Arrival/Check-in: After driving from Pennsylvania, we arrived in New Paltz and followed our GPS through winding roads and hills to the entrance of the resort. Security checked us in at the gate, and we drove for another two miles to the sprawling old hotel complex, which looks more like the castle in Harry Potter than a hotel. A staff of pleasant bellmen greeted us as I pulled the car up under the porte cochere and took our bevy of luggage. We were directed to the front desk and were immediately taken with the Dirty Dancing-like theme of the surroundings. Our luggage was delivered promptly to our rooms. (28/30)
Guest Quarters: We were a party of four, and our two rooms were nearly identical, both recently refurbished in keeping with the property’s 140-year history of continuous operation by the same Quaker family. Our room had a king-sized bed and a large bathroom decorated with small hexagonal tiles (very popular at the turn of the 20th century), a tub/shower and a pedestal sink. Our Victorian Room boasted all the dark oak splendor of the era and a lovely fireplace that we used whenever we were in the room, as it was late fall. The décor takes visitors back to a simpler time when guests spent little time in their room unless they wanted to read by the fire — there are no televisions. (25/30)
Services/Amenities: Mohonk is all about the buildings, the lake, the trails and the food. The meals are spectacular, and I was impressed by the service at breakfast and lunch and the top-notch cuisine at dinner. Only in the past 10 years did the hotel even have a bar, as this was a Quaker establishment and people were meant to get out and rejuvenate. The bar is there now, tucked away — and frankly, a place where I hadn’t the slightest interest in staying. At dinner, guests can order any cocktail they wish and there is a full wine list, something that would make Mohonk’s forefathers cringe.
You have to get out and hike here; magnificent trails start right out the front door. The Lemon Squeeze is a trail around the top of Lake Mohonk that turns and climbs through crevices and ladders to a shelf and then on to your destination — a stone tower built by the original owner, Alfred Smiley.
One of the most enjoyable attractions was the barn, with the most impressive collection of Americana I have seen in a very long time, including carriages and sleighs that have been used at the Mohonk House over the past century and a half. Unlike most museums, here you can get close to the artifacts.
There’s more to do — this is not a place to hang out in your room but one to hang from rocks and enjoy the splendor of the outdoors. Activities range from horseback riding to boating and fishing, and sports change with the season. Unfortunately, I did not plan properly and could not experience the award-winning spa. (39/40)
The Experience: Fun for anyone and at any level of activity, this Old-World destination is well worth a visit.
Total Score: 92/100
Mohonk MounTain house
1000 Mountain Rest Road New Paltz, NY 12561 tel 845 255 1000 www.mohonk.com
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