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“One of my faves” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mohonk Mountain House

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Mohonk Mountain House
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in New Paltz
Certificate of Excellence
Rhode Island
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“One of my faves”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2006

My husband and I have been going to Mohonk for years. Sometimes, we've purchased the day passes and hiked there, other times, we've made reservations for lunch or dinner, and a few times we've had the pleasure of being overnight guests at the Mountain House.

It is pricey, no doubt, but, for a sweet, romantic weekend getaway, it is so worth the money.

The setting is astonishing. Everywhere you look there is a stunning view of the mountains, or the lake, or the gardens. I can't imagine there is even one room in this entire place that doesn't have an awesome view of something.

Considering that the food is DELISH and is all included in the price, the cost really isn't that prohibitive. Breakfast is a buffet with selections of omelets, danishes, pancakes, waffles, french toast, fresh fruit, muffins, bagels, cereals, etc.

For lunch, you have your choice of either eating indoors or an outdoor barbeque (weather permitting.) My husband and I always enjoy the barbeque, where you can get yummy hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans, salads, and indulgent, decadent desserts. The picnic area overlooks the beautiful lake, and the fresh air is always good for stimulating the appetite.

You do need to dress for dinner, and men are required to wear jackets, but the first time we went there they actually found my husband a jacket to wear. The last time we went for supper, we had a choice of either a sit-down meal from the menu, or a buffet, and of course we chose the buffet. And the dessert bar is simply sinful, loaded with all manner of cakes, pies, even chocolate fountains to dip your fruit in.

What we enjoy the most is the hiking, particularly a trail called "The Labyrinth," which involves scrambling over and under boulders and ends, ultimately with a climb up a narrow crevice to an incredible view above. On the way down, there are these sweet little gazebos where you can have a rest and enjoy sweeping views of the gardens below. We like to stop at the lilly pond and listen to the frogs singing to each other.

We love the fact that we can get all dirty and disgusting from hiking in the woods, then go back to our room, have a shower and dress for an elegant dinner.

Mohonk offers the best of worlds for every age, activity level and taste. In one day you can engage all of your senses; have a relaxing spa treatment, take a romantic stroll or a strenous hike, go ice skating, horseback riding, watch a movie out on the lawn, or sway to the sounds of big band music under the moonlight.

I can't say enough great things about this place. If you have the money and are looking for a perfect wedding/honeymoon location, under the philosophy of "you only live once," I would say, "go for it."

  • Liked — The location, the activities
  • Disliked — Rooms could use a little updating
  • Tips/Secrets — Just go there!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Qzee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2006

I'm still angry about a visit a few years ago (apologize for the late review). My wife and I had enjoyed several visits there, but on the last I had chest pain for a few days. I visited the resort's doctor at 8:00 p.m. one evening, and the doctor decided that we had to leave immediately! Within the hour! P.S.--the chest pain turned out to be a pulled muscle, not a cardiac problem as the doctor thought.

Stayed August 2004
Helpful?
8 Thank Blondguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phila,
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2006

We typically stay in 5 star hotels like the Ritz/Carlton, but this summer my entire family decided to have a family reunion at the historic Mohunk Mountain House. This 1900's castle-like hotel was able to balence history and modern conveniences like a georgeous new indoor pool and spa facility. My husband was very apprehensive but after one day there he absolutely loved it. The spring-fed lake was chrystal clear and had huge trout that you can see swimming around in it. (Too bad we only caught sun fish!)
We took our two boys to the beach every day. The beach was small but it didn't matter because they had several docks and lots of chairs. And we were in the lake the whole time. There is a rolling log for the courageous to attempt to balance on before slipping off into the water.
We only had a little time to hike some of the trails and we HIGHLY recommend the "rock scramble" for those who are athletic. (although we got our 6 year old to join us too)
Place is expensive, but the food is EXCELLENT and we have memories forever! We can't wait to go again!

