On a long, hot summer day in 2015, Taavo Somer had a few friends over to the pool at his Hudson Valley home. But then a few became a group, which turned into a party of 50 people, and suddenly that leisurely day at the pool became a blowout barbecue. At the end of the night, as he and his wife cleaned up everything from towels to glasses, they made a crack about a fantasy of theirs: “What if we made a place where at the end of the night we didn’t have to do the cleanup?” In the forthcoming weeks and months, that joke transformed into a full-fledged plan to open a hotel.
It would be a natural progression: The architect and restaurateur has a hand in a number of high-profile hospitality projects, from Hotel Kinsley in Kingston, to Ray’s in the Lower East Side, to the back-alley downtown favorite Freeman’s.
This Friday, Inness, a 40-room hotel and members club opens in Accord, New York. The name is a nod to George Inness, the American landscape painter, an à propos choice as the pastoral 225-acre property includes sprawling views of both farmland and the Catskill Mountains. “I wanted to make a resort for people peppered around the Hudson Valley, whether they’re weekenders or full-time residents,” Somer says of the project, created in collaboration with CBSK Ironstate, developer Lee Pollock, and Post Company.
The grounds of Inness were imagined by famed landscape artist Miranda Brooks and include 28 cabins, a 12-room Dutch Colonial farmhouse, a restaurant, two swimming pools, a 9-hole golf course, and a three-acre organic garden, among other attractions. A wellness center with a spa and gym will open later this year. It’s meant to be a refuge, a retreat of the transcendentalist variety: “The landscape is dominant,” says Somer. “[Miranda] picked her moments where her design is focused, and then everything in between is left to go wild.” One moment you’re walking through an apple orchard, then a few minutes later, you find yourself in a meadow.
For the design of the indoor spaces, Post Company partner Leigh Salem tells Voguethey sought inspiration from Dutch vernacular architecture, a signature style of the region. ”We looked back at structures that were utilitarian, like barns, but still beautiful in their own right,” he says. “That’s the sort of tension we’re interested in—how can we make quiet, well-designed spaces that feel humble?” They chose woods that will naturally gray out and furniture with simple forms. Many rooms are adorned in neutral color palettes. In the restaurant, guests will sit on vintage chairs sourced from a Belgian church.
BY ELISE TAYLOR