You know a business is doing something right when it opens a second location in the Hudson Valley.
With Eastwind Oliverea Valley, which opened its doors in January 2023, the Eastwind Hotels team builds upon the success that it has experienced with Eastwind Hotel & Bar in Windham. In the time since the Windham escape debuted in 2018, the Eastwind team has had ample opportunity to reflect upon just what it takes to craft the perfect hotel experience in the Hudson Valley.
Together, Eastwind Hotels co-owners and co-founders Bjorn Boyer and Julija Stoliarova partnered with Chef Daniel Cipriani, formerly behind top Brooklyn restaurants like Urban Rustic and Gemelli, to craft a one-of-a-kind experience in Ulster County. In the process, they were able to embrace a new kind of creativity and channel the history of the property into the new incarnation.
“This was our first build as a brand, and we aimed for full creative control when choosing a site for what would become Eastwind Oliverea Valley,” Boyer explains. Regarding the property itself, it was originally known as McKenley Farm and was owned by Dr. William H. McKenley until the 1920s. After that, it turned into a popular vacation site and was used as a meeting place for the Appalachian Mountain Club and, later, Shangri La at Mountain Gate Hotel.
The Concept and Design
Upon beginning construction in 2020, the Eastwind team sought to embrace the best practices from its other properties (there is also a location in Lake Placid) into this new one.
“As our first new build, we took all that we had learned from our previous renovations while adapting our offerings based on the shifting needs of our guests, like adding Double Cabins to accommodate families and groups of friends,” Boyer notes. “For the main building and restaurant, we had the opportunity to create a space that was sleek from the outside and showcased the view of the property’s landscape from within.”
Fortunately, they had the ideal location at which to do so. The Big Indian property is a study in quietude and seclusion that allows visitors to embrace the serenity of the landscape that surrounds it. Through construction, the Eastwind team aimed to create as naturally immersive of an experience as possible, even going so far as to build the hotel’s signature lushna cabins into a steep hillside to ensure picturesque views from every room.
“For our third property, I wanted to align with the aesthetic of our brand that we have honed at Eastwind Windham and Eastwind Lake Placid, while continuing to refine our Scandinavian and mid-century vintage design,” reveals Stoliarova, who is also the brand’s creative director. “Since we were working with modern architecture for the first time, we brough touches of warmth through vintage books, colorful wallpaper, and antique furniture to spaces that featured large windows and high ceilings. These moments allowed the beauty of the Catskills to shine through while bringing an element of coziness and home to each space.”
The Experience at Eastwind
At Eastwind Oliverea Valley, guests will find 27 unique accommodations ranging from the brand’s signature lushna cabins and lushna cabins with decks to its lushna suites and double lushna cabins, the latter which cater to larger groups. In all of the spaces, Eastwind’s modern, Scandinavian aesthetic abounds, creating a refreshing and soothing environment for visitors.
“[Of all the Eastwind properties,] Oliverea Valley is the most retreat-like, as the location feels just off-the-grid enough and has a full-service restaurant, making it easy to hunker down over a weekend,” says Boyer. “The property’s architecture and design are the most refined of our properties so far, but still holding our hands-on, personal touch to the highest level of importance.”
As for amenities on the property, there are an abundance. For travelers looking to kick back and relax, the wood-framed sauna or the pool (coming this summer) are top picks. Anyone who wants to stay active can ride one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes or stroll along one of the nearby hiking trails. Eastwind also offers a number of classes on the grounds, such as yoga sessions, workshops, and even foraging walks depending on the season.
“In addition to the McKenley Hollow Trail, which borders the property, Eastwind Oliverea Valley is centrally located within the Catskills and accessible for hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, swimming, and rock climbing,” Boyer says. “Oliverea Valley is also near a number of small towns that are ideal for a shopping day, such as Phoenicia, Woodstock, and Tannersville, and skiing at Hunter, Windham, and Belleayre mountains.”
The Food at Dandelion
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention Dandelion, the hotel’s restaurant concept. Led by Chef Cipriani, the eatery embraces a “forage-to-table” concept, with most ingredients locally sourced and the menu completely seasonal and built around the flora of the Catskills.
“While the menu fluctuates due to available ingredients, Dandelion serves ‘international comfort food’ that is simple but elevated,” Cipriani explains. “Two of my favorite dishes are lohikeitto, a Finnish salmon chowder, and our house-made ricotta cavatelli, which showcase the quality of our ingredients and care in preparation.”
As far as sourcing goes, the restaurant forages ingredients like nettles, ramps, fiddleheads, morels, wild pansies, chickweed, and dandelions. Locally, it sources ingredients from nearby suppliers, with flour coming from Farmer Ground Flour in Trumansburg and steelhead trout from Hudson Valley Fish Farms.
The Future of Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Now that Eastwind Oliverea Valley is fully up and running in the Catskills, the leadership team is excited for all the future holds.
“We are always looking for opportunities to further develop programming,” Boyer notes. “Coming this summer, we are looking forward to the first season of Eastwind Oliverea Valley and developing wellness programming, which will see the grand opening of the pool, in addition to bike rentals and hammocks becoming available.”
To learn more about Eastwind Oliverea Valley or book a stay, visit the hotel’s website.