At 6 Catskills Resorts: Retro Design, Modern Comfort and Games, Lots of Games

Picture yourself on a sojourn in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Would your preferred game be Pac-Man, pickleball or backgammon? The answer could determine where you stay. Then again, with the variety of games on hand at nearly every one of the Catskills’ newest wave of stylish resorts, there should be more than one option that tickles your fancy.

The influence of New York City, Brooklyn in particular, has been palpable in the Catskills — about 100 miles northwest of the metro area — for years. About a decade ago, indie hotels like the Graham & Co. in Phoenicia and Foxfire Mountain House in Mount Tremper imported urban cool to the country with their Moroccan poufs, Tivoli radios and linen bedding. When Scribner’s Catskill Lodge debuted in 2016, its loftlike rooms and farm-to-table restaurant cemented Brooklyn’s presence.

But the Catskills’ legacy as a resort destination extends much further back. It was where one of the country’s earliest resorts, ‌the Catskill Mountain House, made its home in 1824, followed by hundreds of others. A resurgence swept the area from the 1920s through the ’60s, when it became known as the ‌borscht ‌belt‌‌, owing to the number of sprawling hotels there that attracted members of New York’s Jewish community.

Now, once again, there’s an influx of new inns. While many are attracting families, others are targeting a younger audience drawn to a contemporary aesthetic that also evokes earlier eras, and curated travel “experiences.”

Those experiences might involve, in the winter, a “sled menu” of five different sled types that you can take to the local hills, as Hotel Lilien in Tannersville offers. In warmer months, visitors at the new Eastwind Oliverea Valley can take guided walks to forage for spruce, then sit at the bar and taste its infusion in a handcrafted cocktail. And there are so many games — from Scrabble to shuffleboard — at these new hotels that you’ll want to make sure you don’t‌ miss out on the epic fly fishing, rock climbing and hiking the Catskills are known for.

The new resorts, for their part, often refurbish existing properties, which means a lighter footprint. Here are a half a dozen to explore.

Doubles from $270 a night.

Doubles from $325 a night.

“We let it be what it wanted to be — which was an old Victorian hotel,” said Mr. Foster of the property’s grand presence. The main inn has 22 rooms, a couple of parlors, and a bar and restaurant, decorated with vintage Catskills photos and cozy velvet seats and couches. A large front porch and terrace overlooks Lake Kenoza. Last June they added 10 bungalows, a nod to the region’s bungalow colonies from the 1950s. Each has a private porch, oversize tub, gas stove and custom furnishings, such as modern fainting couches and sectional sofas. Even the walk along the wandering paths to reach the bungalows — which are perched above the main house, near the heated pool, spa and trailheads — can feel like an escape.

Doubles from $349 a night.

While the Windham property took over an old motel, they started from scratch in the new location, building 15 Lushnas — free-standing Scandinavian-inspired cabins — in a secluded hollow along the Esopus Creek in Ulster County, along with 12 other guest rooms. A dramatic pitched-roof structure housing a restaurant and bar, named Dandelion, anchors the property. It’s communal space like this that is central to the Eastwind experience.

“We try to program the space so that guests get to know each other and get to be around each other,” Mr. Boyer said. That means turning over the restaurant to a candle-making workshop in off-hours and offering yoga beneath the building’s eaves.

Aesthetically, the partners are also keen to be welcoming, creating coziness through minimalistic but homey furnishings. The A-frame cabins feature queen beds, vintage lighting and décor, and Turkish carpets. “I was determined to find pieces that stand out, are comfortable and have a story about where they came from,” Ms. Stoliarova said. “They are one of a kind in my eye.”

Doubles from $279 a night; double Lushnas from $499 a night.

While many of the area resorts being renovated date to the 1800s, the roadside Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge was very much a relic of the 1930s before Ray Pirkle and Kim Bucci of Ramshackle Studio transformed it. Along with Mountain Shore Properties, the duo, also responsible for the Rivertown Lodge in Hudson, N.Y., took on the hotel, built and maintained by the same family for eight decades, and simultaneously restored it to its earlier condition and modernized it with custom furniture and amenities.

The new Camptown offers 24 guest rooms in the main lodge and 26 log cabins scattered across 22 acres. Each is uniquely designed and decorated, some with wooden spindle bed frames, others with Shaker-style nook beds; all keep the rustic knotty pine walls.

“Our goal was to infuse modern Shaker elements without scrubbing away the sense of history,” Ms. Bucci said. In the main lodge, which also houses Casa Susanna, a Mexican restaurant, they converted the former dance hall into the lobby, sanding the floors back to their original state and restoring a grand stone fireplace, which is flanked by couches and a library table. Come summer, the property’s Swim Club will open, providing access to the pool, cabanas and an outdoor bar.

Doubles from $209 a night; cabins from $299.

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