by Holly Rosen Fink
Located just 90 minutes north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley is the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa. There are just 17 guest rooms and suites at Buttermilk, 10 in the main house and seven in freestanding buildings within walking distance of the main house. The property was built as a trading post in 1680, and the rooms are tastefully decorated to include antiques and some elements from the original structure, such as the stone chimney and a several walls. They all have garden or river views and have gas fireplaces, air conditioning, flat-screen TV’s, cable, whirlpool showers and/or tubs, robes and hairdryers. There are spacious rooms that are perfect for families, equipped with a kitchen, laundry facilities and a working fireplace. They all vary in price, making the inn affordable for most any budget-conscious family.
The inn also features a restaurant, Henry’s, which features a contemporary country menu, as a salute to the Hudson River Valley, showcasing ingredients grown onsite, as well as those sourced from other local farms and artisan producers. Breakfast is complimentary in the inn’s Sun Room and includes homemade muffins and options made with food from the farm. Teatime occurs daily, and upon arrival, there is nothing better than sitting on the patio taking in the majestic view of the Hudson Valley.
There is plenty to do nearby, including hiking on the Rail Trail and nearby scenic parks, antique hunting, boating on the Hudson, swimming in Sylvan Lake, visiting local art galleries, touring the Hudson Valley wine country and shopping. To top it off, the staff is genuinely helpful and is full of suggestions of things to do for adults and children of all ages. The inn is truly a labor of love for everyone who works there. Although the inn does welcome children, there are restrictions as to which rooms can accommodate them, so be sure to contact the inn regarding the room types.
Our Editor Loves
- Comfortable and luxuriously well-appointed accommodations
- Plenty of family-friendly onsite activities
- Beautiful property
We booked a night at this inn and left swooning over the property and the food (which is very, very good), but wishing the owner had an invested manager dedicated to higher standards (at one point we found ourselves wondering if the property had been hired out to a third party management company). Overall our impression was that the inn is coasting on past reputation; the majority of the staff seemed unhappy to be there; the rooms we had were tired and in not so good shape - definitely not luxury when there is a hole in the wall above the bed and uncomfortable cheap chairs and cafe table by the window (please put a comfy reading chair by the window - it overlooks a beautiful pond and there is a working gas fireplace - the area begs for a great reading chair). When we went to breakfast, the cook(s) were blasting rap music which (because the kitchen adjoins the dining room) pretty much ruined the relaxing experience we ventured here to attain; lastly, when booking we were told the inn was full and luckily (!) we got the last two rooms, but we saw no one else staying at the inn and were told by one person at dinner that a large party had left the day before. Rightly or wrongly this made us feel as if we had been given our rooms (which had not been booked by the large party) because the staff did not want turn over the “good” rooms in time for our arrival. None of this was enough to ruin our stay but it did leave us feeling a bit icky (which is not how you want to feel on vacation staying at a “luxury inn”).
I titled this review glass half full because the spa services were very relaxing and good (I would definitely go back), the food was excellent, the property large enough for small, interesting walks, the river views beautiful, the gardens obviously designed by someone who knew what they were doing and beautifully executed, and the potential still there for the inn to come roaring back to something really fantastic!
I might not spend my own money to come back but if someone else were paying for it, I’d look forward to staying here which may mean that the owner ultimately need to decide whether he wants to keep an upscale, luxury inn (in which case someone will
make the effort to move event toilets from the river area when events are not in session so as not to spoil the view from the inn and reorder the outdoor furniture each day so guests can enjoy it) or convert the property to a full on event venue where the rooms and property details matter much less to guests who come for a specific purpose.
Looking for a nice place to stay the night while visitng Vassar College, the Buttermilk Falls Inn was the closest to the college that wasn't a best western or similar. The property was beautiful, we stayed in the main house which was noisy but comfortable we had two rooms across a very narrow hallway. The rooms were clean, my number one priority but old and in need of updating. The restaurant on site was overpriced for just an ok meal and terrible service. The staff at the Inn were unprofessional, and rude. The breakfast in the morning was delicious and fresh and the breakfast room was beautiful and comfortable thankful for this the saving grace of the nights stay.