Montreal-born artist, real estate developer, and hotelier Anthony Champalimaud, has found that dropping out of art school was the best thing he could have done for his development as an artist. After gaining experience at the interior design firm of his mother, Alexandra Champalimaud, Anthony and his wife Charlie S. Champalimaud jumped into hospitality with Troutbeck, a storied escape in upstate New York that Anthony describes as “a canvas that I’ll never stop revisiting”.
I grew up admiring my mother for all she had and continues to accomplish as a creative and entrepreneur. As an interior designer, she has built a global reputation and has worked to redefine some of the world’s most iconic properties. I suppose people tend to gravitate towards the things that they know, particularly children. Growing up, my original ambition was to become an artist. I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago but soon thereafter decided it wasn’t for me. I traveled for a year and returned to college. On 9/11 my mother’s firm suffered major losses and began to struggle in the aftermath. I left my job and joined her as an intern. My tenure lasted six years, with my last two years as Managing Director. We stabilized and grew the firm, and through that process gained a deeper understanding of design, hospitality, and development. I decided it was the path I wanted to take. You could say that over that time I had redirected my creative energies from canvases to building.
I thought I had found a great property to get started on in Chelsea. So, I went to one of our clients and asked, “What would it take for you to invest in a hotel of mine?” Lacking any real experience as an owner/developer, he shot me down. By that age, I had spent more time in hotels—with the best owners and operators—than all of my contemporaries. Frankly, I was exposed to them since I was a child! Anyway, I went and earned my master’s degree in real estate from Columbia University, and that’s what really kicked it off. I graduated with a more rounded view and an intimate understanding of both the development process and the creative process. All my projects since have been with former clients.
Troutbeck is certainly a creative endeavor, but it’s multifaceted. It’s not like painting a picture. Nor can you achieve your vision alone. You have to be financially creative, operationally creative, creative with the environment, and creative with the guest experience. You have to build a team.
Well, I have always just wanted to remain imaginative, to create spaces, and evoke certain feelings in people. I see Troutbeck as a canvas that I’ll never stop revisiting. I have the sense of complete and utter dissatisfaction with this glorious thing we’ve produced—and I think that kind of perfectionism is a trait in a lot of artists. Make no mistake, our guests leave 100 percent satisfied, but in the back of my mind, there’s always this tugging feeling that says “you’re not finished”. I’m also optimistic. I don’t see any missed opportunities, only ones that haven’t been realized yet.
The property itself, and its history. But the landscape is part of why the property is so special—it captivated John Burroughs, Lewis Mumford, and countless other writers. It’s history, landscape, and architecture are interdependent. Troutbeck sits in a wide valley, in between a river and a creek. There’s just this wonderful feeling of embrace that you get when you visit. The location demands a certain subtlety—something we respected as we redefined the property. It’s an intimate, serene setting that’s always been a sanctuary for people from New York City and beyond. It has this enormous, profound, and far-reaching legacy. From an artistic perspective, we have a responsibility to a legacy, yet it’s a deeply inspiring place.