For families in the Northeast looking for all-inclusive pricing, a slew of family activities, and the pedigree of a grand hotel, Mohonk Mountain House delivers in spades. This Victorian castle in the Shawangunk Mountains has been welcoming families for over 145 years. The location is just two hours north of New York City near New Paltz, on the fringe of the Catskill Mountains. (See map of the Catskill Mountains.)
Amazingly, Mohonk Mountain House has been run by the same family since its founding in 1869. What started as a 10-room inn and tavern on 280 acres grew into a sprawling grand hotel with some 250 rooms. The list of many distinguished past guests include five Presidents of the United States—Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Howard Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton.
Mohonk is a marvelous place to relax and unplug. The place oozes history, from the grand staircase and intricate woodwork in the public areas to the many old-fashioned parlors and sitting areas scattered throughout the hotel. The large wrap-around porch is lined with rocking chairs overlooking the lake—a popular gathering place when the weather is fine.
Instagram Tour: Holiday Season at Mohonk Mountain House
Despite the resort's deep sense of history and tradition, activities and recreational facilities are right up to the minute. There's a wonderful spa and fitness complex with an indoor pool. There are 85 miles of hiking trails and rock scrambles, guided nature hikes, boating and paddleboarding on the lake, a golf course, many tennis courts, scheduled kids' and teen's programming, and an array of yoga, meditation and fitness classes. In the winter, the spectacular covered ice rink is a boon for the children's club and family time.
Rates fluctuate significantly between high and low season. Keep in mind that this is an all-inclusive vacation with lodging, three delicious meals a day plus afternoon tea and cookies (an immensely popular tradition here), myriad activities, evening entertainment, and practically every other expense built into the cost of your room. Looking for a deal? There are several weekends throughout the winter and spring where kids stay and eat free.
Best rooms: The 250-odd guest rooms vary in decor and size and reflect the many additions made to the rambling hotel over the decades. For example, the Victorian rooms (including the luxurious tower rooms) feature antique furnishings and wood-burning fireplaces. Except for the plush linens and stylish bathrooms, you could imagine that these rooms have remained much the same for the best part of a century.
Some guest rooms are done up in a country decor, while more modern suites are done up in cottage or Mission style and feature sitting areas, pullout sofas and mini refrigerators. All rooms offer sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains, Lake Mohonk, or the expansive gardens.
Rooms do not have TVs but they are available upon request (add $25 nightly). There is free wi-fi throughout the resort, a cabinet full of board games, and televisions in some of the parlors.
Best season: The resort is open year-round, with a changing seasonal lineup of activities and kids' club offerings. In the summer, families can hike the trails of the expansive grounds or go swimming, canoeing, or kayaking on the small lake. In the winter, there's ice skating and an indoor pool. During the holiday season, the resort is a popular family Christmas getaway and offers an impressive lineup of entertainment and activities.
Visited: December 2014
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