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.
- 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