25 March, 2016
As much as we love New York City, there are times when it can get a little overwhelming - even for us urbanites. Hudson, a charming upstate town just a couple hours north of Manhattan, is the perfect antidote and has been gaining popularity among those in-the-know as a great option for a weekend getaway. But don't expect an idle weekend in the brambles. The Hudson River Valley, which comprises a handful of towns along the river, has a fantastic cultural presence with an abundance of galleries, antique shops, art installations and multi-media spaces popping up across its communities.
Rivertown Lodge in Hudson is our favourite spot to spend the night and offers a nice reflection of the low-key but style-focused town in which it resides. Formerly a cinema, the 27-room hotel provides an authentic atmosphere with furnishings and décor sourced from local artisans. The result is a clean, mid-century aesthetic with quirky, contemporary accents (Etsy's headquarters are just around the corner, after all). Conceived as a public living room for Hudson, the lobby and open-plan kitchen on the ground floor have the kind of warm, homey feel that makes you want to sit back and hang out with a coffee. A rarity, when most lobbies in New York City tend to be chaotic thoroughfares.
But Rivertown Lodge isn't like most hotels. Its cosy bar, honour-system pantry rooms (stocked with goodies like granola and artisanal tonic water) and Netflix-equipped bedrooms combine to make it feel like your second home. We'd forgive you if you were tempted to forget the galleries and simply curl up by the fireplace all day...
We can't think of a better description than "Pinterest-worthy". The bedrooms at Rivertown Lodge, while small, have an open, airy feel that keeps things simple. Custom cherrywood bed frames, upholstered reading chairs, embroidered blankets and vintage Marshall radios make for charming decorative accents. Guest bathrooms are small but stylish, with raw brass fixtures, subtle green and blue tiling and gloriously fragrant bath products from Hudson's favorite local perfumer. Prices start at £137 per night for a single room and run up to £310 for a master suite.
What's for breakfast?
Coffee and pastries are served in the kitchen on the ground floor, which you can enjoy with a newspaper at the large communal breakfast table.
How about lunch and dinner?
There are plans to expand the evening bar menu, which currently consists of local, seasonal fare designed by Jean Adamson of Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House. For lunch, wander over to Bonfiglio & Bread or Albott & Arding Cheese & Provisions nearby on Warren Street for a hearty sandwich or salad.
Is there a bar?
Next door to the lobby you'll find the hotel bar, which seeks to emulate a traditional American tavern - complete with dark panelling, waxed canvas banquettes and rolled bronze top bar. When we visited in January, the entire room was festooned with kitsch Christmas lights, creating a truly festive feel. Take your pick from local ales, organic wines and inventive craft cocktails.
Rivertown Lodge has reinvented the minibar with their unique honour-system pantries located on each floor. Forget Snickers and Pringles at three times the price, the pantries offer cured meats, fancy cheeses, Peruvian chips and other high-end delectables. Simply write down what you're taking and head back to your room for a midnight feast. Guests can also play music with their bedside Marshall and enjoy the hotel Netflix account on the wall-mounted flat screen TVs (so there's no need to remember your ex's password).
Things you should know
The bedrooms don't come equipped with a huge amount of storage space so think twice before packing everything but the kitchen sink. Also, the staff and hotel owner Ray Pirkle are incredibly friendly and offer a lot of insight about what makes Hudson so special. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation.
Within a short walk you can find…
Everything… Hudson's restaurants, cafés and galleries are sprinkled along the main thoroughfare, Warren Street, and most of them are concentrated within six blocks. Check out the SUITCASE guide to Hudson for our favourites.