It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley and Catskill region have been going through a renaissance in recent years.
Just under a 3-hour drive from New York City, the area has plenty to offer with its art galleries, antique shops, and expanding culinary scene. In this age of the Covid-19, it’s become more alluring than ever as a travel destination. The range of outdoor activities are wide, providing a perfect getaway in the warmer months with boating, kayaking and hiking, as well as spectacular foliage in the fall and skiing in the winter.
With a series of new hotel openings despite the pandemic, the region is back on the travel map due to its popularity among hipster urbanites.
Here are some of the best hotels in the area, some of them new and others traditional. Check the local health guidelines and hotel policies to ensure safe travel.
1. Eastwind Hotel & Bar: Scandi charm in Windham
This small property that started its modest life as a bunkhouse for fly-fishermen and hunters in the 1920’s, was revamped and opened in 2018 as a stylish mid-century modern hotel. The Scandinavian minimalistic interior is decorated with Macramé wall hangings, warm-colored wooden furniture and vintage Turkish rugs, creating a hygge-inducing cozy atmosphere.
Situated in Windham, approximately a three-hour drive from NYC and Boston, this pet-friendly hotel offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, skiing, hiking, fly-fishing, and others.
For those wanting privacy and space, Lushna cabins and suites provide an unbeatable “glamping” experience. The three newly added loft-style suites are separate accommodations with a private deck from which one can enjoy panoramic views of Windham Mountain while sipping cocktails delivered to each property.
Each suite boasts a cozy writer’s nook with a desk and Frette linens. It also comes with an electric car charger and a wood barrel-sauna.
2. The Maker Hotel: European glamour in downtown Hudson
The Maker Hotel was opened in the summer of 2020, by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, founders of the global skincare brand Fresh, with the help of hospitality expert Damien Janowicz.
The spacious 11 rooms are arranged across three historic buildings — a Georgian mansion, a Greek Revival building and a carriage house — exuding a sense of history and sophistication. The interior is an eclectic mix of Mid-Century and Scandinavian but its dark, intimate and plush design sets it apart from most of the rustic hotels in the area.
The main restaurant is located in a light-filled conservatory, serving high-quality coffee and fresh-baked pastries as well as a light all-day menu to eat in or take away. For a proper dining experience, there is a brasserie menu that includes steak tartare, grilled trout, chicken paillard, cheeseburger, among others.
More Manhattan than the Catskills as we traditionally know it.
3. Scribner’s Catskills Lodge: Brooklyn hipster meets the country in Hunter
Nestled in gorgeous surroundings, this Catskills institution from the ’60s is more stylish than ever since the makeover in 2015. Knotty pine panels in the lobby give the place an unmistakably mountain lodge look but the interior throughout the hotel is more Scandi-chic than rugged Swiss chalet style. The decor is minimalistic, accented with vintage rugs and modern art.
The private wooden deck outside most of the 38 guest rooms is a perfect spot to enjoy beautiful views of Hunter Mountain where one of the main ski resorts in the region is located.
Prospect Bar and Restaurant serves dishes that pay homage to the local cuisine. The menu is not big but includes highly delectable dishes, ranging from pasta to meat roast, fish and grain bowls.
4. The North Branch Inn: Cozy as it gets in North Branch
Located just two hours away from NYC, staying at The North Branch Inn in a quaint little town of the eponymous name is as comforting as staying at your grandmother’s house. For a place relatively close to the city, the hotel is ideal for those who want to forget about it all and unwind.
All 14 rooms are spread across three buildings on the premise and tastefully decorated with vintage finds mixed with modern accents. Each room features an en-suite bathroom with Malin+Goetz products and Sferra towels.
While it’s homey inside and one may just want to curl up and stay in, the 7-acre ground is an ideal place to stroll around and have a picnic. There are common areas to make a bonfire and eat s’mores or cozy up by a fireplace. Outside the hotel grounds, there’s a 9-hole golf course, fly-fishing opportunities, and hiking trails.
