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“Great Natural Beauty, But Expensive”

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Mohonk Mountain House
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in New Paltz
Certificate of Excellence
Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
264 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Great Natural Beauty, But Expensive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 December 2011

I have previously reviewed Mohonk after a stay last Christmas. I will provide another more detailed review and also try and address some of the concerns from fellow contributors.

We have stayed at Mohonk over 15 times over the years -- this time over Thanksgiving, 2011.

Many of the negative comments concern the price/value. It seems that some people expect that they will be staying at a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton given the price. Not the case. Many parts of the hotel still date to the 1800's, although many renovations have occurred over the years. And yes, the walls are thin, and you can often hear people next door. The price also DOES NOT include 8% sales tax, 0.8% county room tax, and 12% gratuity (automatically added on and split up among the employees). So, if you are quoted $500 for a room, it will actually cost you about 20% more, or $600 per night. The price includes all meals and most activities at the resort -- hiking, swimming, golf on a 9 hole course on weekdays, fishing in the lake, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating, rock climbing, mountain biking (on your own bike, or you can rent one there), canoes, paddleboats, etc. Evening entertainment varies from movies to ecological talks to singing performances, etc.(not Broadway entertainment !) Carraige rides and horseback rides are available for an extra charge. They also built a nice spa a few years ago, with a variety of services (extra charge), plus a free fitness center (not bad).

The rooms also don't have TV's in them (there are a couple TV rooms downstairs for the
sports fans). It also gets crowded with families on holiday weekends and summer, so don't go then if you expect a romantic stay with your significant other. On the other hand, during the week, it is often much less crowded (except summer), with few children, and sometimes lower price mid-week packages are offered.

So, why go? Well, this is a very peaceful and beautiful place. Try the signature hikes -- Eagles Cliff (1.7 miles roundtrip) and Skytop (about 1.2 miles by the suggested route). The views are simply spectacular, and are what keep us coming back. From Eagle Cliff you see the Shawangunk and Mohonk Mountains, as well as terrific views down the lake to the hotel. From Skytop, you can see parts of six states on a clear day (look for the High Point monument in New Jersey!), as well as all the mountain views to the east, south, north, and west. for people in good shape, there are something like 30 miles of trails and carraige roads on the property, plus guests have access to the trails and carraige roads of the adjoining Mohonk Preserve (take your hotel registration card to show a ranger if stopped). We have hiked all the the trials, and you can easily put together a 5-10 mile route.A naturalist at the hotel offers a couple guided hikes a day, as well - many of which are very informative about animals and plants in the area. You will see lots of deer -- many up close, as they aren't too afraid of people. We have also seen turkeys, porcupines, pileated woodpeckers, owls, and many other birds, small mammals and reptiles. The gardens are also quite beautiful in season, and there is even a small maze which kids love. A tip -- go about the 3rd week in June, when the mountain laurel are blooming everywhere (we also frequently see wild pink lady slippers and jack in the pulpits then).

Another tip -- for those who can't walk far, take Copes Lookout Road -- about 1/2 mile mostly flat walk to a very nice viewpoint below Eagle Cliff

Lake Mohonk is one of the 5 "sky lakes" in the Shawangunk Mountains formed by retreating glaciers, and is the only one which has fish (the others are too acidic). For an interesting afternoon, leave Mohonk and drive about 15 miles to Minnewaska State Park, on one of the other sky lakes, with lots of hiking trails also.

Relative to the food, they have buffets at both breakfast and lunch, and are usually quite good. Dinner is normally a more formal 4 course meal, with men requested to wear jackets. During Holidays and the summer, dinner also becomes a buffet, with resort casual attire -- although those who wish (couples!) can have the 4 course dinner in a separate "adult dining room". My wife and I are in our late 50's and don't mind the kids, so always eat the buffets when available. In the summer, you can also eat lunch or dinner at a picnic area (kids love this, also, and so do I). We have always found the food to range from good to excellent -- but, again, this is not a 5 star New York City hotel/restaurant. You also have very nice views of the Catskill Mountains from the dining room. The founding Smiley family were Quakers, and no alcohol was allowed for decades. But, you can now enjoy alcoholic beverages at dinner or in your room, or in a small bar on the ground floor (but not on the porches overlooking the lake).

