Most people go to the medieval-style luxury-infused Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown for rejuvenation. Now the building itself is getting similar treatment as part of what the hotel’s general manager estimates is an $11 million renovation and construction project.
The remarkable old stone structure closed at the beginning of the year and will remain inaccessible by the public for the next few months. The body of the hotel is getting a cosmetic “facelift,” said Gilbert Baeriswil, general manager of the Castle.
But much of the multimillion-dollar redesign effort will focus on a new spa. Baeriswil said ever since the 100-year old hotel – once a private residence – opened to the public in 1997, it’s been missing something.
“The spa element for us will make us more competitive and enable us to do more business in slow season,” he said. “Typically in the Northeast, January, February, March and April are very soft, so the Castle will be more like a resort destination year round.” Baeriswil added that there’s a genuine advantage to being an oasis 25 minutes outside of bustling Manhattan. The Castle aims to lure those looking for an immediate and nonpermanent escape from New York City with this redesign.
To make the Castle more of a destination, new owner Jiro Sato, the president of Sankara Hospitality Group, commissioned Gettys, a global design firm, to revamp the elaborate luxury hotel and design the new 7,800-square-foot spa. The spa will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to separate locker rooms, a golf cart to shuttle clients between the disconnected hotel and spa, and seven treatment rooms, the spa will have sustainable features including a vegetated roof, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and high-tech lighting controls.
Krystle Louie, project interior designer from Gettys, said the spa will complement the old-world feel of the hotel and add the influence of Asian culture. “The spa operators are from Thailand, Thann Spa, which will be very unique to the area,” Louie said. “They will offer Thai treatments so you’re going to have aromatherapy and Thai massages and a relaxation lounge that will create a certain vibe.” The Thann Sanctuary Spas have a desirable reputation in Asia, including in Sato’s native Japan and he expects it to provide the needed draw for clients in Westchester, New York City and neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey.
Louie said the hotel will be freshly accented with everything from carpeting to drapes, using warm tones that appropriately complement the original millwork and stone. The Castle houses 31 luxury guests rooms, including seven suites in the hotel. “Three (suites) will get the feminine feel and have furniture that plays with the curves of a woman so you feel more like you’re walking into a boudoir,” said Louie. “And the other four suites will be masculine, still sticking with the old-world theme.”
The Sankara Hospitality Group purchased the Castle in March of 2011 for $11.5 million, Baeriswil said. Since then, small changes have been made in advance of the major renovation. More personalized service was offered to the hotel’s clientele and Equus, the hotel’s AAHS Award Winning 5-star restaurant, welcomed a new executive chef, Chiharu Takei. The Japanese-born, French-trained chef introduced a new tasting menu that progresses with each season, with locally grown vegetables and high-quality meat and fish. The menu will also feature Japanese and French influences. Sato hired his friend to be a part of his first U.S. venture, said Louie.
The old world feel coupled with Asian influence is something Baeriswil said will also be alluring to international clients as well. The collective staff is embracing the change and looking forward to the reopening of the Castle Hotel & Spa in May, he said.