Thanks to the Ulster County Tourism Board for sponsoring this article
When you think of all-inclusive resorts, you probably imagine beachfront hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean. But did you know that all-inclusive resorts exist within the United States as well? Mohonk Mountain House is a beautiful lakefront property in the Hudson Valley region of New York state, where meals and activities are included in your rate!
Mohonk Mountain House is located in New Paltz, which is about a two-hour drive from New York City. The drive was scenic even in September, but I’m sure that if you visited a little later in the season than we did, you’d get to travel through some really beautiful fall foliage.
We stayed in a cozy two-bedroom lake-facing suite. We had a living area, one room with a twin bed, one room with a double bed, and a full bathroom. Our terrace had beautiful views of the lake.
Of course, you come to Mohonk Mountain House not to stay indoors, but to enjoy the great outdoors! One thing I really appreciate about this property is that they offer a number of guided outdoor experiences each day. This means that even if — like us — you’re not super outdoorsy — you can still enjoy getting out into nature without worrying about things going wrong, since you’ll have an experienced guide who’ll be there with you every step of the way.
The resort has a daily schedule of organized activities you can participate in that are included with your stay. There are also a number of activities you can pay an additional fee for, such as carriage rides, guided horseback rides, and pony rides for kids. On the lake there are rowboats, kayaks, and pedal boats. You can use these as many times as you want during your stay. Most evenings there are campfires with live music, so you can roast s’mores after dinner.
Our favorite activity was archery and tomahawk throwing. Mohonk Mountain House has an archery range where you can do both activities. We started with a family archery class, and our instructor was fantastic. He made it really easy to learn, and the girls were getting bullseyes in no time at all! He was also very knowledgeable about the history of archery. Did you know, for example, that every culture in the world has a bow and arrow weapon system? And that earliest evidence of archery dates all the way back to 10,000 BC? It’s fascinating to think about how long it’s been a part of the human experience.
Tomahawk throwing is for adults only, so Serge and I gave it a try. I was pretty nervous about doing this, but once we got started, it wasn’t as scary or hard as it seemed!
We took a tour with the property’s naturalist to learn how to track animals. If it’s something you’re interested in, Mohonk Mountain House offers both daytime and nighttime tracking tours.
We also went on a guided hike, which we enjoyed a lot. There are a variety of hikes at different intensity levels, so depending on your experience level and mobility, you can choose your level that suits you best.
If you’re interested in seeing the views from the highest points of the property, but you’re not comfortable hiking that far, a great option is to take a carriage ride or guided horseback tour. The highest point has really cool views, including being able to see Skytop Tower, a monument built on top of one of the highest hills to commemorate the founder of Mohonk Mountain House, Albert Smiley.
If you stay at Mohonk Mountain House, I highly recommend paying a visit to the spa. It blends in perfectly with the rest of the resort’s classic lake lodge feel, with big windows overlooking the trees and nature. There are separate men’s and women’s relaxation areas, as well as a couple’s relaxation area with a huge fireplace. The steam room and sauna were closed when we visited due to Covid, but the spa also has a really nice outdoor heated mineral pool that is available.
Serge and each had a massage in separate rooms. Due to Covid, couple’s massages can’t take place in the same room, but we reunited after the treatment in the couple’s relaxation lounge! If you’re looking for other indoor activities, be sure to check out the indoor heated pool. The girls had a lot of fun swimming here. The property also has a small game room with air hockey, table tennis, foosball, and shuffleboard.
One thing that’s a bit different about this property is that there aren’t separate restaurants. You take all your meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – in the main dining room. There are beautiful views in the dining room, and it feels very open and airy. The food is excellent, and all very gourmet.
For breakfast, I highly recommend the pastry basket with muffins, banana bread, pain au chocolat. Everything was so fresh and delicious. The Mohonk Mountain House signature lobster omelette is very decadent, so definitely try that for the experience. For some healthier options, the quinoa bowl and avocado toast were both very good.
Breakfast and lunch have mostly the same menu every day, but dinner rotates between four different menus. One thing that’s fun is that both lunch and dinner are three course meals. This means you get to have dessert not just with dinner, but with lunch too!
For dinner, Serge and I really enjoyed the French onion soup, while the girls loved the lobster mac and cheese. But the best dinner entree by far was the house gemelli bolognese. It was so hearty, but also had such rich, complex flavors. I ordered this entree multiple times – that’s how good it was.
Alcoholic drinks are not included, but there is an extensive wine list, and you can have wine by the glass, half bottle, or bottle. The house cocktails were also really good. Our favorites were the House Tartini and the Honey Bear.
Most of your time is spent outdoors here, so that factor alone makes this a great choice in terms of reducing exposure. Also, the resort is very strict about wearing masks indoors.
All the staff and guests were very much onboard with Covid safety, so mask adherence was high, which was great. And of course, there was ample hand sanitizer throughout the resort.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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