As far as rooms go, many people try to book a lake view room, but the mountain view rooms are really better. The views are of the catskill mountains, and sunsets can be spectacular. We alway book mountain view now.

As a final comment, I have traveled the world extensively and stayed at a wide variety of properties. But, Mohonk remains my favorite spot. It is expensive, which keeps me from giving it a "5 " rating, but everytime I look out at the views from Skytop or Eagle Cliff, I decide again it is worth it.

Room Tip: As I said above, you for mountain view rooms with balconies.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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8 Thank Wtrav77
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
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New York
Level Contributor
31 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 December 2011

Mohonk is the kind of place where it's not unusual to hear the people sitting next to you in the dining room say they've been coming there for 26 years. It's a grand old place, very antique in style, and great for the vacation where you want to truly relax; there's just not much to do other than eat their excellent food (I generally gain five pounds during a stay), maybe row around the lake, possibly hike up the mountain, but mostly sit and breathe the clean mountain air.
The price may seem high, but remember three substantial (all you can eat buffets, or a more formal dinner in the child-free dining room) meals are served per day, plus cookies and tea at four. The price also includes access to paddleboats and their great indoor swimming pool.
The cost does not include a trip to their spa, but that is SO worth the splurge. My husband and I love the Red Rocks couples massage, which is given in a room with a small fireplace. That's so relaxing you may not be able to sit upright for dinner.
Possible downsides? The place is big and very family friendly--honeymooners who don't want a preview of children yet may find it slightly less than romantic, though it must be a great place to get married--the grounds are gorgeous. Also, the hotel is very old and the walls are thin; we've had to switch rooms a couple of times due to enthusiastic children in the next room.
As I said, if you're looking for pure relaxation on your vacation--you don't want to do anything but read, sit on your porch in a rocker, take a stroll on their lovely grounds, and eat--go. This could be the first of your annual visits.

Room Tip: You can't choose a room before you go there, but you can request a room facing the lake; go for...
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MallomarNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
28 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 November 2011

Mohonk seems like the magical place you take one special person and hide away from the world. From the moment that you turn the final bend in the road and see the "house" and drive under the portico for the staff to welcome you and whisk your car away to a hidden parking lot, you no longer have to worry about those earthly matters. The room I stayed in during a business conference was small, but clean, had its own small balcony porch (complete with rocking chairs) and a real wood buring fireplace! The magic is walking around the property, sitting on the porch and rocking, and remembering what it means to relax and have a conversation. The staff is friendly and helpful without being intrusive. I would not recommend this place to people who need TV, clubs or other like amusements.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank lmrart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 November 2011

Yes, MMH is expensive. Our suite cost more than $800 per night and was less than 450 sf - I guess that encourages you to spend less time indoors and more time doing activities. An automatic 12% gratuity is tagged onto the room. Having said that, the property is beautiful and the scenary is breathtaking. The trails are wonderful for that after-breakfast walk and the pool is great for pre-dinner swim. Weather was very mild this Thanksgiving weekend, so we were able to hike to Skytop with our 6 year old and do outdoorsy things like bike rides, carriage ride, and tennis. We don't golf, but I heard the golf course was not open.