Helpful?
2 Thank pjj2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
long island, new york
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2006

Spent two days at the mohonk mountain house with my wife and kids. It really is a remarkable place, and we really enjoyed it, but we did have a few complaints. First off, it is outrageously expensive. For me, my wife, and two children, in a basic room, meals included, cost $800 per night (room was $650, but they add tax and gratuity). It is a magnificent place, old, and very charming, but the rooms could definitely use some sprucing up, and the beds are absolutely awful. They are too small and uncomfortable. It was a complaint that I heard from many of the guests.
Other than that, we had a great time. The food and service could not have been better. There are plenty of activities for everyone, and it is very safe, so you can let your kids run free. They have a beautiful spa if you want to get some treatments. It was a very unique experience for our kids as well. We went rock climbing (the lemon squeeze was really cool), fishing, canoeing, swimming in the lake, hiking, horseback riding (which was extra, another thing I felt was a little petty, considering the price), and basically relaxed. It was a really different experience, very relaxing,and a great time was had by all. Just be prepared when the bill comes !

  • Liked — scenery and service
  • Disliked — the beds
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
31 Thank bigharp9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2006

We just came back from our vacation at Mohonk. I have to agree with what others are saying - it is magnificent. A truly beautiful place where you can relax and have a great time.

My only complaint is that they try to get every nickel and dime out of you. On our first night there, I wanted to get a cup of tea. I went to the lobby (it was about 11pm) and asked them where I could get it and they said that I could buy it at the gift shop.

They charged me 85 cents for a small cup of tea. Come on now...I paid $700 a night. For that kind of money, I should be able to get a complimentary cup of tea.

Little things like that are really annoying. Other than that, its great.

P.S. Also, the bed was really uncomfortable.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
23 Thank lkis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2006

The names stand out as stars in Victorian sky; great elephantine resorts built as Victorian monuments to the transcendentalist aesthetic: Mount Washington, Algonquin, Greenbrier, Yellowstone. As June began the summer, trains full of families would deliver their guests to the station where waiting carriages would ferry them up to these cool mountain or seaside retreats for the entire summer. We have spas, they had leisure.

After the second world war, as air conditioning made city summers at least somewhat livable, and the pace of the world accelerated, these great palaces began to fade. Some burned, others fell into disrepair, but all were on life support. The nuclear age had no need for such places where nature was the principle entertainment, where tea-time conversation in luxurious public parlors was substituted for television, and where music, dances, and lectures comprised evening activities. The world moved too quickly, and these quaint relics faded into obscurity with bustles and hand fans and croquet.

Yet a few of these places survived, most now subsidiaries of giant corporations or governments more used to stamping out quarterly reports than understanding they are stewards of a bygone age. A scant handful remained as they were founded. Now, only one remains:

Mohonk.

In the posession of the Smiley family since they bought it as a small tavern in 1869, Mohonk is still very much what it was back in 1869. As Quakers, the Smileys didn’t permit alcohol, cards, dancing, or swimming on Sundays, but that was ok by most of the guests. Indeed so many guests loved the pastoral atmosphere that Mohonk underwent nearly continuous building and expansion up until 1910, when the present structure was largely finished.... and what a finish! Artisans were brought in from all over the United States to build and hand-craft the woodwork, much of it in now nearly extinct but lusterous American Chestnut. The guestrooms in the stone wing all have fireplaces and individual porches, many of the bathrooms still have gargantuan claw-foot tubs, transoms vent the rooms and large windows bring in the cool air off the lake. The result is a quarter-mile long, rambling affair built by 2 different architectural firms and all of it is as done in the Victorian grand style.

Around the hotel span acres of prize gardens dotted with summerhouse gazebos, 80+ miles of hiking, walking, riding, and rock climbing paths, an 18 acre lake that still has fish (rare in the acid-rain soaked upstate New York), and all surrounded by over 8,000 acres of wilderness. It is, in short, a spectacular setting, and still, after all the years, Mohonk’s greatest asset among many.

