Photo: Wylder Windham

Embrace the Catskills at This Charming Hotel Just 2.5 Hours From NYC

Epic Stays
by Robin Thomas May 14, 2024

There’s no doubt that New York City is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, attracting millions of excited visitors each year. However, those who live in the city are always on the lookout for a convenient place to get away. Wylder Windham offers just that. Located in Windham, New York, the hotel sits on 20 acres of land, is surrounded by the beautiful Catskill Mountains, and has the calming Batavia Kill waterway running through it.

Needing some fresh air and a little peace and quiet, I took a weekend trip to Wylder Windham. The surrounding town has a warm and welcoming feel like the hometown in a holiday movie. The property itself, formerly the Thompson House Resort, was family-owned and -operated since 1880 before undergoing a massive renovation in 2021 to elevate the look while maintaining its original charm. Entering the Main Lodge for check-in, I was immediately greeted by warm smiles and fresh lemonade. The check-in area felt less like a hotel lobby and more like a charming cabin, with wooden decor and an active fireplace completing the rustic aesthetic.

During my stay, I was able to explore nature across the sprawling property, take part in a cocktail-making class, and enjoy delicious fare. From its cozy accommodations to its array of outdoor activities, Wylder Windham provides an unforgettable retreat for guests of all ages — better yet, the hotel is dog-friendly, meaning you can grab the whole family (furry friends included) and spend a wonderful weekend unwinding.

An array of cozy lodging that’ll make you feel at home


Photo: Wylder Windham + Michael Carnevale

Wylder Windham’s layout makes for a close and communal experience. Many of the buildings and amenities are within a short walking distance of one another. As the accommodations go, guests can choose from seven different lodges: The Main Lodge (13 rooms), The Tamarack Lodge (16 rooms), The Manor Inn (14 rooms), The Spruce Cottage (14 rooms), The Pines Inn (28), The Evergreen Lodge (25 rooms), and The Farmhouse (one residence, four bedrooms). The hotel has an assortment of guest rooms and suites, with king or queen beds, mountain or river views, and some with seating areas or private balconies. If you’re traveling with a group, The Farmhouse is the perfect choice to host everyone under one roof.

I stayed in The Evergreen Lodge in a sprawling room with a king-size bed, sofa, marbled bathroom, armchairs, and an outdoor patio with breathtaking views of the Windham Country Club and Windham Mountain. I’ve never stayed in a hotel room so large, with enough space to literally cartwheel from door to window. The decor was rustic while the bathroom had an elevated feel, complete with marble and silver accents. There were two large wardrobes in the front of the room with more than enough space for my things, as well as a safe, an iron, and some robes to make my stay extra comfortable. One of my favorite features of my room was the deck — the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee or get lost in a good book, with only the sound of nature to keep you company.

Year-round amenities for everyone’s enjoyment


Photo: Wylder Windham

One thing that hasn’t changed with Wylder’s recent upgrade is its welcoming atmosphere. Situated on 20 acres of land, the hotel provides a range of activities and experiences for all ages. The Main Lodge features a large rec room with vintage arcade games, shuffleboard, pool tables, and paddle ball — playing Pacman there brought me back to my childhood days.

Off to the side of the Main Lodge, there’s a large heated pool that maintains a comfortable temperature year round. If you’re looking to decompress and relax, there are wood-fired saunas throughout the property. Other offerings include e-bikes, cornhole, hammocks, pickleball, bocce, and tree swings. During a morning walk one day, I spent some quiet time reading a book on a hammock overlooking the Batavia Kill. In the evening, the fire pits were a popular spot for guests to hang out and unwind from their days of adventure.

There are also opportunities to step off of the property to explore more of the neighborhood and surroundings. You can play a few rounds of golf at the Windham Country Club or take a hike on the nearby Windham path. There’s also a shuttle — in a cool vintage Land Rover — that can take guests to the Windham Ski Mountain for a day on the slopes.

Classes, activities, and events that enhance the experience


Photo: Wylder Windham

In addition to its year-round amenities, Wylder Windham has a weekly calendar of events and happenings that guests can join. Some of the activities include morning yoga, foraging walks, pickleball clinics, and live music shows.

One Saturday, I attended a cocktail-making class at the on-site restaurant, Babblers, before trying my hand at hatchet throwing. The Hester Street Fair from New York City also had a popup event during my stay, with an array of booths selling goods and delicious food. What I enjoyed most was how welcoming these activities were for both groups and solo travelers. Although I was participating alone, I was able to engage with other guests during all of the activities. And for children, there was a balloon artist making different balloon animals and figures for the kids.

At night, you don’t want to miss one of the fireside s’mores bars that the hotel hosts on the weekend. Other happenings I glimpsed on the monthly calendar included a movie night, cookie-decorating class, and paint-and-sip activity. In the spirit of community, many of the events are also open to local residents for a small fee.

Comfort food and freshly baked goods


Photo: Wylder Windham

Wylder Windham’s on-site restaurant, Babblers, has an indoor dining room with a full bar, as well as an outdoor patio with beautiful views. The restaurant is open year-round for brunch, lunch, and dinner — it’s a favorite for both guests of the hotel and Windham locals.

For dinner at Babblers, I had the steak frites with twice-fried house-cut fries, which were crispy and delicious. Other menu items when I visited included beef stew, butternut squash risotto, bolognese, and wild Alaskan salmon. Connected to the restaurant is Babblers Bakery, which serves fresh baked goods, craft coffee, sandwiches, and ice cream. My mornings started with a ham and cheese croissant and cup of hot tea on the bakery’s outdoor deck, and they ended with a slice of the popular strawberry rhubarb pie.

If you’re interested in dining off the property, there are also a variety of local eateries near the hotel, such as Millrock, Prominence, and The Windham Local. I ate one of my favorite meals during the trip at Millrock — a memorable chicken parmesan and guavarita cocktail.

How to get to Wylder Windham


Photo: Wylder Windham

One of the best parts about Wylder Windham is its proximity to the greater New York City area. If you’re planning to drive from the city, it’s a scenic trip that you can do in under three hours.

As a non-driver, I appreciated that getting to Wylder without a car was also possible. I took a two-hour Amtrak train ride from Penn Station in New York City to the Hudson station. I enjoyed being able to sit back and relax while taking in the scenery as I was whisked away to my getaway. From the Hudson station, you’ll need to take a taxi to the property — I saw plenty stationed outside on a Friday afternoon. But if you want to secure your ride ahead of time, Dawn 2 Dusk is a locally owned car service that can also provide transportation.

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