The rooms are tiny. If you are travelling with a child, you would need a suite. We did not notice much noise because we had considerate neighbors who did not yell in the hallways. But I can see why there could be complaints about noise. The bathroom was newly refurbished, clean and large. Unfortunately, the maid service did not keep up and we always had a ring around the bath-tub that I had to clean myself. The maid also did not close the sofa bed in the morning, even though it took up the whole room when it was open, we had to do that ourselves. I also had to open the sofa bed myself at night as there was no turn-down service. The regular bed in the bedroom was very comfortable, but an adult would find the sofa bed difficult to sleep in. It's fine for kids. Our room did have a TV (after we were warned by many people that there would be no TV in the rooms), but if your room didn't come with one, a simple request is all it takes for them to bring you a nice flat-screen TV. I liked the free wi-fi, which worked very well.

The food was very good, considering how many meals they had to serve. We usually had sit-down dinners at the East dining room, and had good fish and awesome chicken entrees. The steaks tended to be chewy, so if you're not into red meat, I would avoid them. The turkey dinner was really delicious. Service at the restaurants was always phenomenal. I have never met a bunch of more obliging, helpful and attentive (without being intrusive) restaurant staff. We have a picky eater and the staff went out of their way to make the dishes acceptable to his palate. 10 out of 10 for restaurant service. I wish afternoon tea was expanded a little to include some small sandwiches. We usually skip lunch after a buffet breakfast and it would be nice to have a small bite sometime around 3pm to tide us over to dinner.

Overall, we had a wonderful time with family. Perhaps some of the rooms could use an upgrade (I wouldn't want to sleep on a saggy mattress with springs that dig into my back), but in general, the slightly sloping floors, windows that are not quite square and creaky rocking chairs add to the charm of this venerable old hotel.

Room Tip: Try and get rooms above the 3rd floor. There is less foot traffic.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tribecamom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 November 2011

My family would come here every couple of years while I was growing up, and I've returned a few times as an adult, so I've probably been to Mohonk about 10 times. Thus imbued with heaps of nostalgia and fond memories of childhood delights, my image of Mohonk is largely impervious to any critiques I might be inclined to make as a rational adult. Yes, I know it's expensive; yes, the entertainment is hokey; yes, there's no bar scene; yes, the food can sometimes be lacking (although on this most recent trip, over Thanksgiving, the 3 meals I had here -- a sit-down dinner, a buffet breakfast, and a buffet Thanksgiving feast -- were all excellent). So ignore the scheduled entertainment (a children's ventriloquist, a comic you've never heard of, or a screening of an old movie), forget about the lack of TV in the room (you're not here to channel surf) and take advantage of what you do have. Bring a bottle or two of your own wine to sip in your room by the fireplace or on your balcony (I think virtually all rooms have a balcony). Hike the lemon squeeze (not open all year 'round, good footwear and physical fitness required). Walk around the lake. Walk to Skytop. Go on a guided nature hike. Take lots of pictures. Count the number of gazebos you come across. Feed the fish. Go check out the barn museum. Get tea and cookies at 4pm in the lounge. Play board games after dinner in the living room. If it's winter, go ice skating; if it's summer, play tennis. If it's Pioneer Weekend, dip candles and make broomsticks. Most of all, enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

my one gripe -- my bed was pretty uncomfortable -- mattress probably needs updating; i felt like I was sinking into a crevice all night

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank pmarielNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2011