All the other grand resort hotels had pretty much the same thing, so why did Mohonk survive? Why this place? I’d love to say it’s a complex mix, but it isn’t. It’s the management and the guests. I have never experienced anything like it. I’ve heard stories about some places in the Catskills like it, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine for anyone who doesn’t understand Mohonk. It’s the key to whether you will love Mohonk or feel ripped-off:

Community.

Mohonk is a community. Some places have long-time customers, but few can claim five or more generations of guests who come nearly every year (yes, my family among them), and even a few pensioners who still spend entire summers as they did when they were children. At Mohonk, the past and the present blend in an intoxicating experience of rustication without the inconveniences of camping. The Smiley’s have an unusual love of their national landmark and even more of a love for the delicate ecosystem within which it resides. “New” at Mohonk means air conditioning (2005), and a bar (2006). There are still no televisions in the guest rooms ( there are public rooms with televisions that nobody watches), but the guests of today will be glad to know women are now alllowed to bathe at the beach, dances are held in the lounge, and card playing need no longer be confined to one’s room. The latest newfangled arrival is wireless internet. Yaay! But none of that makes Mohonk what it is without the people. The employees love working there even if they don’t always love their jobs. How do I know this? Because long-time guests of Mohonk care about Mohonk and the Smileys are perceptive and gracious enough to know and appreciate this. And that is the magic. Mohonk is a happy place. People say, “hello” to each other, easy conversation between guests and employees is frequent, you get to know the people and they get to know you. It’s definitely Old Republic America, not the deferential, quiet, subservient, but efficient service one finds in most better city hotels. It was the guests that pushed to get air conditioning in the kitchen during the hottest summer Mohonk ever had. Guests didn’t ask for air conditioning in the dining room, though Mohonk did it anyway, they were more worried about the staff. Guests frequently donate funding for items found all over Mohonk. In plenty of places in the house and the grounds you’ll see little plaques given by families in the names of their departed who loved Mohonk. The Smileys aren’t absentee landlords either, they actively work to make Mohonk work. They ensure management isn’t tyranical, and that everyone, guest and staff alike, are well-treated. Arriving at Mohonk with an attitude of entitlement and superiority will virtually insure you won’t like it. You won’t be treated as well as other guests and you may get the impression that you aren’t welcome back. If the idea of dressing for dinner isn’t your idea of a vacation then Mohonk won’t make you happy.

Nothing stays the same and while Mohonk retains traditions it also explores new ones. Along with old croquet, there’s tennis, horseback riding, raquetball, soccer, ice skating, boating, swimming (at the beach and in the new indoor pool with (ahem) underwater speakers), golf, fishing, and every variation of mountain sport from outstanding cross-country skiing trails, to caving (if you know who and how). Who misses the TV? Kids are entertained with daily activities divided by age group and there are still theme weeks consisting of expert-led lectures and adult pursuits. One of my fondest memories of Mohonk was several weeks spent under the stars with a host of astronomers and planetarium directors, including Fred Hess, Isaac Asimov, and Joe Rao watching the Perseid meteor shower and filling my head with the more prosaic delights of amateur astronomy. The newest star at Mohonk is the spa and it’s magnificent. Done in the Adirondack style, the new spa wing has been discreetly added on to what we affectionately called, “The Rickety Wing,” which was the oldest part of the mountain house and still my favorite, if not the most fancy. Alas, rennovations have not only rid it of its rickety-ness, but downright comfortable with all rooms now having private baths (they didn’t used to!). The spa is, I have to say, a blast. The staff are great and the Mohonk Red massage is the stuff of legend. Every spa reviewer has loved this latest addition from its aromatherapy steam room and mineral baths to the overstuffed leather wing chairs in the men’s dressing lounge. It’s a heady experience and not as outrageously expensive as some spas with more pretense and less service or atmosphere.

