Two hours north of New York City, the Catskills became the preferred weekend escape for Manhattan’s elite in the 19th century. Now, its colorful forests, soaring mountains and dramatic waterfalls still draw city dwellers yearning to get back to nature and hike, ski and fish. Fortunately, old-fashioned charm comes with cocktails, spa treatments and world-class restaurants at these historic inns and family-run resorts.
Not every hotel boasts the world’s largest kaleidoscope, but the Emerson likes to go the extra mile. As well as marveling at the record-breaking 60-foot (18.3m) structure, guests at this chic resort next to the Esopus Creek can join guided nature walks and scavenger hunts as well as borrow bikes, binoculars and frisbees – you can even sign up for pebble painting and watercolor classes. Dogs aren’t forgotten either, with welcome baskets, special menus and even a 100-foot-long (30.5m) dog park.
A small corner of Italy in the Upper Catskills, this friendly resort in the pretty village of Tannersville has been home to the Italian Vosilla family for five generations. Enjoy la dolce vita at the heated indoor pool, hot tub, yoga studio and games room stocked with shuffleboard, air hockey and arcade games. Dedicated Italophiles are in for a treat at the hotel’s restaurant, too, where the menu includes burrata, hand-cut pasta and lovingly made meatballs in marinara sauce.
Need more than a pool and a view to have a good holiday? Prepare to be bamboozled by the sheer number of activities on offer at this large Callicoon resort. The generous all-inclusive package includes daily breakfast, dinner, daytime games and nightly entertainment, alongside the use of the bowling alley, rock climbing wall, go-karts, zipline and the tennis and volleyball courts. If that’s not quite enough, you can also go horse riding or paintballing, visit a spa and use the hotel’s own ski slope.
Location is everything at Hotel Vienna, just 1 mile (1.6km) from Windham Mountain and 8 miles (12.9km) from Hunter Mountain. Guests in the 30 chalet-style rooms can tuck into a complimentary continental breakfast, before heading out fishing, kayaking, biking or golfing. In winter, try skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snow tubing. Then, warm up back at the hotel in the steamy outdoor jacuzzi, open year-round.
Think a holiday can’t change your life? The YO1 resort in Monticello will prove otherwise, offering Ayurvedic and Naturopathic therapies alongside yoga, acupuncture and meditation to encourage a new awareness of inner wellbeing. Though programs are personalized to tackle everything from anxiety to obesity, every guest can expect detoxifying vegetarian meals, fresh juices and stylish rooms overlooking shimmering Bailey’s Lake.
Time seems to stand still at this charming boutique hotel set in a 1940s property in Tannersville. All 19 individually designed rooms offer plush fabrics, whirlpool baths and sweeping mountain views, while guests are encouraged to relax in a rocking chair on the porch or retire to the library with a glass of wine after days out hiking, biking and fishing. But don’t skip the included gourmet breakfast served each day: the buttermilk pancakes with local maple syrup, french-toast bread pudding and housemade sausage are the stuff of legend.