families recommend
410 family reviews | Write a Review

Families will love:

  • Family-friendly atmosphere
  • All-inclusive rates and three bountiful meals a day
  • Spectacular setting and great array of outdoor activities
Enter dates for best prices

About Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz, NY

From the approach -- and from almost every vantage point -- Mohonk Mountain House cuts a stunning profile. Picture an enormous Victorian castle on a lake, surrounded by lush gardens and situated amid 7,800 acres of nature preserve and nestled on a ridge in the Shawangunk mountains (one of the Nature Conservancy's "Last Great Places" on earth.)

It's a spectacular setting, and quite a story: At more than 140 years old, Mohonk Mountain House is one of the last of the great grand resorts of its ilk. The hotel's bona fides include designations as a National Historic Landmark and a place on the register of Historic Hotels. George Washington didn't sleep here but five presidents have (Roosevelt, Hayes, Taft, Arthur and Clinton).

Mohonk's legacy began in 1869 with the identical twin Smiley brothers, eccentric and frugal Quakers and educators who had a vision and who made some good choices and got lucky. They -- particularly brother Albert -- envisaged Mohonk as a summer retreat where people could reap the benefits of communing with nature and with each other. For many years, Mohonk was a hub of academic and diplomatic conferences and refined entertainment. It faltered in a few periods but has rebounded to its position today as one of America's great historic resorts.

Architecturally, Mohonk is an outlandish amalgamation: nine adjoining buildings of various periods, facades, heights, angles, turrets and towers, more than an eighth of a mile from end-to-end. With all its eclecticism there is a coherence to the place. The 2005 Spa Wing isn't an aesthetic jolt from the 1879 Rock Building it adjoins; the 2001 Skating Pavilion nicely echoes the feel of the main dining room wing that dates to the turn of the last century. Somehow it all hangs together.

Mohonk's interiors are equally historic and eclectic. Fixtures, carpeting, furniture and decor are either original or reproduction period pieces comfortably arranged in vast public spaces and the dozens of cozy nooks throughout the seven-story hotel. Hallways serve as a kind of vertical scrapbook, with photographs, paintings, maps, textiles, news clippings, floor plans and artifacts of the hotel's history and geography, worthy of taking the time to review.

Mohonk occasionally gets comparisons to the haunted Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Perhaps it's the Victorian feel or scale of the place or expansive hallways or its topiary maze. But from there the comparison fall short. The only "ghost" here is likely the spirit of Albert Smiley, who probably would be quite pleased with the way the place has evolved -- and the ways in which it has not. With a 140-year-old resort, the art form is in knowing what to change, and what to keep the same. Mohonk largely gets the balance right.

Mohonk is special as much for what it is not as for what it is. It is decidedly low-tech. You won't be assaulted by flat-screen TVs in every corner, nor will you have one in your room. Daily schedules are still tacked to bulletin boards. The airwaves aren't yet permeated with Wi-Fi.

Four o'clock isn't happy hour at Mohonk; it's tea-and-cookies time. The resort's only bar (a recent concession to modern sensibilities) closes at 11. Alan Alda is about the hottest celebrity sighting reported there. And the only glitz you're likely to see is in a craft bin at the kids club. Mohonk is so un-cool, it's cool.

To love Mohonk is to appreciate the whole experience -- its gorgeous setting and natural beauty and classic take on relaxation and recreation and service. Avoid getting too fussed about particular details -- uneven dinner service, the lack of technology, how long you may have to wait for your car -- or you'll likely begin to have serious problems with the price point (not cheap).

Written by Deborah Bogosian

Hotel Deals: Save as Much as 60%
Off Family Hotels! Read more

Hotel Deals: Save as Much as 60% Off Family Hotels!

Search our partners for great deals and savings up to 60% off. Searching, we found the following deals as advertised by our partners:

  • offers savings of up to 60% through their "Name Your Own Price" program. Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" reservation system is different from most other online travel sites. With Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" reservation system, the exact hotel booked is shown only after purchase. Over the last year, a substantial percentage of accepted offers have yielded savings of up to 60% in comparison to the lowest published rates for the same itinerary on other leading online travel sites. There is no guarantee that hotels, dates, or prices will be available, and savings are not guaranteed. Actual prices and availability are subject to change.
  • Our partner, Hotwire offers rates of up to 60% off based on actual Hotwire Hot Rate® Hotel bookings made in the previous 12 months as compared with the lowest published rates found on leading retail travel sites. Prices are dynamic and vary based on booking date and length of stay. There is no guarantee these savings or rates will be in effect at the time of your search. Availability is limited. Hot Rate® Hotel are different from retail rates. With Hot Rate® Hotel you enter the date, location and star rating. Hotel revealed only after booking.

Those are just two examples of amazing offers from our partners. For more, visit and check out Expedia,, and our other partners.

Family Vacation Critic allows you to search various sites at once so you can compare the prices and options offered. Prices or promotions on Family Vacation Critic are reflective of what's offered on those sites. When you book tickets, your booking is handled by one of those sites directly, not by Family Vacation Critic. Transactions, and all subsequent customer care, are directly handled by the site where you booked your travels. Family Vacation Critic does not control the price, rules, regulations, or restrictions surrounding the price. Please read all rules and regulations before booking.

Best for:

  • Tots (0-2)
  • Kids (3-6)
  • Kids (7-9)
  • Tweens (10-12)
  • Teens (13+)

Family Interests

  • All Inclusive
  • Bicycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Skiing

Family Amenities

  • Babysitting
  • Cribs
  • DVD Player
  • Pool

Family Ratings:
Editor's Rating:
Kid Activities:
Kids Play Area:
Money Value:
Pool & Water Fun:

Related Links:

Mohonk Mountain House Reviews

Please Review This Hotel:
select a rating
A Fantastic Getaway
by qwertyu840
Mohonk Mountain House has been the highlight oh my familie's year for the past 15 years. We go for a week during the summer every year. We go with my entire family, meaning about 24 people. When we wake up in the morning the beds are comfortable and you almost don''t want to get out of them, but then we always realize that we will have TONS of fun that ... read more