The small city of Hudson lies 125 miles north of Manhattan and is located at the “head of navigation,” the farthest place on the Hudson River to which sizable ships could once sail from New York Harbor. In the last decades of the 18th century, Hudson became an increasingly prosperous port, but eventually patterns of commerce changed and decline set in. By the turn of the 20th century, its former wealth was little more than a memory, and only the surviving brick mansions served as a reminder of the city’s former glory.
In recent years, however, Hudson has found a new identity as a retreat for New Yorkers, drawn by the relatively affordable local real estate, as well as the scenic grandeur that once inspired the Hudson River School of landscape painters. Antiques shops and restaurants have opened, and Hudson is now suddenly fashionable. The city even has a summer music festival.
The Maker is the logical continuation of this trend. The hotel was the brainchild of Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, co-founders of the Boston-based beauty company Fresh, and hospitality guru Damien Janowicz. (In 2000, French luxury conglomerate LVMH took a majority stake in Fresh, and the company now has hundreds of stores in 11 countries.) The hotel’s name is intended to reflect Hudson’s newfound role as a center of creative endeavor.
Turning off U.S. Route 9, we arrived at the top of Warren Street, Hudson’s ruler-straight main artery, which extends for over a mile to a promenade overlooking the river. Driving slowly downhill, we passed expensive-looking furniture stores, designer florists, perfume boutiques, sidewalk cafés, cocktail bars and even a diner, Grazin’, serving, or so a sign informed us, “animal welfare approved” meat from its own nearby farm.
Finding a parking spot right outside The Maker, we pulled up and headed inside to reception, where we were greeted with considerable warmth and courtesy by the front desk manager. When I commented on Hudson’s self-evident gentrification, he smiled and said, “You should see this place in summer; you’d think you were on Bleeker Street.”
Although our trip was in fall, neither the season nor the pandemic seemed to be having a depressing effect on business at The Maker Cafe, which was packed. No tables were available for lunch in the foreseeable future, so we were escorted into the main lounge, an area accessible only to hotel guests, where places were set for us in front of a gas log fire. There, we treated ourselves to rare-roast-beef sandwiches and housemade salt-and-vinegar potato chips.
The Maker is spread across three buildings: a Georgian mansion, a Greek Revival building from the 1840s and a carriage house dating from the 1890s. The lounge takes up much of the ground floor of the mansion and extends into a conservatory that hosts the main restaurant. (In warm weather, this opens onto a courtyard overlooking a seasonal swimming pool.) The public areas of the hotel, of which the lounge is a representative example, are a tour de force: a multilayered triumph of imagination and elevated style. Every chair, table, tray, rug, painting and photograph seems to have been selected after considerable thought. Original features, like the mosaic floors and hand-painted floral wallpaper, have been lovingly restored. And Glazman’s remarkable personal art collection adorns the walls. Arriving guests are taken on a hotel tour before being escorted to their accommodations, and the 10 or so minutes that it requires are fascinating and extremely well-spent.
Over the years, I have stayed in tens of thousands of hotel rooms; The Artist probably ranks among my top 100.
The regular Bedrooms at The Maker are on the small side, at 200 square feet, but the property also comprises Lofts and Studios (500 square feet) and an Apartment (825 square feet). However, it is the four Maker Studios in the Georgian mansion that are in the greatest demand. These have been given specific identities: The Artist, The Writer, The Architect and The Gardener.
Heading up the stairs, we passed the Perfume Library, a small room with a glass-fronted cabinet containing 120 of Glazman’s favorite fragrances — including the in-house Hudson Eau de Parfum — which guests are invited to sample whenever they wish. Having spent some time gazing at pictures of the four Studios on the hotel’s website, we had opted to reserve The Artist. This proved to be a large room, with a small sitting area to one side that contained a carved wooden fireplace with a gas log fire, an armchair and a daybed. A magnificent hand-woven rug covered the polished dark wood floors; the walls were adorned with dozens of paintings and drawings; and at the far end of the room was a huge stripped-wood work desk. Over the door to the bath, we spied an original stained-glass lunette, while the bath itself provided a limestone-and-tile heated floor, a freestanding tub and a glass-enclosed shower. Overall, the flamboyant website description of the room as “the ultimate Bohemian refuge” seemed to a great extent justified. Over the years, I have stayed in tens of thousands of hotel rooms; The Artist probably ranks among my top 100.
Alas, at the time of our trip, the hotel’s restaurant was open only from Thursday to Sunday, and on our midweek visit we were unable to try Michael Poiarkoff’s contemporary American cuisine. This was a source of regret, not least because of the chef’s vaunted relationship with the best Hudson Valley farms and producers. I shall continue to think of this as another treat in store for the post-COVID future.
Since it opened in August 2020, The Maker has received numerous laudatory reviews. The praise is entirely well-deserved.
The voluptuous interior design; the peerless comfort of our atmospheric suite; the animated and bohemian vibe of The Maker Cafe; the huge and spectacularly appointed gymnasium.
Having to crawl under the work desk to plug in my laptop; our shower’s anemic water pressure.
The four Maker Studios are in considerable demand and should be reserved as far in advance as possible.