Mohonk Mountain House Review: A historic castle-like resort in the mountains that makes you feel like you’re wrapped in Nature whether inside or outside. Owned by the same family since the 1860s.
The signs dotting the winding 2.5 mile mountain entrance road remind guests to go “Slowly and Quietly,” so that’s where I’ll start my Mohonk Mountain House review.
I’ll be honest though, Slowly and Quietly are not easy when you’re snaking your way up a narrow mountain road with no guardrails, anxiously waiting for the renowned resort to pop into view!
The anticipation that builds around every turn is part of the allure of the Mohonk Mountain House, because when it finally appears in front of you, it takes your breath away.
Come along as a point out a few of the things that I found to be extra special about the Mohonk Mountain House in New York.
Where Is The Mohonk Mountain House Located?
Location: 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, New York
Mohonk Mountain House is set in the Hudson River Valley, a picturesque region that runs along the Hudson River, north of New York City.
The area is known for its stunning landscapes, including the Shawangunk Ridge, where Mohonk Mountain House is nestled, providing visitors with a stunning natural setting for recreational activities and relaxation.
New Paltz, the closest town, is approximately 85 miles north of New York City, making it a convenient and scenic escape from the city.
Mohonk resort is about 8.5 miles from I-87 and 18 miles from the train station in Poughkeepsie.
How Much Does A Night At Mohonk Mountain House Cost?
Prices average about $1,009 per night for double occupancy, often with a 2-night minimum. Weekends, holidays and in-season rates are more.
What Is The Cheapest Time To Go To Mohonk Mountain House?
Mid-week rates are usually lower than weekends. The hotel occasionally runs specials.
Ready To Book A Dream Getaway At Mohonk?
Is Mohonk Mountain house Worth It?
Truly the answer to this question depends on your tastes. I love history, so I was enthralled by all of the ornate woodwork, fireplaces, and nooks and crannies filled with comfortable Victorian furniture.
While the price may be shocking to some, it does include three meals a day with locally sourced ingredients. I don’t usually eat three meals a day, but I found myself anxious for the next meal because they were all so good!
You can also take part in the 150+-year-old tradition of having afternoon tea and cookies in the parlor from 4 to 5 p.m.
The walls in all of the public areas and the hallways are covered with original art, paintings and vintage photos. Even though I’m not a huge art lover, I enjoyed walking the halls and see the many different pieces of amazing art and old pictures.
Just to give you an idea of the size of the collection, there are 800 pieces of art in the public places, and another 1,000 in the private rooms.
If you have an appreciation for craftsmanship, then you’ll enjoy the intricate woodwork throughout the hotel, including the many working fireplaces in both the private rooms and public spaces.
The central staircase is comprised of 1,411 hand-tooled spindles from the 1890s.
Mohonk Mountain House History
For a quick history of the Mohonk Mountain House, it all began in 1869, when Albert Smiley paid $28,000 for a lake and 300 acres of rocky land that included a modest 10-room tavern.
The parcel occupied a slice of the Shawangunk Mountains, a small range that stretches through the Hudson Valley.
Visiting the Hudson River Valley? Check out the historic Thayer Hotel at West Point.
On this property, which was later enlarged through additional purchases, Albert and identical twin Alfred created a resort reflecting the Quaker values they inherited from their father.
Since then, descendants have operated the hotel (now 5th generation), and generations of families have visited every year.
The Victorian and Edwardian-looking structures that stand today took shape between 1879 and 1902, and contain 259 rooms, including 28 tower rooms.
In 1963, the Smileys played a role in creating Mohonk Preserve, the largest private nature preserve in New York State, spanning 6,500 acres around the resort’s 1,200 acres.
In 1986, the hotel earned National Historic Landmark status, and a spa wing was added in 2005.
What Is There To Do At Mohonk Mountain House?
If you can name an activity, it’s probably available at the Mohonk Mountain House.
The abundant natural trails and emphasis on Nature reminded me of my time on Monhegan Island in Maine. Some of the spectacular views made me think of Harpers Ferry, WV., and especially of the landscape vistas from Jefferson’s Rock.
