New York’s Catskill and Hudson Valley regions have been booming for a while now, but 2020 is on track to be one of the area’s most exciting years yet for hotel openings, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Long associated with large, lavish resorts like Grossinger’s and the Concord—both of which served as models for the hotel in Dirty Dancing—the Catskills and Hudson Valley are now better known for boutique properties, which began cropping up about five years ago when hip hoteliers like Sims and Kirsten Foster (who founded Foster Supply Hospitality in the western Catskills in 2014) took an interest in the area. With a design-forward aesthetic and focus on local farmers and makers, these new hotels, along with a proliferation of independent restaurants and shops, have helped revive small towns like Woodstock, Hudson, and Livingston Manor.
When the coronavirus hit in March and the region was forced into lockdown along with the rest of New York, several more hotels had either just opened or were preparing to launch soon. Most closed temporarily or pushed back their openings until recently, making now the time to visit as lockdown restrictions ease across New York. Read on for our favorites and start planning your weekend getaway upstate.
Originally slated to launched in January 2020, Kenoza Hall finally opened on June 12, 2020, in a 1900s boarding house and hotel on 55 acres of property overlooking Kenoza Lake in the western Catskills. The most upscale of Foster Supply Hospitality’s five properties, the hotel has 22 rooms with original hardwood floors, Sferra linens, and custom furniture in soft grays and pinks; some even have deep-soaking tubs and private balconies. On the ground floor, guests can curl up with a book or drink (or both) by the fieldstone fireplace in the Parlor Room, browse the old maps and guidebooks in the Map Room, or simply relax in the blue-hued Lake Room.
Though Kenoza Hall is currently just offering takeout service, meals are designed by chef RJ Corley, formerly of Kenoza’s award-winning sister property the DeBruce. Expect American classics like Caesar salad, crab cakes, and roasted chicken paired with a view of the lake once the dining room reopens. Still, the highlight of Kenoza Hall will surely be the Hemlock Spa, which, like the restaurant, is scheduled to open when the Mid-Hudson Region enters Stage Three of recovery, likely in late June. In addition to a pool and hot tub, it will include outdoor walking paths and gardens, an outdoor barrel sauna, a movement studio for classes like aerial yoga and sound meditation, and private treatment rooms for aromatherapy massages, detoxifying herbal wraps, and oxygen facials.
Urban Cowboy Lodge
Lyon Porter and Jersey Banks, who are known for their stylish Urban Cowboy bed-and-breakfasts in Brooklyn and Nashville, teamed up with hotel developer Phil Hospod of Dovetail & Co. for the larger Urban Cowboy Lodge, which, while initially set to launch in January, recently opened on June 4. Housed in the former Alpine Inn, the property sits on 68 acres of land in Big Indian and features 29 guest rooms, each a bucolic hideaway decorated with Pendleton textiles, hand-printed wallpaper, claw-foot tubs, potbelly stoves, and touches like antler artwork and salvaged wood headboards.
Right now, guests can take advantage of socially distanced activities like guided hikes and bonfires on the lawn, as well as a Roberta’s pizza stand on weekends and the Canteen, which offers grab-and-go items like pastries, yogurt, and local snacks. Come the fall, it will also have access to a hand-built Estonian sauna as well as an on-site bar and dining room.
The Starlite Motel
After a soft opening earlier this spring, the Starlite Motel officially opened on June 1 in Kerhonkson, a short distance from Catskill favorites like Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk Preserve, and Sam’s Point. Built in the 1960s, the motel was a roadside mainstay for decades, but in sore need of an update when fashion industry vet Alix Umen and artist Adriana Farmiga purchased it in 2018. Working alongside arts professional Gwen Hill, Umen and Farmiga paid homage to the original building by keeping the turquoise front doors and bones of the motel, but painted the exterior pink for a Wes Anderson vibe. In the 16 rooms, guests now find a blend of Shaker, Scandinavian, and midcentury design, plus works by local artists and designers with close ties to the Catskills. Elsewhere on the property, a saltwater pool and spacious deck offer the perfect place to relax after a nearby hike, while the Canteen (a bar-like setup in rooms 11 and 12) comes in handy for quick breakfasts as well as local beverages and snacks throughout the day.
