by Amanda Geronikos
When you dream about the ultimate ski vacation, you probably see Smuggler’s Notch, Vail Mountain or even the Austrian Alps, but did you know New York State offers the most ski resorts in America? And did you know New York’s Hunter Mountain, the first in the world to have top-to-bottom snow-making, boasts a luxurious hotel that’s even better than the kind in your dreams?
Opened in 2005, Kaatskill Mountain Club has become a hub for families in search of a scenic weekend getaway or an action-packed ski vacation. Each winter, it attracts thousands of visitors who enjoy ski-in and ski-out access, snowboarding, tubing and several ski programs for children and adults. Throughout the rest of the year, families visit the resort to enjoy its luxurious amenities, family-friendly festivals, hiking and unparalleled scenery.
Our Editor Loves
- Ski-in, ski-out access
- Outdoor pool with indoor entrance
- Suites with fully equipped kitchens and fireplaces
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Kaatskill Mountain Club offers a wide selection of lodging options, each wonderfully luxurious, yet completely cozy. All units feature wood furnishings and marble countertops.
The most basic room for a family is the Studio Deluxe Suite (though it's far from "basic"), which accommodates up to four people with a Queen bed and a pullout sofa. We stayed in this room and were especially pleased with the gas fireplace, an oh-so-appropriate amenity for a fall getaway, lit by the simple push of a button. The Studio Deluxe Suite also has a fully equipped kitchen for preparing meals, and a spacious bathroom with a shower and tub combination. Many of these units feature a small balcony, and I highly suggest you request one upon reservation. It was nice to sit outside on a crisp, fall night, and I imagine it would be just as relaxing on a summer evening (after you've doused yourself in bug spray, of course).
If your family of four is looking for something more, try the Jacuzzi Suite, which has a separate bedroom and a Jacuzzi tub in addition to all the amenities of a Studio Deluxe Suite.
Two- and Three-Bedroom Suites are best for bigger families, as they sleep up to eight guests. I saw these units -- they're more like houses.
For the ultimate in luxury, rent the Penthouse, which offers two Queen beds and a pullout sofa, a Jacuzzi tub, two fireplaces, a kitchen, washer and dryer and best of all, breathtaking views of Hunter Mountain.
Additionally, Kaatskill Mountain Club offers Pinnacle and Liftside Village Condos, which accommodate two to 15 guests. Skiers love these units as they offer ski-in and ski-out access to Hunter Mountain.
We were at the lodge for November 2019 Ahimsa Yoga & Music festival and really enjoyed our stay. The lobby is a beautiful space with a grand fireplace. Our room was very nice with comfortable mattress and sofa. If you want room with fridge and microwave there is additional cost. The lodge restaurant days are limited off- season so we drove 2 minutes to a deli and bakery just outside the entrance for amazing bagels and sandwiches. The lodge also has a short trail up a hill to a lovely stream tumbling over rocks. The closest town has several restaurants we didn't try, as well as gift shops and a small wine and liquor store.
by Anthony B
Going to Hunter Mountain is always a nice thing but going there in the fall is just amazing. Octoberfest is lots of fun with the entertainment and German food. The Jeep 4x4 Adventures are awesome. We get to wheel up to the Summit through the ski trails under the bright fall colors under the tree canopies. It’s absolutely beautiful and fun. The NORA Guides are professional and friendly. They will guide you through the complex trails and teach you how to better wheel off road. No matter what level of off road driver you are, you are going to enjoy this adventure. If you lodge in the resort, you will be treated to clean comfortable rooms and fine dining in their restaurant. The Hunter Mountain Resort Staff is super friendly and will answer any questions you have about the off roading trips. I hope you enjoy your visit here, we surely did!
While Kaatskill Mountain Club is a popular place for skiing families to stay, both skiers and non-skiers find there's plenty more to do, even if they only utilize the two outdoor Jacuzzi tubs. On a cold winter night, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting in a hot tub underneath the stars. Just steps from the hot tubs, you'll find a large, heated swimming pool, which can also be accessed from inside the hotel. That's right -- if you don't want to freeze your toes off in the dead of winter, you can ease into the pool through a tiny entranceway inside, then swim your way outside.
Other amenities include an outdoor fire pit, game room, fitness center, sauna and the Mountain Club Spa, which offers everything from massages to facials, and even treatments just for men.
For thrill-seekers, New York Zipline Tours operates onsite, and is worth the several hours it takes to complete the tour, considering it offers the longest and highest zipline tour in North America! There's also a Mid-Mountain Tour geared for families, with short ziplines, rope bridges and swinging bridges.
Hunter Mountain is also home to several annual festivals, which include an Oktoberfest, Wingfest and Mountain Jam, a four-day music festival where artists such as Ben Folds Five have performed. Many of Hunter Mountain's visitors flock to the area just for the festivals -- we met a man who was attending Oktoberfest for the fourth year in a row, a tradition amongst his friends.
Van Winkle's Restaurant
While Van Winkle's Restaurant (located just outside the lobby), doesn't offer a children's menu, it serves plenty of kid-friendly fare, such as burgers, chicken fingers and pizza. It also serves eclectic entrees, including Jerk-Rubbed Roast Cornish Hen and Pappardelle Bolognese, as well as breakfast and lunch. The restaurant's ambiance is cozy with a slight touch of fancy, and the service is impeccable.
Hunter Mountain Ski Resort
When Hunter Mountain Resort (just steps from the hotel) is open, families can enjoy a casual meal at one of its several eateries, which include a pizzeria and the popular Slopeside Grill, which serves up delicious deli sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and more.
Also, if you're looking for a late-night snack, several hotel vending machines offer the usual suspects, plus ice cream.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Clearly marked trails lead to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, the highest of its kind--4,040 feet, to be exact--in New York State. Along the trail and throughout Hunter Mountain, families will find signs for its Audio Tour, which allows you to stop and listen to a bit of history about its landmarks. Allow at least three hours (round-trip) for the four-mile hike. Although it's a moderate route, this trek is probably best for big kids and parents.
The Art of Smart Timing
Hunter Mountain's peak season is winter, when winter sports enthusiasts flock to the area and the surrounding towns come to life. Fall (particularly early to mid October), in my opinion, is the perfect time to visit, as the leaves turn bright shades of red, orange and yellow. Be aware, however, that many local bars and restaurants are closed during this time, and may also have varied hours during the spring and summer.
The Catskill Region is serviced by a series of Interstate Highways, notably I-87, easily accessed and driven from any direction.
Albany International Airport (ALB) is the closest to the Catskills, though the region is served by both regional and commuter airlines, with service into Stewart Airport in Newburgh, Binghamton, and Sullivan County. From there, you'll want to rent a car. I saw one taxi while I was in the Catskills, and it might very well have been the only one around.