The DeBruce

982 Debruce Rd, Livingston Manor, NY 12758, USA

Why we love it: A food-focused retreat in the scenic Willowemoc Valley

The Highlights:

  • 600 acres of private land for hiking, fishing, and more
  • A nine-course dinner included with each stay
  • Cozy common spaces for soaking up the peace and quiet

The Review:
Set on a ledge overlooking the Willowemoc Valley and its namesake river, The DeBruce brings a touch of sophistication to an otherwise quiet corner of the Catskills. Here, in a restored inn from the 1880s, guests find 14 modest rooms spread over three floors. Designed to create a sense of calm, all feature down duvets, Sferra linens, and tile-and-marble bathrooms stocked with Malin & Goetz toiletries, while some also include clawfoot tubs and expansive views of the surrounding scenery. Guests spend little time in their rooms, however, as The DeBruce is home to several cozy common spaces, including the Great Room (filled with antique couches and wingback chairs), the Conservatory (with an original fieldstone fireplace and comfy reading chair), and a serene pool (surrounded by lounge chairs, a firepit, and manicured gardens). The property also sits on nearly 600 acres of private land, which spans two mountains, a river, and several ponds. Simply walk over the private bridge for access to trails for hiking, birding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, as well as a half-mile of river for fly fishing.

At the center of all of this is the restaurant—a glass-walled dining room overlooking the valley, where guests enjoy the a la carte breakfasts and multiple-course dinners included in their stay (one night is always a nine-course tasting menu). Chef Aksel Theilkuhl, formerly of BLT Steak Group in New York City, draws from a bounty of local, seasonal products for every meal, impressing with dishes like smoked trout and mushroom three ways. Should guests prefer something more casual, there’s also the Club Room in the basement, where Theilkuhl serves bar classics and small plates in an intimate setting. For more insight into The DeBruce’s culinary program, sign up for sessions with Theilkuhl and help with kitchen prep, sample new dishes, or forage the hotel grounds for ramps and more. Other activities like Pilates and yoga classes, exploratory nature walks, and fly-fishing lessons are also on offer, giving guests plenty of ways to while away their days in the Catskills.

Housed in a restored 19th-century inn, the 14-room DeBruce is a warren of cozy common spaces that invite travelers to linger in wingback chairs next to stone fireplaces or chat on porch swings hung from the verandah. Guests may take a dip in the outdoor pool or join a fly-fishing or foraging excursion, but the main event is dinner. Chef Aksel Theilkuhl, formerly of BLT Steak Group in New York City, serves a nightly tasting menu in a 32-seat dining room facing the lodge’s ponds and rolling hills.

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