By Mary Overly Davis
I am such a lucky girl! Not only do I live in the nicest town in the Catskill Mountains, but I live near the Andes Hotel. If you missed Part 1 of this mini-series about Derek Curl and all the happenings at the Hotel, try finding a copy of the October issue or go to the website AndesGazette.net and click Current Issue. The article focused on the beginning, when Derek came to town. This Part 2 article will focus on his completed renovations and his plans for the future.
Derek did not intend to start renovations last Summer, but new developments led him to begin sooner. He developed a friendship with Corey, a weekend homeowner from Bovina who is a director/producer. This led, in June 2022, to them filming a “teaser” of a few things going on in town. Then Chip and Joanna Gaines of the Magnolia Network caught wind, loved the Hotel and filmed a pilot episode on Derek, his house and Hotel, and the Hamlet.
Everyone loved it! Plans that were previously mere notions were put into high gear. Not only would work entail just the restaurant, but included the Green Room (formerly known as the Yellow Room), motel rooms, a commissary/lounge, and the Summer Shack and courtyard. Shooting started February 2023 and lasted off and on for seven months, for the duration of the ambitious construction schedule—in the dead of Winter. Derek insisted the remodels feel that the buildings were respected, but didn’t want the changes to be so different that the locals wouldn’t recognize the place.
Toward that end, Derek’s team brainstormed concepts. The motel rooms needed to harken back to the 1950s, at the height of the Catskill borscht belt heyday. The hotel needed a “lodge feel,” comfy and with elements of the Catskills—water, animals, mountains, trees, and the Anti-rent War. The courtyard needed to be parklike, a community garden for everyone to be “trans-ported.” And, indeed, the garden reminds this writer of New York City’s hidden garden gems, an oasis. Derek insists the garden is a public space that the Andes Hotel just happens to use.
To date, renovation of four of the ten motel rooms is complete, as well as a lounge, a room so successfully designed one feels like mid-century teens should be hanging out listening to LP’s. The motel, hopefully completed by the end of January 2024, will feature a variety of rooms, from high occupancy rooms with bunk beds, to traditional double occupancy. Some will be more luxurious and modern than others. Adding to the variety of lodging offerings, renovations will start in Spring 2024 on the Hotel rooms upstairs! Reminiscent of the early 1900’s railroad style accommodations with shared restrooms, the simple designs will be “very low key, and very affordable, so everyone can participate.”
The original hotel building was built in the 1850s but has undergone several alterations, most notably the addition—what is now the Green Room—that the Temmings built in the 1960s. Derek has transformed the space. The décor does indeed conjure a Catskill lodge, complete with (decorative) animals, a working fireplace, comfortable lounge areas and new dining arrangements. The “piéce de résistance” is a commissioned Anti-rent War mural, painted by Zachary Link. Inspired by the 1930s WPA mural of the same subject in the Delhi Post Office, the film crew followed the Andes team to the Hunting Tavern to insure authentic representation: big bold colors in a slightly cartoonish technique. After attending the Women of Andes event in the Green Room I can attest to the dreamy, cozy atmosphere this room projects. The dart league, which will resume competitions “as before” will have a very elevated experience!
And we will all have an elevated experience when In With the Old, premiers on HBOMAX on Friday, November 24th! Little old Andes will be featured in a one hour special! Because the big day falls between Thanksgiving and Saturday’s tree lighting event at the Hotel, we will all have to wait to view the show as a group audience. But don’t worry, Derek is planning a “huge” event, an aprés-premier viewing party, when his schedule loosens up—so stay tuned!
In the meantime, the Hotel will be hosting Thanksgiving Dinner (make your reservations!) and the Christmas Tree lighting event on Saturday November 25th at 6 pm. Come early and start your holiday shopping at 4 pm that same day along the motel frontage. Over 10 vendors will be selling their wares to an estimated five hundred people. As I write, Derek is readying the Hotel for his annual Halloween bash, the Haunted Hoedown.
Not to let grass grow under his feet, after selling the Two Old Tarts restaurant to a young couple with plans to open a café, Derek is currently mulling renovation of his property at 42 Main Street. Constructed as a match to the Geiger building across the driveway, he plans to restore it back to its 1850s glory as a single-family residence. No wonder Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Network continue to be interested in following goings on in Andes. Who knows, maybe there will be some more Texans moving to Andes.~