A company that operates upscale inns and spas at Rhinebeck and Skaneateles in New York state and Plymouth, Massachusetts, along with a standalone spa in Albany wants to build a new inn and spa in Beacon. The Mirbeau Companies has applied for approval to build The Mirbeau Inn & Spa Beacon as part of a master plan for the 64-acre Tioronda Estate. The site includes the historic Howland Mansion and former Craig House sanitarium, where it is said celebrities such as Truman Capote, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Gleason recovered from various problems ranging from alcohol abuse to depression.
The company is seeking site plan approval and a special use permit. The landscape architect for the project, Henry Thomas of LRC Consulting in Poughkeepsie, said that they will preserve historic buildings on the site. The mansion will be the main building with four rooms and site amenities; the spa building will be three stories with 60 hotel rooms, grotto rooms and an outdoor event area. Up to 15 cottages will be added to the site, each with two or three bedrooms. The conceptual plan proposes restoration of the 1859 Howland Estate mansion and 1872 Hunt Music Room.
Mirbeau proposes creating The Spa Château building, a full-service garden-level health spa with women’s and men’s locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, steam rooms, and sauna. It would have massage and facial treatment rooms along with a nail salon and a state-of-the-art fitness center that would offer private and group fitness programs. There would be areas that guests can use for rest and relaxation along with space for staff support, storage and building mechanicals. The spa would include an exterior Mirbeau Aqua Terrace with heated whirlpools and lounging areas that provide scenic views of the property. The spa would total 25,168 square feet.
According to Thomas, they intend to use existing driveways and road beds and create new access points to the north of the site and a secondary access to the spa area.
Jonathan DalPos, vice president of Mirbeau Companies, which is based in Skaneateles near Syracuse, said, “We are a family-owned and managed hotel and wellness company. My stepfather and mother founded the company a little over 20 years ago. They recognized in the hospitality industry that there were destination properties that allowed you to escape and kind of find balance in your life again. However, the problem was at the time they were secluded to the far coasts. It would take long distances and great travel time to get there.”
DalPos said that vacationers often found that by the time they reached their distant destinations, they were so stressed from traveling that it was difficult to just relax. He said the Mirbeau concept was to create near-urban getaways to which people could easily drive within one to two hours. The inn and spa in Skaneateles was their first project and has 34 rooms with a 12,000-square-foot spa.
“We were received pretty well by a number of happy guests. We became pretty acclaimed in the international travel industry and had people coming from all over the world to visit us,” DalPos said. “We became the number one employer in the village of Skaneateles as well as the largest tax contributor.”
He said they were able to build their second property in 2014 in Plymouth. Next was the inn and spa in Rhinebeck.
“Dutchess County commissioned a study where they realized that Rhinebeck had this problem where they were getting a lot of New York City day trips, a lot of visitors coming up for the day,” DelPos said. “If they could keep them overnight, they would have substantially more to spend not only in the town of Rhinebeck but also in the county. We thought that we could deliver the accommodations that would allow the New York City guests to stay overnight.”
DelPos said that in the second year of operation in Rhinebeck they expected a 58% occupancy rate but have actually achieved a 75% occupancy rate.
“We think Beacon has every bit the opportunity to be a destination just as Rhinebeck is,” DelPos said.
David Bois of Arrowstreet Architecture said, “We’re very excited about this project because it’s very different than the others. It involves historic restoration. Our goal is to bring the building back, to restore these spaces.”
Thomas said, “Realistically, the site doesn’t look exactly like it did back in 1860, 1862, but there are still some good substances and parts and pieces left. There are some trees that we believe are authentic from that era. Basically, the master plan is centered on the historical mansion and the additions to it in terms of hotel facilities, and from that everything else revolves.”
The Beacon Planning Board has declared itself lead agency for the environmental review that will be undertaken. Mirbeau is hoping to break ground in the last quarter of 2023 and complete the first phase of construction in 2024.