A family vacation is supposed to be lots of fun for the entire family, but what once used to be fun has now become a chore. Finding places that will cater to everyone in your family is as elusive as finding the Holy Grail. If you are looking for activities for the kids, a little down time in the spa for you, and a little romance for you and the hubby, then look no further. We’ve found the place for you: Mohonk Mountain House.
About the hotel
Mohonk Mountain House is located on what feels like the top of a mountain in New Paltz, New York. All we could think of as we drove up the long winding road to the hotel was the children’s rhyme, “round and round the ragged rock the ragged rascals ran.” When you reach the top of the “mountain” the hotel comes into view and what you see is pretty amazing. A large Victorian Castle flanked by hewn rock, it looks like something out of a period movie. You might think you’re dreaming, but go ahead and pinch yourself and you’ll see that it’s real and you’re only about two hours outside of the city.
What there is to do
So you probably want to know what there is to do at the hotel and if your family will have a great time. Well the answer to those questions are lots and we definitely think so!
Mohonk Mountain House is known for its hiking trails. Guests can hike the trails on their own or join a group hike from the hotel. In the winter, snowshoes are available for guests to use to make that slog up the mountain a little easier. Not all the trails are open during the winter due to weather conditions, but the hotel will let you know which ones are available for use. During the winter, guests can also make use of the indoor all-season pool.
In the summer, the lake is open for swimming and boating. There are outdoor games that the whole family can participate in including croquet, lawn bowling, and horseshoes. Horseback riding is also available in the warmer months; kids have to be at least 6 years old to participate. For the younger set, there are pony rides. If neither you nor your kids are fond of the sore bum that comes from riding a horse, you can take a carriage ride around the grounds instead. Both the horseback riding and carriage rides are an additional charge.
Craving some alone time? Yeah, us too, On weekends and during the summer months, Mohonk Mountain House has a drop-off Kids Club (yay!) that runs at various times during the day. For moms with kids in diapers, don’t despair; kids don’t need to be potty trained to attend the Kids Club. Younger kids participate in activities inside the club itself, such as arts & crafts, storytime, and puppet shows, while older kids can participate in activities around the resort with parental permission. While your kids are otherwise occupied, it’s the perfect time for you to go to the sauna or take a dip in the mineral pool at the spa. Oh the bliss of a little quiet time.
Where you sleep
There are a variety of rooms at Mohonk Mountain House to fit every lifestyle and budget, ranging from a regular double room up to a large suite. Going in the winter? Request a room with a fireplace. In the summer, book a room with a balcony so you can enjoy the view of the mountains and the lake. Now we have to tell you something that will be our little secret; don’t tell your kids until you get to the hotel. There are no TVs in the rooms at Mohonk Mountain House. Yes, we were in shock too, but we quickly adjusted. Instead, kids have to spend time outdoors getting fresh air and sun on their (SPF covered) faces. That unhealthy video game pallor will be gone in no time. If you have to have a TV in your room or you will expire on the spot, you can rent one for an additional charge. If you have little kids and need a refrigerator, you can request one free of charge.
Room rates start at $291 per person per night for a double room and go up to $495 per person per night. The cost for a kid 4-12 sharing a room with two adults is $99 per night and kids 4 and under are always free. It will set you back $185 per night for an extra adult, anyone 13 and over, in the room.
What you eat
The room rate at Mohonk Mountain House includes 3 meals a day plus tea and cookies in the afternoon; milk is offered for the younger crowd. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and during breaks when a lot of kids are in residence, dinner is also a buffet. The rest of the year dinner is a three course affair. If you prefer the pomp and circumstance of a formal dinner, you can opt to do that instead of the buffet as long as your kids are 7 or older. The dinner is formal, like the name says, so jackets and ties are required.
While regular dinner is not formal, it’s resort casual; most people wear slacks or a skirt in the evening. At lunch and dinner, there’s a kid’s buffet table available complete with chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese and french fries. For the adults, there’s a salad bar, a carved meat station and a dessert buffet that is to die for. Enjoy a little bit of everything; you can always burn it off on the trails later.
Good to know
Almost all of Mohonk Mountain House is stroller accessible. Other than the trails, the only place that isn’t stroller accessible is the pavilion, where ice skating is held in the winter.
The spa at Mohonk Mountain House is for adults only. You can utilize the spa if you have a treatment that day or you can pay $25 for a day pass.
To do nearby
Visit Walkway over the Hudson, the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The Highland entrance to the Walkway is 30 minutes away from the hotel. You can also take a trip over to Hyde Park, which is about 40 minutes from the hotel, and visit Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site and have lunch at one of the restaurants of the Culinary Institute of America.
By Car: The drive from Manhattan to Mohonk Mountain House takes about 2 hours. Take the NY Thruway (I-87 North) to Exit 18, New Paltz. After leaving the NYS Thruway at Exit 18, turn left at the traffic light onto Route 299/Main Street. Follow Main Street through New Paltz. Immediately after crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River, turn right (follow “MOHONK” sign). After 1/4 mile bear left at the fork and follow Mountain Rest Road and Mohonk signs to the Gatehouse. (NOTE: The Mohonk Gatehouse is located about six miles west of the Thruway Exit.)
By Train: Take Amtrak or Metro North to the Poughkeepsie Train Station. Mohonk Mountain House has a transfer service that costs $54 + tax one-way for 1-3 passengers. Call 845-256-2016 to reserve your transfer.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, Ny
– Mikaela Walker
All Photos courtesy of Jim Smith Photography