Strange as it may sound, the initial idea for one of Catskills’ most anticipated new hotels was all down to a towel. Of course, it was not an ordinary towel, but the first [DTC] product launched by Nolan McHugh and Trevor Briggs, co-founders of the housewares brand Piaule (pronounced pee-AWL).

The two college friends started the company in 2014, at a time when DTC brands were launching into all categories, and the pieces of the consumer pie seemed limitless. “We saw the need for a household goods brand somewhere between big box stores like Ikea and high-end designers that were out of reach for most people,” says McHugh.

The duo, who studied business at university, had no formal training in design. But it soon became apparent that they both possessed a strong sense of modern and sleek aesthetics. This talent, coupled with their marketing acumen, kept the business going.

However, Piaule was not yet profitable; McHugh and Briggs have started listing their New York City apartments on Airbnb to generate more revenue. They designed their spaces with stylish yet affordable furniture and quickly made more money as accidental hoteliers than with their day-to-day work.

“We got this weird exposure to hospitality and design totally by accident,” says Briggs. “Then we thought, ‘What if we could just combine these worlds? “”

That seed of an idea has evolved into Piaule Catskill, a luxury hotel and spa property in the town of Catskill which will open on July 1. It is the culmination of many years of work that began with investors in 2017, then visiting hundreds of sites in the Hudson Valley region and, finally, the arduous process of creating a respectful resort. environment from scratch.

And while some potential hoteliers have been blocked by local opposition, McHugh and Briggs were careful to only look in areas that would lend themselves to a hotel project.

“Municipalities are more or less enthusiastic about developments like this. A lot of places already have great places to stay, ”says McHugh. “But, Greene County, especially Catskill, was very open to the idea. So we felt welcome and encouraged by this.

And although the town of Catksill offers a handful of accommodation options, they all have a traditional feel to them. Nothing will come close to luxury offers in Piaule.

The duo eventually bought land from local musician Simone Felice, who was willing to part ways with the mountain view plot for the right kind of project. “He was born and raised in Catskill. So he was a very careful steward of what was going to happen, ”says McHugh.

Felice endorsed Piaule’s enduring design and ethos, which not only pretend to be up to the idea, but apply to every facet of the hotel. Green initiatives on the property included installing the cabins on pillars to allow water and nutrients to penetrate the soil below, disturbing only five of the 50 acres during construction and the creation of a water system. ‘Closed loop water by building an on-site water treatment facility and natural well.

The eco-chic hotel was built on 50 acres, but only five acres were affected during construction.

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And, just as the Piaule line of housewares was intended to appeal to a consumer who appreciates stylish, durable design at a price that is neither very cheap nor incredibly high, so does Piaule the hotel. The property, with rates starting at $ 399 a night, consists of 24 modern cabins, spread across 50 wooded acres. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a spa outfitted with multiple treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, and temperature-regulated pools that can be used throughout. year.

For now, these are only open to guests, but McHugh and Briggs would eventually like to open up the property to locals looking for a few hours of stay as well. And of course, you can also shop for Piaule products on site, including glassware, limited edition pieces, bath products, and collaborations with Kati von Lehman and Village Common.

The founders worked with Garrison Architects to achieve their modernist yet enduring designs: “We were interested in prefab, panel, or modular construction, and Jim Garrison is truly a pioneer in this category,” says McHugh. “He has tried every industrialized construction method you can imagine, and he has so much knowledge. We felt this guy understood what we’re trying to do on a really deep level. “

While Garrison was in charge of the building itself, the interior design – which includes plenty of bespoke furniture – is entirely McHugh and Briggs. “It’s a combination of many influences – Scandinavian, Japanese – that we felt fit into the context of what a landscape retreat in the Catskills would be like,” says McHugh.

And indeed, there are elements of both Japanese ryokan modern Scandinavian design in each cabin. The walls, floor, and ceilings are all clad in blond wood, with an entire wall devoted to a window with verdant views of the park (a favorite feature of both owners). The furnishings are minimal, but comfortable, like the blue and white duvet that covers an otherwise all white duvet on the bed. The idea was to make each cabin as discreet as possible in the natural environment.

But, more than just allowing guests to unplug and enjoy the arboreal environment, McHugh and Briggs also hope to have a bigger impact. “We look [our sustainability ethos] as a way to influence consumer habits, ”says McHugh. “We want people to take a look at what they experienced in Piaule and apply it to their own lives in a way that could benefit the environment in the long run.”

And while they will not yet know how they changed their customers’ habits, the demand for the property is already evident: they have been full for their inauguration for weeks. “We obviously hope to continue this momentum,” McHugh said. “We’re definitely going to hit the ground running.”

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