“My parents grew up in Brooklyn, but my grandparents, both talented seamsters had a small cottage by the stream in Phoenicia where my father spent most weekends. After marrying my mother, his high school sweetheart, they decided to move up full-time. So, I was born here and went to high school here. My dad built homes in the area. That’s how I fell in love with real estate. When I was sixteen, I bought my first property. I’ve always been into real estate as a hobby and I think the hotel business is a natural progression.”
Covello went away to college and took a job in finance in Manhattan after graduating. The Catskills still called to him, so after getting married, he and his wife became weekenders, returning to his roots to give his young children a taste of the memories he had growing up in the the Hudson Valley.
“My brother built the 28 West Gym, which is just across the road from Hotel Dylan. We are a family of entrepreneurs and I had driven past this property for years, thinking of what it could be. I called up my friend, David Mazzullo and told him I’d found our first project. He drove up and looked at it, and we made the offer the next day.”
“What started off as a real estate investment soon became a labor of love — the newly renovated, re-conceptualized Hotel Dylan. Although I think my grandparents’ eye for fashion and design may have rubbed off on me, we knew we needed extra help and engaged Cortney and Robert Novogratz to transform the run-down structures into something that would reflect the history and nostalgia of the Woodstock era. It was a team project and our personalities really came through – The Novogratz were able to embrace our ideas and interpret what we love about the Catskills into the Hotel Dylan project. The guests who stay here want a taste of what Woodstock is known for, so the designers used a lot of recycled wood, wallpaper with an arrow pattern, reminiscent of the indigenous people who inhabited the hills. Every room is named after a different musical artist of Woodstock fame.”
Covello still works in the city, but comes north every weekend. He is a hometown boy at heart.
“I went to Onteora High School, and my parents still live in the same house I grew up in; we’re very integrated into the area. The people of Woodstock are an amazing community. There’s no place I like being more.”
Native New Yorker David Mazzullo visited the Catskills with his grandparents every summer vacation as a child. “These are some of my fondest childhood memories. I love the outdoors and all the activities the Hudson Valley has to offer.” Now the father of four active kids who have inherited their parents’ appreciation of the great outdoors, he has joined entrepreneurial forces with Paul Covello to welcome visitors from all over the world.
David grew up in Westchester County where he met his wife, Lauren. “Yes, we were high school sweethearts. Our love of outdoor activities brought us to the region twenty years ago. Although I don’t have a direct connection to Woodstock, the entire region has always conjured up happy memories.”
Mazzullo connected with Covello back in their hedge fund days in Greenwich, where the subject of acquiring and renovating houses would often come up in casual conversation between them. “Although we’d always had a great professional relationship in the world of finance, our talks often moved to our mutual interest of real estate. Now the Hotel Dylan and Santa Fe Restaurant have become our labor of love. We originally set out to fix up a hotel that we knew the area could use, plain and simple. The possibilities for this property are endless.”
“The joy in building something we can be proud of and that visitors can enjoy it for decades—this is how we look at this project. As newcomers to the hotel and hospitality business, we’ve learned that we don’t know nearly everything—more like anything!—and are happy to have the support of the community and great staff. We can’t be more excited by the prospects of what we are building here.”
“We originally set out to fix up a hotel that we knew the area could use, plain and simple. The possibilities for this property are endless.”