My boyfriend surprised me with a trip to Mohonk and I was ecstatic. However, it was unfortunate that my stay was not ecstatic. I gave this review average ONLY because of the beautiful real estate as well as the nice service and grounds. Our first problem was the lack of communication between staff. One person was giving us a different price and information and the other was giving us something else. Our second problem was the food. We were told that it was a formal dinner and of course a formal attire was desired. We had this image of a nice ballroom with chandeliers and classical music playing with white glove service. NONE OF THE ABOVE. Instead we walked into a low key, low lit, wooden floor dining area, that was loud. We felt like we were in a cafeteria. The most horrendous part was again lack of communication between the kitchen and staff and the availability of food!!!!! Whatever we ordered, the waiter would tell us that they ran out. For God sake we sat down at 830pm and even if were the last couple we expected to be treated as the first. How embarrassing it is to tell your clients that are paying an extraordinary amount of money for two nights that you DO NOT have food or dishes available. THIS IS A SIN. How can you charge that amount of money for poor food service. I gave credit to the waiters and waitress for being professional because it is not there fault but that was ridiculous. I ordered the smoked venison. Waiter told me that they ran out. So we picked another appetizer. Ten minutes later, he returned to us and said we now have venison. What happened in ten minutes? A deer got shot and smoked?! The food that was available was awful. The restaurant does not deserve a four star but it is a 1 to 2 star restaurant. The pasta dish that I ordered was awful and starchy. I could have made it better. My boyfriend returned his steak because it was overcooked when he specifically requested for medium rare. Grilling a steak is Culinary 101. The dessert was below average. It was not fresh and you could tell that it was refrigerated and premade. Awful. The next night, we certainly did not dress up so formal and we simply asked the waiter for what they did not have first thing. Unfortunately to say that the second night for dinner was not great either. On the other hand, our brunch was better, food was above average and dessert was not. The room was nice and overlooked the lake. Unfortunately, the firewood that was made available to us was wet and did NOT burn very well. We called housekeeping three times. My boyfriend had to man the fire for the majority of the night which definitely killed our romantic mood. Fortunately, not to sound cheesy, but we had each other and we made the best of it. I do not think that we were expecting too much. I think that for the price that we paid, everything MUST be perfect! We left with a positive attitude, but we would not return or recommend the Mohonk to stay or eat. It is overly priced and not worthwhile. I think we would have been better off hiking the property, eating brunch there and sleep at a nearby hotel.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Lani H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newark, New Jersey
Level Contributor
40 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2011

We've lived only an hour away for years and finally the Mohonk made the weekend get-away list mostly because we were short on Friday and Sunday drive time. This place has primarily two advantages: 1) It's New Paltz location is closer to people with money than its Northern NY and New England alternatives, and 2) The property is indeed impressive and stunning.

Problems begin when you get inside the building. I didn't personally experience all the exact same issues as the last handful of reviewers, but found myself nodding my head as I read on. The rooms are generally tired, and many parts of the hotel are in serious need of an overhaul. This resort is begging for a huge capital investment. (I have a hunch the reason why there are no TV's in the rooms may actually be that the walls are so thin.) The cold water ran light brown for five minutes, the keypads on the t'stat were damaged, and the pull down window shades were badly frayed.

I had mixed feelings about the food and dining, but conditioned myself with low expectations and came out mostly satisfied (How's that for advice?). Yeah, I felt a little 'taken' by the automatic 12% gratuity charge onto everything. Not that tips aren't part of the business but it just seemed like a punitive tax as opposed to the feeling you get by tipping a server, giving the valet and bellman a couple bucks, etc.

The staff varies in levels of competence. There were some good pros, but also lots of obvious rookies in all departments. The young bellman was shaking like a leaf and we noticed a supervisor trail him a short distance behind us. It was also the first day on the job for our Evening 2 dinner server and it showed. The final laugh came upon check out when we woke up and found our bill of $96,372.00 slipped under the door. We called downstairs and a pleasant woman said, "Yah, you know I noticed that and it looked kinda strange!" (Then why did you stick it under the door, sweetie??) Lo and behold, an investigation revealed we did not have 6,000 glasses of Cabernet at dinner after all!

Overall, I did enjoy the weekend. I guess I would consider a return trip, but I'd strategize differently to make sure I spent as much time outside as possible using the many varied activity programs. That and the Spa, which is a new(er) addition I missed. Oh, and after the Mohonk's inevitable upgrade in the year 20_ _ I'll definitely be back for that.

Room Tip: Ask for a lake view, or as high up as possible. Stay away from rooms that border stairwells.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Reservationless
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
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New York > New Paltz
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 
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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
Mohonk Mountain House New York/New Paltz

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