There are many wonderful things to recommend a visit to The Hotel Tivoli or The Corner Restaurant in Tivoli, Duchess County. The exquisite decor, the art, the many celebrities who visit this tasteful oasis created by the sensationally successful artist Brice Marden and his imposingly chic wife Helen. Adding The Hotel Tivoli to a burgeoning chain… they also own The Golden Rock Inn on the Caribbean island of Nevis.
Together with landscape architect Raymond Jungles, Brice and Helen have turned Golden Rock into something extraordinary: a jungly hideaway, with the artfully overgrown botanical gardens of a fantastical world. It’s impossible to tell where the gardens end and rainforest begins. Curious plants grow on a grand scale: giant palms, like fans of the gods; elephant’s ears so vast you can use them as parasols. On this island-in-the-sun you can almost hear them growing.
Without doubt the Mardens’ have exquisite taste and an eye for sensitive restoration.
The Hotel Tivoli, once the Hotel Madeleine is an imposing Victorian building on the corner of North Street and Broadway in the heart of charming Tivoli. Apparently, when they bought it, it had seen better days. The Mardens’ transformed the building from dull… to glamorous. The startling restoration of this fine building has attracted many new faces to what was becoming a Bard dormitory town. Indeed, the younger staff at the Hotel are all Bard attendees.
These optimistic, wealthy students who flush through the town every year, year after year lend the place a Southern Californian hippy vibe. Youngsters hang out on stoops, out of windows, laughing and singing.
The whole operation would be perfect were it not for the chef at The Corner, Billy Gilroy’s errant son Devon Gilroy. Covered in Tattoos, clipped hair… I met him through one of his many, many ex girlfriends who he dumped unceremoniously… but continued fucking.
This good looking, bearish, slightly over weight young man is single handedly the fly in the luxurious ointment at The Corner Restaurant. Despised by his wait staff and many of the women in the hotel, he bullies anyone and everyone in his kitchen. Perhaps he thinks he needs to behave like Gordon Ramsey to be a great chef? In fact, this screaming, shouting and abusive behavior has more to do with his insecurity than some mad, uncontrollable genius.
Only today one of his ex staff bemoaned how he treated her disrespectfully, reducing her to tears… then, after a couple of days, Devon makes a simpering passive/aggressive faux amends.
Devon Gilroy is a very lucky boy. Helen and Brice Marden sent him to Morocco to learn the ways of North African cuisine. He came back with a lame Tagine and a recipe for ‘Moroccan street bread’… what ever that is.
During the Spring, after the harshest upstate winter, I made a great effort and spent a lot of money supporting The Corner Restaurant, well before the summer rush.
There were occasion when my friends were the only party in the restaurant.
I introduced fancy architects, I took my celebrity dot com friends. I took artists and art collectors and gallery owners. As the restaurant grew busier the food shrank in portion, the plating messier and the quality dwindled. I took my very best English friends and a clumsy waitress spilled a bottle of beer on his head and over his white shirt. No apology. Nothing removed from the bill.
My early Yelp review raved about the place. I wished it every success. I have stayed in the Hotel twice. The rooms are wonderful (I really wanted to write wonderful in Caps) and The Hotel remains without any serious competition for 100 miles. I urge you to break the bank and stay in the Hotel Tivoli, eat the amazing breakfast (divine almond cakes and home made jam) but please don’t bother with dinner at The Corner, unless… you’re drinking at the spectacular marble bar.
(Hungry? Drive six miles to Gaskin’s in Germantown for dinner. A class act.)
Oddly, my later… less complimentary Yelp review was removed at the The Corner’s demand.
Pity they forgot my blog. I didn’t.
Brice and Helen Marden run a money no object operation at the Hotel Tivoli. It is a beautiful gift to the people of Tivoli. Stuffed with iconic, contemporary furniture and millions of dollars of art. A true gem. There is a huge portrait of Helen at the top of the stairs by Francesco Clemente. It is without doubt one of the finest hotels in the state of old New York.
I’m sure that with well trained servers and a new, less tyrannical chef, (working along side Nancy the excellent GM and Jeannette the elegant maitre d’) this star restaurant will rightfully sparkle in the local firmament.