Roxbury at Stratton Falls
A sister property to the equally funky Roxbury Motel, the Roxbury at Stratton Falls opened on May 29 with eight newly built, multiroom Tower Cottages, each designed around a different theme. The astronomy-focused Galileo’s Gate has its own telescope and glass-ceilinged observation deck, while the marble-clad Terazza of the Titans showcases a ceiling mural depicting warring factions of Greek gods. Next door, an 1848 estate houses the less-kitschy but still themed Mansion Rooms, which reference the history of the property, nearby Stratton Falls, and the surrounding town of Roxbury with details like claw-foot tubs, stone fireplaces, reclaimed wood, and a canopy made out of muskets and sabers (really). Guests currently have access to breakfast bags, a gourmet food truck, and delivery from local restaurants, but they can look forward to a pool bar when restrictions ease. There are also several hiking trails that lead to waterfalls, and a spa, pool, hot tub, sauna, and game room to come.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck
The Mirbeau brand is known for its château-style hotels in the Finger Lakes and Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its new Rhinebeck location feels like something out of a French fairy tale. Opened in fall 2019, it closed temporarily during the pandemic but reopened on May 15 and is now welcoming guests to its romantic rooms, complete with fireplaces, French-style soaking tubs, and plush bathrobes. Come June 23, visitors here can also look forward to a massive spa, featuring treatment rooms with fireplaces, eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, Himalayan salt saunas, and an outdoor terrace with a heated pool. There’s even a fitness center and daily schedule of yoga classes, perfect for working off a meal from the on-site Willow by Charlie Palmer, which is currently offering in-room dining and curbside takeout.
After debuting in February and temporarily closing soon after, the Shandaken Inn hopes to reopen for business by July. Set on 12 acres, the hotel occupies a 1920s golf clubhouse that hosted guests for almost 100 years before shuttering. Now, the property is home to 15 “modern-meets-rustic” guest rooms and suites, complete with wood furniture from La Lune and Old Hickory, rugs from Stark Carpet, and textured wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries. Some feature original wood floors, while others boast fireplaces, sleeper sofas, and sitting areas. Also on-site is a lounge with a wood-burning fireplace, a tennis court, a heated pool, an outdoor firepit, and a fitness center with Peloton bikes, as well as a restaurant and bar serving hearty cuisine and local beer on tap (though it’s currently only open for outdoor dining and take-out service).
The Maker Hotel
Slated to open by mid-July, the Maker comes courtesy of Fresh skincare cofounders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg along with hospitality expert Damien Janowicz. Located in the heart of Hudson, it’s spread across three historical structures—an 1800s-era carriage house, a Georgian mansion, and a Greek revival building—and celebrates the world of makers, especially local Hudson Valley craftsmen. Each of the 11 rooms is distinct, with bohemian decor inspired by the belle epoque period, art deco style, and midcentury aesthetics. The Architect Studio includes midcentury modern furniture, herringbone fabric wallpaper, and an olive granite soaking tub, while the Artist Studio pairs eclectic artwork with a stained glass window, antique fireplace, and vintage painting easel.
Already beloved for its European-style café and sexy cocktail lounge, which opened back in 2018, the Maker will also have a full-service restaurant, a library with books selected by New York’s beloved Strand Book Store, a circus-themed fitness center, and Hudson’s first hotel pool when it’s fully operational. Unsurprisingly, all rooms feature Fresh beauty products, but guests will also have access to the Fragrance Library, where they can sample Glazman’s collection of scents from around the world.
The Herwood Inn
Opened last fall in the heart of Woodstock, the Herwood Inn closed for two months during the pandemic but reopened for full buyouts on June 6, 2020, and will start accepting short-term rentals in August 2020. Here, each of the four suites is named for an iconic female musician—there’s the King Suite for Carole, the Franklin Flat for Aretha, Mitchell Manor for Joni, and Nick’s Nook for Stevie—and includes a crystal representing their astrological sign. Each room also comes with a kitchenette, outdoor space, a record player, and a modern design with lots of well-placed plants, bright pops of color, and macramé wall hangings.
When not listening to records in their room, guests can browse the on-site Commune Shop for snacks, beverages, and local merchandise, or hang out in the outdoor oasis that is the Shed, complete with a covered deck and wood-burning stove. Downtown Woodstock, with all its boutiques and restaurants, is right down the street, plus guests will enjoy special pricing on local activities like guided hikes, canoe trips, and helicopter rides once operations resume.