Here’s an example of their daily activity schedule. If you don’t have time to look, here’s a small sample:
- Horseback riding
- Tomahawk Throwing
- Heated Indoor Pool with Underwater Music
- Indoor Ice Skating Rink (in season)
Other Activities At Mohonk
Since I visited in November, there were some things that I didn’t get to experience.
☑️ Lake Activities
Boating: Guests can enjoy Lake Mohonk in various ways, including row boats, paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes.
Fishing: The lake, stocked with rainbow trout, offers fishing opportunities from late April to October.
Swimming: The Bathing Beach provides a refreshing swim in the glacial mountain lake and is open the the Fall..
☑️ Gardens and Grounds
The gardens at Mohonk are of course seasonal, but I enjoyed walking through and using my imagination in November.
☑️ Additional Recreation Activities
In addition to the extensive hiking trails and lake activities, Mohonk Mountain House offers a variety of recreational facilities, like tennis, basketball, shuffleboard and golf.
Mohonk Mountain House Review: Things To Know
Mohonk Mountain House is a little different than any place I’ve ever visited. Here are some things to know before you visit.
✅ Study the layout of the house and grounds before your visit so you can hit the ground running. I walked between 6 and 9 miles every day (plus rode horseback) and still didn’t see everything. (I guess that means I’ll have to go back).
✅ Be prepared for your luggage to be whisked away by guest services, as well as your car while you’re checking in, which is an amenity included in your overnight rate. If preferred, you can self-park your car. The parking lots are not too far away but there are a number of steps to climb back up to the hotel.
✅ The sun comes up over the lake and sets over the mountains. Make sure you grab a rocking chair (and a cocktail) on the Sunset Porch in the evening.
✅ Don’t miss shopping in the expansive gift shop and don’t be shy about wandering the halls and looking at the art.
✅ I loved having three meals a day and dressing up for dinner (although dressing up is optional and resort casual attire is recommended).
✅ In case you’re wondering, alcohol is available, but is an extra cost.
✅ On a clear day you can see five states from the memorial tower on the Sky Top Tower trail.
✅ There are no televisions in the room and you won’t even notice.
✅ Don’t leave your room without your phone or a camera. You’re going to want to take pictures!
✅ A “Barn Tour” may not sound like an interesting thing to do if you’re not a horse lover, but I highly recommend it. Even the kids will enjoy it the history that unfolds before your eyes.
Quaker Values Shine Through
It’s inspiring to stay in a place that has played a role in world history.
Mohonk Mountain House began hosting conferences on International Arbitration in June 1895 that lasted until 1916. The Conferences are credited with the initiation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
The first conference included 50 invited participants, but years later the attendees rose to 300 leaders in government and business.
A Peek Inside Mohonk Mountain House
Best Time To Visit Mohonk Mountain House
I can’t decide if there is a “best time” to visit Mohonk Mountain House. In the late fall when I was there, the trees were still colorful and the trails were not crowded. The weather was perfect for long walks.
If visiting in the winter, you have access to both an indoor skating rink and indoor heated pool, among many other activities like cross-country skiing and now, tubing. Many of the rooms have working fireplaces, and I wish it would have been cold enough for me to have needed a fire.
Spring and summer bring their own special activities, including boating and swimming in the lake. The Granary is also open during the nice weather months, offering an outdoor cookout experience that is near the small beach area.
Wrap-Up: Mohonk Mountain House Review
I know that the high price of Mohonk makes it impossible for some people to spend the night, but they do offer a Day Pass that is affordable so you can experience the trails and views.
Trying to “relax” is usually a chore for me, but walking the trails and absorbing the calming spirit of Mohonk made this resort a very special place for me. I really appreciate how visitors are encouraged to leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind.
Between the soaring mountain vistas and the never-ending list of activities, Mohonk provides an unforgettable—and perhaps even lifechanging—experience.
I can think of no better place to learn how to go “Slowly and Quietly.“
If you love historic accommodations like I do, check out my historic hotel reviews.
Disclosure: I received a comped stay at the Mohonk Mountain House, but this review is my honest opinion.