Many have fond memories of family vacations at grand resorts, but did you know that not all stay this way? As Rusty Tagliareni and Christina Mathews discuss in their book, Abandoned Resorts of the Northeast, a large number close down and fall into disrepair. One such hotel is the Nevele Grande Resort, which is now abandoned with a rather uncertain future.
The Nevele Country Club
In 1901, Charles Slutsky established the Nevele Country Club. It was situated in the picturesque Catskills region, surrounded by two lakes in a valley west of the Shawangunk Mountains.
As time progressed, changes were made to the property. The 1920s and ’30s saw the addition of new wings designed in the fashion of the popular Mission Revival architecture. The 1950s and ’60s, on the other hand, saw more modern designs. These included the Vacationer Wing and the Waikiki indoor pool in 1954, and the Golden Gate and Empire wings in 1956.
In 1964, architect Herbert D. Phillips, who’d designed the new wings, planned a 10-story dodecahedral high-rise. Known as Nevele Tower, it became the defining feature of the resort and was the first thing guests saw when driving through the property.
In 1997, the resort was renamed the Nevele Grande after years of being referred to as simply the “Nevele.” At this time, it merged with the adjacent Fallsview resort, after the Slutsky family sold the property.
A truly grand resort
The Nevele Grande Resort lived up to its grandiose name. At its peak, it had 430 guest rooms and employed a staff of 800. The complex was dominated by Nevele Tower, which sat at the main entrance, and wings were connected by underground tunnels.
There were two golf courses on the site, designed by Robert Trent Jones and Tom Fazio. The first, an 18-hole course, opened in the 1940s and was later renovated. The second, a smaller nine-hole course, came with the Fallsview resort upon the two hotels merging.
The easternmost part of the property was home to the Waikiki indoor pool and a health club, beyond which was an extravagant ski chalet and slope. There, guests had access to a skating rink, a roller rink, a skate and ski shop, a snack bar, and an ornate lobby filled with fireplaces.
Amenities included two magnificent ballrooms and several conference halls, which were excessive, even by Catskills standards. There was also a Hawaiian-themed nightclub. Those who wished to experience the natural beauty of the property could visit its two natural lakes, which are fed by a 35-foot waterfall.
Money troubles led to its closure
By 2006, the Nevele Grande Resort was struggling financially, so much so that the Fallsview portion was sold. The main hotel managed to remain open for three more years before closing without notice after the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Owners Joel Hoffman and Mitchell Wolff had failed to pay taxes on the property.
The property was set to go up for auction in September 2009, but that was called off after a potential buyer was found. Unfortunately, the property remained unsold and fell into disrepair. Its staircases became musty, and the guest rooms began to emanate various odors.
In March 2010, the New York State Supreme Court granted Wolff full ownership of the property. Hoffman had failed to provide his former business partner with agreed-upon benefits after he’d sold him 99 percent control of the hotel. Judge Mary Work described Hoffman’s management of the property as “staggering” and criticized his failure to be forthcoming.
Two years later, in May 2012, Nevele Investors LLC, a subsidiary of Claremont Partners Ltd., announced the Nevele Grande Resort would undergo a $500 million renovation to turn it into a resort and casino. Unfortunately, the state rejected the proposal to allow gambling on the site and the project never came to fruition.
A (possible) new future
Upon the state denying the proposal, news broke that another developer was looking to build a sports complex on the 564-acre property. They hoped to add a spa and other amenities, with the complex set to be the main attraction.
In September 2017, Nevele Investors LLC announced the resort would reopen in March 2020. However, just a year and a half later, the developer said the necessary funding hadn’t been secured. This has since left the property’s future uncertain.
It’s reported that a “for sale” sign was placed on the property in October 2019.
Explore the Nevel Grande Resort in full with Antiquity Echoes’ cinematic tour of the space.
As of June 2020, the buildings of the former Nevele Grande Resort remain standing, their exteriors and interiors showing the signs of years of neglect and disrepair.