I see many posts here from people shocked at the prices. Yeah, it’s not cheap, I can’t even say it’s reasonable. Mohonk is expensive but it is so because there is so much of it. Comparisons with city hotels are unfair. The Carlysle doesn’t have 8,000 acres to oversee nor an army of groundskeepers or a quarter-mile long antique building to maintain nor are your meals included. Mohonk’s food is up and down. It’s far better than it used to be and, on occasion, is fantastic, but more often it’s merely as good as what you’d find in your average better restaurant. Breakfasts are the execption with fresh waffles, omelettes, and pancakes made-to-order. It’s a great start for a busy day of activities or a lazy day of gentle walking, reading, and just idling at the views.

Mohonk is like a club without being a club. If you appreciate what Mohonk is and what it offers, you’ll be most welcome whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth. While the atmosphere lends itself to genteel leisure, times are more casual and so are the guests. If you enjoy being outdoors or if you enjoy simple retired leisure spent in conversation and reading, you will love Mohonk and while it’s definitely family-centric, it makes for a marvelously cozy and serene couples’ getaway, particularly in autumn and winter. Though the hotel must walk a thin line between the needs of 21st century guests and retaining it’s Barbizon atmosphere, it has succeeded and done so with aplomb under the direction of its original owners. Mohonk will either be your idea of the ideal retreat away from the world where bad things can't happen or it will be a musty antique with the nerve to charge a modest fortune for the privilege of boring you witless.

  • Liked — It's home away from home.
  • Disliked — I had to leave.
  • Tips/Secrets — Avoid the Grove building in summer and try to get a room on a high floor for best views and airflow.
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
29 Thank Jason_Els
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level Contributor
110 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2006

This property is a unique experience. You need to be in the right frame of mind to fully enjoy what it has to offer. Don't expect the ritz or four seasons. Step back in time. Forget your Blacberry, notebook computer, cell phone, and tv and relax. Bring your family or close group of friends and get out to enjoy some quality time in the mountains. If you want posh hotel rooms with modern luxurious amenities like jaccuzzi tubs, this is not the place. The rooms are suitable and comfortable but the focus is on the outdoors - don't bring your armani suit, jewels or gucci handbag here. This is rustic elegance at it's best. Khaki shorts and a nice hiking shirt and you'll fit right in. Bring your camera. Mohonk goes to great lengths to perpetuate an old fashioned, wholesome, outdoors escape for those of us who crave to be close to nature and unencumbered by technology. You'll see snakes, turtles, fish, birds... and more. It's expensive but that covers the cost of three meals a day - all you can eat - buffet style. There is no lack of healthful options for those of us who want to watch our waistlines. But there are also steaks and desserts... pannacotta, mousse, lemon tarts, chocolate decadence buttons, the list is far too tempting. There seems to be a great appreciation for the visual and a real care for historic preservation at this establishment. If you want modern - the latest and greatest - go elsewhere. The charm is in the history, the generations that return to visit, the beauty of the scenic views, the fresh air, and the lack of plastic and noise that accompany so many other places. This is turn of the century charm at it's best. Peace. Quiet. Solitude if you want it. Or an chance to catch up and make plans for the next day with family and friends at tea on the porch. Our visit was too short. We are planning our next trip already.

  • Liked — porch with rocking chairs
  • Disliked — only two pillows on bed (prefer four)
  • Tips/Secrets — checkout before noon or you'll wait in line
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
19 Thank GranolaGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mohonk Mountain House

Property: Mohonk Mountain House
Address: 1000 Mountain Rest Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561-2814
Location: United States > New York > New Paltz
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in New Paltz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Mohonk Mountain House 3*
Number of rooms: 265
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A hotel, built in the 1860's and filled with charm...ideal for families in summer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mohonk House
Mohonk Mountain Hotel
Mohonk New Paltz
Mohawk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz Ny
Mohonk Mountain New Paltz
Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz New York
New Paltz Mohonk Mountain House Resort
Mohonk Hotel New York

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