By Anastasia Mills Healy
The sprawling resort hotel in the Shawangunk Mountains of Ulster County, NY, Mohonk Mountain House can be what you need it to be: an active family vacation, a quiet couples’ getaway, a multi-generational vacation, a wellness escape, or a corporate retreat.
Two hours from Greenwich and up the mountain from the funky town of New Paltz, Mohonk has stood sentinel over its 1,200 acres for 150 years.
A National Historic Landmark, Mohonk Mountain House is not a relic resting on its laurels. Hundreds of staff organize activities like tennis clinics, rock scrambles, mountain bike rides, art classes, archery, Pilates, aqua chi, and even tomahawk throwing.There’s also horseback riding and carriage rides, golf and disc golf, kayaks and canoes, cross-country skiing and ice skating. An endurance concierge can help you reach your fitness goals. Tired yet?
Every hour of every day could be filled, or you could ignore it all and take a leisurely stroll followed by a massage and a soak in the outdoor hot tub. Then park yourself in a rocker on the porch overlooking the lake and settle in with a cup of tea and the book you’ve been meaning to read. Relaxed yet?
Like a cruise ship with long corridors lined with cabins, Mohonk’s floors hold hundreds of rooms with varying configurations and décor. Choose a view of the Catskill Mountains or Lake Mohonk. Some rooms have a Victorian feel with dark wood and a fireplace and others have a lighter color palette and no fireplace. All have a balcony; none has a TV. For something really special—especially if you’re traveling with family or friends—book the Grove Lodge. Opened just three years ago, the lodge has six bedrooms, each with its own bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower, that surround a great room with soaring cathedral ceilings and one of the only TVs on property.
Also like a cruise ship, meals are included and there are several dining options. The bustling main dining hall presents buffet stations with some pre-made but many made-to-order options like an eggs Benedict station and a pasta bar. You could eat barbeque outside in the summer at the Granary or dress up for a quiet, four-course fine dining experience at Surrey.Rates are all-inclusive and tipping is not expected (“our service staff is well compensated and there is no need for guests to provide gratuities of any kind”) but be prepared for a 15 percent administrative fee on rooms, à la carte dining, and beverage and room service.
If you’re traveling with kids 2-12, a bonus is that—as many cruise lines do—Mohonk has a Kids’ Club that’s included in your overnight rate (double check that it will open during your stay). As kids age up, activities can include arts and crafts, nature walks, rock scrambles, and archery. Many room configurations work well for families including adjoining rooms. Note that although there are some days when kids can stay and eat free, children are usually charged $125 per night.
Many activities for adults are covered but, for example, if you aren’t getting a spa treatment, access to the single-sex sauna and steam room and co-ed mineral bath infused with Dead Sea salt is $40 for a day pass—completely worth it for such a world-class spa.
So bring your hiking boots to explore 85 miles of trails (including those on the abutting Mohonk Preserve’s 7,500 acres), but you can rent mountain bikes, fishing poles, and other equipment required for any adventures you may want to pursue. Mohonk Mountain House has been in the business of welcoming hundreds of people daily for one-and-a-half centuries. You can craft your own ideal vacation without ever needing to take a tender for a shore excursion.
As if all of the usual activities weren’t enough, Mohonk also hosts many special events around themes ranging from wellness to music, and is a particularly special location for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Will Shortz’ Wonderful World of Words
Fall Yoga Weekend
Ballroom Dancing Weekend
January 10-13, 2020
Jazz on the Mountain
(Note: There’s also a Burns Supper in Greenwich)
Presidents’ Special: Kids Stay & Eat Free
February 28-March 1
Photo credit: Mohonk Mountain House