, and contribute to that transported feeling.
Pabon says every aspect of the hotel was created with intentionality and a focus on comfort. Nowhere is that more clear than the serene rooms which, again, feel true to the history of the building while embracing bold yet unobtrusive design elements.
“The whole intent was to be open for the community. This place has always been a cornerstone,” Pabon says. “We’re really happy to be here and to share it with people.”
One subtle aspect to the Hotel — that you may not notice at first but feels truly significant once you do — is that while there are countless artworks throughout the establishment, there are no labels, no titles, no names. The art is to be experienced individually as elements of the hotel rather than specimens in a gallery. Hanging tagless, the pieces shrug off all context other than what the guest brings to them and encourage a more personal and ephemeral experience.
“We want you to just enjoy the art and have a moment. This is a place for you to contemplate,” Pabon says. “You can sit down and have a conversation and be heard. It’s about simplicity and ease, the aesthetic of a fine line.”
The trend of boutique hotels has exploded in the region over the past couple of years. People want to stay someplace that resonates with the reasons they’ve come here in the first place — but they also have come to expect a high level of comfort and unique style. Striking that balance between being familiar enough to be comfortable and original enough to be exciting is no easy feat. What’s so interesting about Hotel Tivoli is how sharply the owners have honed that edge. It’s a testament to the Mardens’ vision that they’ve been able to pull off something so original, yet approachable, with such confidence.