Diamond Mills brings boutique-hotel style to Saugerties.
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Spending a weekend in the Hudson Valley used to mean staying in a stuffy, floral-themed little B&B. Not anymore. The sleepy-chic town of Saugerties is now home to Ulster County’s first luxury boutique hotel, Diamond Mills, a swanky red-brick lodge that looks like the Bowery Hotel from the outside and has 30 simple, elegant rooms overlooking a waterfall on the Esopus Creek. Sayonara, teddy bears on rocking chairs. Hello, upscale upstate.
Thomas Struzzieri, the owner of the hotel, is also the founder of HITS (Horses in the Sun), a local events company that produces the biggest horse-jumping shows in the country, as well as triathlons all over the U.S. He cites a dearth of nice hotels in the area as his main reason for the new venture. “During the summer months, when we have the Saugerties horse shows, about 4,000 people come through town each weekend,” he says. “They end up staying as far away as New Paltz. Luxury lodging around here was in short supply.” Basically, he built Diamond Mills as a place for his horse-show colleagues and friends to stay in, but now it’s poised to become a hot spot for city folks looking for weekend getaways. Phones have been buzzing for the upcoming wedding season.
Struzzieri had his eye on the piece of real estate for years. It was originally an old paper mill, which burned down in the ’70s. “I’ve always been enamored of the property,” he says. “But you couldn’t be proud of it when you came to town. It was a blight.” After two years of planning, it took only 11 months to build the new hotel. “I wanted it to be elegant but not frou-frou, so you wouldn’t feel bad coming in jeans and boots. I wanted something that was small, that truly dazzled with its rooms, food, and service.”
It does. Taking advantage of the views, all rooms face the creek and have large patios overlooking the waterfall. Event facilities are equally satisfying. The grand ballroom and dining room can host sit-down dinners for up to 400 guests and cocktails for 600. Floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere from the restaurant to the bedrooms flood spaces with natural light.
Speaking of the restaurant… Called the Tavern, it’s a grand, high-ceilinged affair, with a roaring fireplace and high-backed banquettes. “We already have a stable of regulars, who come from as far as an hour away,” says chef Giuseppe Napoli, a graduate of the nearby Culinary Institute of America who recently worked in restaurants in Manhattan and Atlanta. Napoli focuses on seasonal dishes such as cedar plank–roasted wild trout and uses local produce as often as possible. “Except for my Buttermilk Blue cheese,” he admits. “That’s from Wisconsin.”
And if you’re simply antique hunting for the day and want to stop for a drink, the hotel’s bar takes a page straight out of downtown rustic elegance—tin ceiling, black-and-white-tiled floors, industrial lighting, and the skulls of African gazelles lining the wall. The whole achieves the right combination of upscale and cool, a hard thing to pull off in Manhattan, let alone in the Hudson Valley. As Napoli notes, “There’s simply nothing else like this in the area.”
Diamond Mills: 25 South Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477, 845.247.0700