Hay Creek Hotels Appoints Executive Team for The Abbey Inn & Spa Opening Early 2020

USA, Peekskill, New York. August 26, 2019

The Abbey Inn & Spa, the Gateway to the Hudson Highlands, has announced four appointments to its opening team: General Manager Gilbert Baeriswil, Director of Sales & Marketing Olivia Calcagnini, and Executive Chef John Paidas. A new boutique hotel and spa set within the now-converted St. Mary's Convent at a historic Revolutionary War setting within Peekskill, New York, The Abbey Inn will begin welcoming guests to experience the region and the far reaches of the Hudson Valley in early 2020.

Gilbert Baeriswil, General Manager A superbly versed hospitality professional with more than three decades of success in the industry, Gilbert Baeriswil is responsible for all operations at The Abbey Inn including rooms, food & beverage, sales, engineering, and more, while ensuring that guests enjoy immaculate comforts and an inimitable stay amid the beauty of the Hudson Highlands.

Baeriswil's previous experience ranges widely- covering all aspects of hotels, resorts, and private country club operations in a career that has placed him at everything from boutique and luxury properties, to private golf clubs in the U.S. and around the world. He joins The Abbey Inn from nearby Mahopac Golf & Beach Club where he was General Manager for the past two years.

Other recent highlights of Baeriswil's career include Hotel General Manager of Trapp Family Lodge, a unique address owned and operated by the Von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame in Stowe, Vermont; Club Manager of Manhattan Woods Golf Club in West Nyack, New York, and General Manager for 12-years of Castle Hotel & Spa, a Forbes 4-Star/AAA 4-Diamond, Historic Hotel of America located in Tarrytown, New York- Baeriswil was fully engaged in a $2.5 million renovation of the Castle as well as the $9 million construction of a new spa building.

A native of Riaz, Switzerland, Baeriswil earned a Certificate in business from College du Sud in Bulle, as well as a Certificate in culinary management from Centre Professional & Artisanal Fribourg. He currently resides in Mahopac, New York, where he spends his downtime enjoying site seeing, traveling, hiking, food & wines and when time permits golfing.

Olivia Calcagnini, Director of Sales & Marketing Drawing upon nearly a decade of experience in hospitality operations and sales, including extensive work with social events and gatherings of Fortune 500-size companies, Olivia Calcagnini oversees all sales and marketing efforts for The Abbey Inn, crafting innovative strategies and programming to fill guest rooms and draw group and corporate clientele to the hotel's distinctive meeting and event spaces.

Calcagnini arrived at The Abbey Inn from Convene, a New York City-based network of meeting, event and conference venues, where she was an opening Account Manager. Previous experiences also include Director of Sales & Marketing at Holiday Inn Mt. Kisco, New York, where she was responsible for $8 million in revenue, Catering Sales Manager at InterContinental New York Times Square, and first Front Office Supervisor, then Catering Sales Manager at Crowne Plaza in White Plains, New York.

Born and raised in nearby Yorktown, Calcagnini graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, and also studied marketing and management at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. At Siena College she received a scholarship as a catcher for the Siena Saints. She currently resides in Tarrytown, NY one of the Hudson Valley's most beautiful river towns. When not at work you can find Olivia on a softball field, hiking, trying new foods or listening to music with her puppy by the water.

John Paidas, Executive Chef A culinary talent with experience leading kitchens at distinctive independent and hotel restaurants across the country, Paidas oversees all culinary operations at The Abbey Inn. Paidas prepares dishes that, as he puts it, "are simplistic in nature and make people smile and feel grateful to be among friends and family." His areas of responsibility include the Mediterranean-inspired, Hudson Valley farm-to-table menu at the signature dining experience Apropos Restaurant & Bar, as well as banqueting and catering operations for clients of the hotel's distinctive meeting and event spaces.

Paidas joins The Abbey Inn from The Sagamore Pendry, a lifestyle hotel located in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was Executive Chef. Additional experiences include turns as Chef de Cuisine at Charlie Bird and La Pecora Bianca, both in New York City; and as a line cook at Le Bernardin, the renowned Michelin 3-Star/New York Times 4-Star-rated seafood destination in Midtown New York. Paidas got his start as Chef de Partie at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado.

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Paidas still draws inspiration from flavors and techniques he learned from his family in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as via the Chefs he has worked with over the years. Now a resident of Peekskill, he enjoys seeking out the freshest local ingredients from across the northeast, as well as fishing, golfing, and hiking with his 4-month-old husky, Capo.

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Coming up in November 2019...

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as "Biophilic Design." Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.