Nature’s music dominates at this idyllic resort.
By Isabel Hochman
Picture waking up to the sound of a flowing waterfall. You get ready for the day surrounded by an oasis, but here’s the twist—walk just down the street and you’re in downtown Woodstock, NY. This is life at Woodstock Way Hotel.
Ryan Giuliani, who’s called this rock ’n’ roll holy ground home since 2004, and his business partner Jesse Halliburton, noticed a shift in the waves of people coming up to the Hudson Valley circa 2015, and they seized upon the moment to develop a new hotel. Giuliani says creating an escape for this changing audience was key. So, they snagged a bit of land with the cascading Tannery Brook Waterfall and plenty of greenery—and something you pretty much never get in a nature-surrounded retreat: walkability.
“We had our businesses in Manhattan and Hoboken over the years and the ability to walk from one place to another was just so great, especially for someone that doesn’t know the Catskills, Hudson Valley or Woodstock,” Giuliani says. “You’re able to come on to our property, park your car and walk to half a dozen excellent restaurants, three music venues, boutiques, bars and hiking trails. We walked onto the property of Woodstock Way, and we made an offer that night. What stood were six old cabins. Once we bought the property, the town of Woodstock condemned three of them immediately because they were in such tough shape.”
When designing the hotel, Giuliani worked with interior designers Jenny Keenan and Kasia Bloom, taking architectural inspiration from the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles, Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin and out in Big Sur, the Post Ranch Inn. He calls the hotel’s style Catskill Contemporary and the design process truly brought the Catskill Mountains into the core of the hotel. “We used the actual materials of the environment—including cedar sidings—and created outdoor spaces, large glass windows that brought the outside into the rooms themselves. A lot of sustainable design went into the buildings and the property as well,” he says.
From insisting on solar panels and living roof systems on buildings to developing a bio-retention pond, Woodstock Way Hotel exists in harmony with its surroundings, a re-energized piece of property that pays tribute to the creative spirit this town is known for.
Another thing you don’t always get when you’re on an escape: cell service. Mobile phones actually work at the hotel, though Giuliani says he almost wishes they wouldn’t work so well. “The escape is the mindfulness that you receive as you come onto our property and into our community,” he says. “There’s a reason the Maverick Art Colony and the Byrdcliffe Colony settled in Woodstock. There’s a reason that the Tibetan monastery sits on top of the hill in our town. Because the energy of Woodstock is a real thing. The loudest thing on the property by far at any given day is the waterfall. It drowns out everything, but it’s special because you turn off your car and check into your room; you sit on your porch, and you just hear that waterfall coming through. And there—right there—is the escape.”
Nature’s music in perfect harmony.