A Hotel Built for Art

Beacon architect knew what he wanted on walls

By Alison Rooney

When architect Roger Greenwald was designing the lobby for what would become The Inn and Spa at Beacon, he says he was inspired not just by its angles, but by the art he envisioned hanging on the walls.

The Inn and Spa at Beacon (Photo by J. Simms)

In fact, he had a particular artist in mind — Anamario Hernández, whose paintings he’d been collecting for years.

“The meditative quality of her work influenced my own work in designing this space,” says Greenwald, who owns and manages the property. “It was a formative element in the design.”

Hernández’s paintings have been welcoming guests since the Inn and Spa opened 18 months ago but will come down on Nov. 4 to make way for an exhibit to open on Second Saturday.

Hernández, who was born and raised in Mexico and lives near Washington, D.C., is the daughter of an architect and a niece of the founder of Mexico’s Ballet Folklorico. She has said her father taught her the importance of space, scale and light, and that her fascination with objects — her art is filled with bottles, vases, bowls, shells, fruits, rocks, trinkets, boxes and white-and-blue porcelain dishes — arose from playing among the costumes and props stored by her aunt.

White Still Life, by Anamario Hernández (Image provided)

“For me it was magical to enter that room, a mixture of curiosity and fear,” she has written. “Every object I represent evokes an experience, a dream, a story.”

Greenwald met Hernández when both their children played in the same youth basketball league. Soon after, Greenwald attended a solo show by Hernández at the Mexican Cultural Institute in D.C. He recalls being mesmerized. “There is a palpable meditative quality to her paintings,” he says. “She takes common, everyday objects and infuses them with her tension.”

Roger Greenwald (Photo by A. Rooney)

Greenwald, who grew up near D.C., has been coming to the Hudson Valley for 30 years. “I’m a river guy,” he says. “I grew up on the Potomac. I always had a desire to retire from the D.C. hustle and felt a connection to New York City. We looked at a lot of river towns but when we came into Beacon, it just clicked. When I went looking for a place to stay, it became clear that there was room for another inn.”

He conceived the business, which is located on what was a vacant lot at 151 Main St., as a wellness center and refuge but notes “there is no course in architecture school in how to run an inn and spa!” As a result, “it’s a process of immersion, and getting lots of advice. Mostly it’s all about jumping in, kicking your feet and swimming with the current.”

The Inn has 12 rooms, all designed as “restful sanctuaries.” Rates start at $209. The spa offers facials, massages, waxing, fitness coaching and yoga. An event space can host wedding parties with up to 40 guests and company retreats with up to 12 people. Bookings have taken off since January, when Vogue called the inn “charming” and “a dream getaway for New Yorkers.” See innspabeacon.com.

The Current is a nonprofit supported by its readers; please consider a tax-deductible contribution.