The Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley have long been New Yorkers’ remedy to city living. The fresh mountain air and boundless nature are diametrical to the city’s congested streets and frenetic lifestyle. Just two and a half hours north of Manhattan, the Catskills and its environs have seen many iterations over the years, from an early Dutch settlement to a prominent vacation spot for Jewish families. Today, the region is in the throes of a hospitality revival.
Charming new hotels, from quaint B&Bs to hip lodges, are opening up in the mountains and down in the towns along the Hudson River. And autumn, right now, is the best time to visit. It’s fall foliage galore. Breathtaking bursts of wine-red, marigold-yellow and burnt-orange leaves dapple the rolling forests, from mountain peaks to the valleys below. If you’re considering the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley for your autumn getaway, consider staying or stopping by the five hotels below — these are some of the destination’s best for fall foliage viewing.
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge — Hunter, NY
Scribner’s Catskills Lodge is the latest take on a parcel of land that has seen its fair share of hospitality establishments, including a grand resort in the late 1800s and a motor lodge in the 1960s. Situated a stone’s throw away from Hunter Mountain, the area’s preeminent skiing site, Scribner’s offers a cozy, alpine vibe. Dark-stained wood floors and white walls pair with expansive windows and lofty ceilings to accentuate the surrounding aerial views and natural light in each room.
Eat and drink at Prospect, the hotel’s apres-ski restaurant that serves up a 270-degree panorama of the Catskill Mountains. The farm-to-table menu sources many ingredients from nearby Hudson Valley purveyors. Marvel at the multi-hued timbers outside while noshing on the Prospect Burger topped with local cheddar and truffle aioli, or opt for something on the lighter side like produce from the Scribner’s on-site garden. Its location makes it a superb year-round escape — skiing in the winter, fly-fishing in the spring, adventures in the summertime and of course, leaf-peeping in autumn.
One-night stays start at $225
Piaule Catskill — Catskill, NY
Piaule Catskill is a new modernist landscape hotel and spa by the founders of Piaule Homeware. The hotel’s 24 guest cabins immerse sojourners in the beauty of the surrounding mountains. The magical combination of floor-to-ceiling windows, untreated white oak walls, and minimalist Scandinavian furnishings conceive the perfect environment for proper forest bathing.
Only five of Piaule’s 50 acres are developed, so there is plenty of outdoor activities to be had at and around the property: hiking, fly fishing, kayaking, climbing, and more. If the Catksills’ fall weather isn’t in your favor — rainy days and low-hanging clouds aren’t uncommon in the mountains — take a dip in the hotel spa’s forest-facing plunge pool and watch leaves drift lazily off the towering oaks and maples.
One-night stays start at $499
The Maker — Hudson, NY
Descend a few thousand feet in elevation and you’ll find yourself in Hudson, a small artsy town plopped along the eponymous Hudson River, 120 miles north of New York City. Hudson’s proximity to myriad hiking trails makes it an optimal fall getaway. The Maker is a lavish new hotel in the heart of Hudson, the crème de la crème of the valley’s new swath of stays. The boutique property is spread across four historic buildings on the corner of downtown Hudson’s Warren and 3rd Streets — a Georgian manor, a Greek revival building, a carriage house and most recently, a gymnasium.
There is no detail left unnoticed at The Maker, and every trimming and tchotchke has a story to tell. The main building’s original doors are now wall panels in the Moulin Rouge!-inspired gym. The library books have been curated by New York’s popular Strand Book Store. The lights in the converted carriage house were originally 1970s Parisian street lamps. If hiking isn’t your style, wander the quaint leaf-strewn streets of Hudson, with plenty of shopping and eating options.
One-night stays start at $350
Hutton Brickyards — Kingston, NY
Hutton Brickyards is a waterside luxury retreat in Kingston, NY, built on the grounds of the Hudson Valley’s longest-running brick plant. What sets the hotel apart is its spectacular river vistas and many remaining foundry artifacts, including a rusted-out crane and old kiln sheds. The 73-acre campus contains restaurants, event spaces, spa areas, walking trails, and luxury accommodations. The 31 standalone cabins, many made from raw pine, are situated among copses of trees, putting guests at the heart of fall foliage. Each cabin comes with an outdoor area — if you’re enjoying the porch too much to leave, hoist your room’s “thirsty” flag and a hotel attendant will come by with a bar cart for your perusal.
Dine en plein air at the River Pavilion, Hutton Brickyards’ wall-less restaurant overlooking the Hudson River. Replete with heaters and fireplaces, the River Pavilion’s outdoor-dining-only nature is especially appealing during COVID. There’s no shortage of outdoor fun to be had at Hutton Brickyards. To name a few options: archery lessons, falconry demonstrations and bird watching, croquet matches, outdoor yoga, and kayaking up nearby Roundot Creek.
Hutton Brickyard’s east-facing lawn is spectacular for enjoying the Hudson River scenes. Snuggle up in an Adirondack around a crackling campfire and watch as the sunset illumines the stunning fall foliage across the river.
One-night stays start at $175
Urban Cowboy Lodge — Big Indian, NY
As its name suggests, Urban Cowboy Lodge is Brooklyn’s take on the Catskills — its sister property, the first Urban Cowboy location, is in Williamsburg.
Whereas some hotels in the Catskills are modern reimaginings of bungalow colonies or boutique town dwellings, Urban Cowboy is a full-on hunting lodge experience (minus the actual hunting). The hotel’s lumberjack chic style is all-encompassing, and that’s what it makes it so charming: Rustic-patterned Pendleton blankets on beds, lacquered wood furniture and antler motifs aplenty. The objective: fully disconnect from your outside life and immerse in the beauty of the world around you. With cellphone service in scarce supply, that’s not hard to do at Urban Cowboy.
The lodge is surrounded by a large protected wilderness area, so hiking opportunities abound. Check out Phoenicia Diner, just a few minutes outside of the hotel gates, for a hearty Americana meal after a day of exploring. Menu highlights include a too-big-to-fit-in-your-mouth spicy chicken sandwich, heaping stacks of pancakes topped with fresh fruit and local Hudson maple syrup, and a steaming skillet of scrambled eggs and local smoked trout.
Cozy up on your suite’s leather couch next to a popping fire with a glass of bourbon, or soak in a copper clawfoot bathtub overlooking the forest ablaze in color. Your mind, body and Instagram feed will thank you.
Three-night stays start at $922
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