Eight Chic Catskills Design Hotels to Visit Year Round
From a restored schoolhouse to a revamped motel, these boutique inns are bringing high-minded design to the classic New York weekend escape.
Gone are the days of the Dirty Dancing-esque mega resorts that used to dot the Catskills. Today's rustic getaways are simple and easygoing, but with a major eye for design. And even better, they're seriously affordable. Make the trip in the summer for a weekend of hiking and splashing in secret swimming holes or in winter for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and plenty of time by the fire. No matter the season, these are the eight eye-catching escapes you'll want to know.
Table on Ten
Located in the 213-person town of Bloomville, NY, Table on Ten is the restaurant-slash-guesthouse brainchild of Inez Valk. "We took over the building as a sweet but intimidating edifice on Main Street," explains Valk. "It houses a butcher's shop in the basement and has been a home, but most interestingly it had once been a boarding house for workers on the local railroad. So, in a sense our idea to combine food and hospitality there was already woven into the building's history." Today, she runs a 65-seat restaurant featuring ultra local and seasonal dishes downstairs and offers three guest rooms above. The aesthetic? Reclaimed barn chic. "There was an awful lot to do and a very modest budget with which to do it," recalls Valk. So, she scoured friends' barns for salvageable furniture and ended up making many of the pieces by hand. "We used what was on hand," says Valk. "Which echoes the general ethos of Table on Ten. Why go far afield when you have great stuff right under your nose?" From $115 per night.
Housed in a renovated 1850s farmhouse in Narrowsburg, the Nest Inn sits mere steps from the banks of the Delaware River. Designed by art director-turned-shop owner Anna Bern, the two-room inn is a happy panoply of unique design items, both vintage and new. "People would tell me that they wanted to live in my store [which sits just around the corner from the hotel]," explains Bern, who travels the world to source her goods. And the rooms are a reflection of this global aesthetic. The look is vintage claw foot tubs, Moroccan rugs and mid-century chairs and tables, plus plenty of high-end linens and Pendleton blankets to keep it feeling cozy. Next year, Bern (who opened the inn in May 2015) plans to add a geodesic dome to the property to welcome retreat groups and offer yoga classes. From $150 per night.
Right outside the charmingly hippie town of Woodstock, you'll find the year-old Hotel Dylan. The renovated 1960s-style motel, bar, and grill, was designed by Robert and Cortney Novogratz (of Bravo and HGTV fame). The design duo chose to source furniture and design elements from contemporary favorites like West Elm and CB2 and mix their finds with vintage pieces from markets in local Ulster County. The result? A perfect marriage of modern and retro vibes. And as a nod to the town's music-filled past, each room has a personalized collection of vintage records. New this fall is the hotel's restaurant Santa Fe-Woodstock where you can find locally sourced Mexican dishes and the best margaritas in town. Rooms from $189.
The property that now houses the nine-room Spruceton Inn has a storied history. Settled as a Dutch farm in the mid 1800s, converted to a B&B in the 1940s, and built into a hotel in 1960 by Arnold Schwarzenegger's cousin Karl, it wasn't until Casey Scieszka and her husband Steven Weinberg bought it in December 2013 that it came into its current iteration. "We decided that we wanted to open the kind of place in the Catskills where we would go," says Brooklyn-native Scieszka. "Clean design, out in the middle of nature, with a bar full of good beer!" So they built just that. "I designed it with the guiding idea that people are visiting here to return to the simple pleasures in life," says Scieszka. "So we made the windows large and kept the décor purposefully muted and minimal." In the rooms you'll find tables and shelves made of wood salvaged from their barn and canvas drop cloths for bedding and drapes. On the walls? Vintage (and impressively still accurate) hunting and fishing maps of the area as well as watercolors by Scieszka's illustrator husband. Rooms from $99.
In a 100-year-old building (originally the town's general store and bank) in Sharon Springs, NY you'll find four-room (with a fifth slated to open in the spring) inn The Nash. Originally planning to only open a restaurant, co-owner Jim Grinchis and Norm Phenix decided to add an inn in 2013. "The hotel brings together a couple of my obsessions," says Grinchis. "Lighting and wall coverings." In the guest rooms you'll find light fixtures from Achille Castiglione, Phillipe Starck and Jasper Morrison as well as custom designed pieces from local friends. And as a nod to the Nash's rural setting, Grinchis has hung bold, graphic quilts by Louise Grey on the walls and even covered the walls of a bathroom in faux cowhide. "I even took a log from a lumberjack's wood pile—yes we have real lumberjacks up here!—to use as a side table," says Grinchis. Single rooms from $225.
Opened in May 2014 by husband and wife team Sims Foster and Kirsten Harlow Foster, the Arnold House is housed in a renovated 100-year old boarding house in Livingston Manor, NY. Rooms are clean and simple but cozy (think Sferra towels and Malin + Goetz bath products), with most of the attention given to the communal spaces. The sunroom features a 1970s orange Malm fireplace, mid-century style reading chairs and a Gus Modern flannel couch with plenty of Pendleton blankets for curling up by the fire. Meanwhile, the Tavern has tables and bar stools original to the building's 1960 renovation, an open-faced wood stove and an oil portrait of Sims Foster's grandmother Bobbie Foster, in a nod to the family's history in the Catskills area. In the summer, their on-site barn plays host to live music events and weddings as well. Rooms from $169.
The North Branch Inn
Opened in October 2015 by the husband and wife duo behind nearby Arnold House, the North Branch Inn, currently offers five rooms in a main house. The design of North Branch is all about celebrating New York history. In the main house, you'll find a two-lane wood bowling alley from the early 1900s, a movie theater with seats from Radio City Music Hall, a bar in the restaurant from the 1939 World's Fair and a birdcage piano in the bar so rare that only one person in the area knows how to tune it. Come spring 2016, they plan to open an additional four suites in a building across the street as well as three uniquely designed rooms and a cafe in a historic, Victorian-style post office next door. Rooms from $199 per night.
In a historic building that served as a one-room school from 1893 until 1949, the renovated Hillside Schoolhouse now serves as a two-room inn in Barryville, NY. In addition to his role as hotelier, owner Bronson Bigelow builds and restores furniture, using the schoolhouse as a showroom for his work (which is available for sale to guests and on their website). "As a result, the décor tends to change periodically as pieces are sold," explains Bigelow. The two rooms feature unique elements including the restored and glass-encased schoolhouse cast iron bell in the "Belfry" room. Meanwhile, the common area houses a large dining table and tufted leather sofas where you can settle in with a cocktail and a board game from the hotel's impressive collection. Rooms from $225 per night.