Inness: When Downtown Design Heads Upstate New York
ACCORD, New York — There has been an excited and steady hum building around Inness, a sophisticated resort in New York's ever-popular Hudson Valley. Comprised of a farmhouse inn and cabins on acres of rolling farmlands, Inness is surrounded by a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a farm, a restaurant and bar, two pools, and a greenhouse shop filled with carefully curated home goods and specialty food items. The guy who started it, Taavo Somer, is a household name in the NYC hospitality world for a style empire that spans cocktail bars, old-world barbershop and grooming specialist, bespoke suit atelier, and sporting club.
The place that started Somer's foray into hospitality is Freemans, and if you were around for downtown NYC's Freemans era circa 2005, you will recall how the early Americana aesthetic embodied here — mercury glass, taxidermy, vintage hardware, etc. — felt like a fresh antidote to the sleek, lacquered, minimalist design trend predominant in restaurants and hospitality spaces at the time. The people working at Freemans — with their hand-finished denim and carefully manicured facial hair — were rejecting modernism and making a deliberate connection to the artisanal and the well worn. We would easily classify the look as hipster now, but at that moment in time it felt like a new escape route to the past.
Inness is a shinier, newer, less idolized form of the very old stuff we've since gotten used to seeing in Somer's world. A full-blown resort seems like a natural progression, and, considering how Somer and friends regularly spend time out of the city to immerse themselves in "the natural spoils of the Hudson Valley," opening a hotel in Accord (about a 2.5-hour drive from NYC) would make for a prime getaway.
In partnership with Post Company (formerly Studio Tack), development team CBSK Ironstate, and developer Lee Pollock, the team developed a modern Shaker refuge that is neat but not overly stark on 225 pastoral acres that are landscaped but not overly manicured. There is restraint in the use of objects and design artifacts, but not in the use of space — the whole place looks like you feel after a big exhalation. Lots of undulating hills, soothing Beale and Bell paint colors, Adirondack chairs facing the sunset, and warm vibrations emanating from handcrafted speaker systems. It's haloed by a kind of full-spectrum natural light that has long attracted landscape painters like the 19th-century Hudson River School artist George Inness, for whom the resort is named.
Location: Over two hundred acres of rolling hills, grasslands, and woods in Accord, New York — two-plus hours from New York City, up and east of the Hudson River.
Style: The grounds are manicured and wild. The buildings are streamlined. Farmhouse interiors are austere and beautiful with cozy fireplaces and plenty of sun-dappled sitting areas.
This Place Is Perfect For: Couples, chill families, and friend groups that travel for the aesthetics.
But Not So Perfect For: Rambunctious guests. (Note the cream sofas and precisely placed antiques.)
Standout Detail: Artful restraint. For example: Upon arrival one afternoon in late fall, I opened the door to a small and simple freestanding building to find a check-in desk, a bowl of apples, and seat by a crackling fire. It looked like a Dutch still life and smelled like heaven. Thoughtful, streamlined vignettes are around every corner.
Food & Drink: A building housing the living and dining rooms offer calm minimalism in wood with old Belgian church chairs, glazed crockery filled with wild branches, and a wall of windows overlooking the Catskills countryside. The food — local, seasonal, Italian-inspired — is simply delicious. I enjoyed house-marinated olives, local bread with whipped butter, and natural wine on a big couch by a roaring fire, taking in the hi-fidelity sounds of the large Ojas speakers in the corners. In the dining room, I took my time devouring wood-fired vegetables and pasta. Breakfast is equally relaxed, with beautiful yogurts, breads, and morning beverages that encourage a slow, lingering sort of day.
Rooms: 40 hotel rooms (28 cabins, and a 12-room farmhouse) with vintage tables and chairs, great lighting, modern window dressings, and Belgian linens. Cabins have kitchenettes and private decks.
Drawbacks: The dining area, cabins, and farmhouse are spread out on a hill, so depending on your accessibility needs, a car/golf cart pick up may be necessary to get up and down the hill and around.
Activities: King Collins Golf (designers of Sweetens Cove in Tennessee) developed the nine-hole golf course that welcomes players at all levels. It has undulating surfaces, a driving range tee, and a putting green that is open to hotel guests, members (who can also access clinics, socials, club fittings, and prime tee times), and the public. There are also swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails, and a three-acre farm. Soon: a wellness building with an outdoor sauna deck, hot and cold plunge baths, treatment rooms, and state-of-the-art gym (winter 2023). The Farm Shop has a beautiful selection of artisan goods — I splurged on a gorgeous quilt as well as chocolate bars for the ride home.
What to Do Nearby: Fathom Fave Mohonk Mountain House is nearby and travelers can procure a day pass to ramble and hike the grounds of the old-school retreat and preserve. The creative hub of Kingston is less than 30-minutes north, and Hudson is about an hour away.
Plan Your Trip
You'll need a car to access the best that Hudson Valley has to offer. From NYC, it takes around 2.5 hours to get up to Accord. Pack sensible gear for outdoor activities (golf, tennis, cycling, swimming) and stylish gear for indoor activities (the crowd is not unlike the kind you'd see at Freemans).
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