The restaurant is a crown jewel of the hotel, reflecting the background of Sims Foster, the owner of The North Branch Inn, who had worked extensively with chefs in the hospitality business before he opened his own hotels. The menu is small but each dish is done superbly using local ingredients.
Their nearby sister hotels The DeBruce and the upscale Kenoza Hall are popular and also known for food as well as the beautiful setting surrounded by nature.
5. Mohonk Mountain House: All the comfort of a grand hotel on the lake in New Paltz.
Majestically standing on the Hudson River, this grand Victorian hotel dating back to the 19th century is only an hour and half from New York City. It boasts a spectacular view of the glacial lake and has a history of having been visited by several former Presidents of the United States.
The hotel is a National Historic Landmark surrounded by the extensive 40,000 acres forest which means that there are many ways to explore the surrounding nature, including hiking through the 85-mile trail.
It provides an impressive range of activities for families and couples: guests can try paddle boats on the lake, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There is also an indoor heated pool, award-winning spa, 9-hole golf course, tennis courts and a kids’ club.
For foodies, it’s an all-day feast at Mohonk with a farm-to-table approach to cooking. Breakfast includes eggs, pastries and fruits while the lunch and dinner menu offers salads, pasta, roast fish and meat.
6. The Herwood Inn: Modern bohemian living in Woodstock
Located in the heart of the iconic Woodstock, this small hotel with only 4 rooms offers a convenient accommodation for those who desire to stay in the historically hippie town.
The rooms range from a suite that sleeps 4 people to a studio for 2 people, and are all aptly named after iconic female musicians — The King Suite after Carole King, The Nicks Nook for Stevie Nicks, The Franklin Flat for Aretha Franklin, and The Mitchell Manor for Joni Mitchell (the last two are pet-friendly). Each room is built like a separate house and comes with a kitchenette.
The vibes are fun and youthful which is reflected in the colorful design of the interior. Zodiac gemstones are displayed in each room representing the musician it’s named after (Apparently Carole King’s birthstone is amethyst.)
There is a communal patio and a cedar hot tub. Snacks and drinks are available at The Commune shop. Guests will also find organic markets, cafes and bakeries down the street in downtown Woodstock.
7. Spruceton Inn: A Little “Farmhouse” on the Prairie in West Kill.
This cute little “bed and bar” with nine rooms is housed in an old Dutch farmhouse dating back to the 1800’s, about 2 hours and 40 minutes from NYC.
Staying at Spruceton Inn means going back to basics, stepping back in time. There’s no TV or Wi-Fi (Do not despair. There’s internet in Room One where the bar is located) and the guest rooms are decorated to a bare minimum. Still, the interior without clutter (Marie Kondo would have approved) feels inviting rather than ascetic, with cozy white beds and artworks on the walls. Large windows and tables made with salvaged wood from their barn also add charm to the rooms.
Guests will find logs stored outside each room to make a fire, as well as a hammock, a tree swing, 5 fire pits, and Weber grills throughout the 8-acre property.
It’s a minimalists’ dream.
(Spruceton Inn is currently closed due to Covid-19. Watch for an update.)
8. Starlite Motel: Instagram-worthy 60’s motor lodge in Kerhonkson
This 60’s roadside mainstay in Kerhonkson was reborn as stylish lodging after the new owners, Alix Umen, Adriana Farmiga and Gwen Hill, who come from art, fashion and design backgrounds, gave it a new life.
They kept the original structure for a retro feel but added glamour and humor by adding pink to the exterior and reproducing the original robin-egg-blue doors. The effect is so eye-catching and dreamy that it’s been described as evocative of the Wes Anderson movies and photographed by many Instagram influencers.
The interior is a harmonious and intentional jumble of Shaker, Mid-Century and Scandinavian furniture mixed with local artists’ works.
In all 16 rooms, guests can relax with custom bath products, a Smeg refrigerator, and coffee and tea service.