Check Into An Upstate Oasis At These Stylish Catskills Hotels

Outdoor saunas, cozy fireplaces, copper clawfoot tubs, and A-frame cabins galore.

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

New York’s Catskills have long been a magnet for city dwellers seeking an escape from the urban grind. The region’s stunning scenery and quiet country living have lured restless Gothamites for decades, and more recently, fueled a boom in stylish upstate hotels. 

Catskills fans happily drive two to three hours north of the city for getaways that may include skiing at Hunter, Windham and Belleayre Mountains; fly-fishing, kayaking and tubing in the Upper Delaware River; hiking waterfalls and scenic overlooks; and scouring the area’s vintage shops for eclectic finds.

The local hospitality scene has become increasingly competitive, with top properties elevating their offerings with upgraded amenities and activities. Catskills hotels often channel a rustic mountain lodge vibe with cozy fireplaces, outdoor saunas, forage-to-table eateries, and decor that references the woodsy Cabincore aesthetic. They also savvily capitalize on their surrounding natural beauty to amplify guest experiences.

Here are three reliably cool Catskills hotels that are worth checking into during your next trip to upstate New York.

Urban Cowboy Lodge

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

The Urban Cowboy Lodge launched in 2018 on 68 acres in Big Indian, NY, nestled in the shadow of the Catskills Mountains. Hotel developer Phil Hospod teamed with Urban Cowboy founders Lyon Porter and Jersey Banks to transform the property’s circa-1898 main lodge and 26 uniquely-designed guest rooms, 21 of which are suites fitted with the brand’s signature clawfoot bathtubs. 

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

Those centerpiece tubs are buttressed with other distinctive decorative touches around the property, including antler chandeliers, bear-patterned blankets, custom handprinted wallpaper, vintage furnishings, and even witchy stick art that climbs some of the walls.  

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

Every guest room includes a private deck, Pendleton bathrobes, a fully-stocked minibar and Wright mattresses with luxury bedding. Many suites additionally feature pot belly stoves, outdoor Japanese cedar soaking tubs and gorgeous copper clawfoot tubs.

All guest rooms across the property’s five buildings are brimming with exhaustively-sourced decor that Porter and Banks found during road trips through the Catskills, the Adirondacks and the Smoky Mountains. 

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

Porter, who was a minor league ice hockey player and real estate agent before saddling up with Urban Cowboy, says he first became enamored with the upstate lifestyle while playing hockey in the Adirondacks. 

“I really wanted to take inspiration from those old Gilded Age lodges and camps that were up north,” Lyon says. “I hand-picked every single found object, all through the Catskills and the Adirondacks and the rest of the country, filling up large vans and dragging my partner Jersey Banks all over to fill this place up.” 

Lyon admits that he has “been accused of being a maximalist” while explaining how Urban Cowboy Lodge’s wild and woodsy look came together. 

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

“Mixing different Pendleton patterns and hand-painted wallpapers and vintage pieces and that inspiration of a Gilded Age lodge—basically all the properties we do are a reflection of our lives at the moment. We wanted a really special nature retreat, and so we built our own dream lodge.”

The bathtubs are replete with artisanal bar soaps—a lavender, eucalyptus and cedar combo is a collab between Brooklyn craft studio Species By The Thousands and Urban Cowboy— along with bubble baths, natural sponges and, yes, little yellow rubber duckies to further drive home the tub-forward theme.  

“That’s part of our irreverent spirit,” Lyon says. “So many hotel and hospitality companies take themselves so seriously. We all use the word ‘luxury,’ the word ‘lifestyle.’ But if you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? The rubber duckie is just kind of like, childlike playfulness and not taking it too seriously. We hope you’re having fun, playing in the bath and having a great time.”

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

Daniel Weiner, the chef at the Dining Room at the main lodge—a striking spot with 18-foot ceilings, a fireplace, deejay booth and a riot of bold patterns—recently revamped the menu with locally-focused dishes that reference the Catskills’ Jewish heritage. 

Standouts include Rockland Bakery Challah bread served with schmaltz butter and pickled cipollini onions; Steelhead Trout with beluga lentils, turnips and charred leeks; and Long Island Duck Breast with arrope, a sweet and sour condiment made from apricots, raisins, and cardamom that was popularized by the Jewish cuisine of the Iberian peninsula.

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

The Parlor Bar serves local beers and ciders, wine, spirits and cocktails, and offers a “Bubbles or Bourbon” welcome drink for guests. The hotel’s 24-hour Canteen specializes in a variety of grab-and-go snacks along with vintage collectibles.

Urban Cowboy Lodge is now offering an “Unplug & Play” package for guests who want to disconnect from the digital world. The deal requires participants to swap their phones—which are secured in a lock box—for a Polaroid camera to snap vacation pics the old-fashioned way. 

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

“There’s no cell phone service, and we’ve joked that it’s our biggest amenity,” Lyon says. “But it really is. You can drive two hours from Midtown, and it’s not on a main road, and you can see the Milky Way and not have cell service and have a cocktail by the fire. It’s a nature escape from New York.”

Participating guests are given a printed map of nearby hiking trails and a list of hotel activities, like a sweat session in a hand-built Estonian sauna, possibly paired with a cold plunge in the Esopus Creek that slices through the property. Ax throwing, hiking, yoga and tarot card readings are among other on-site diversions. Guests who successfully unplug get free Urban Cowboy merch and a 15% discount on a future booking. 

(Urban Cowboy Lodge)

The hotel is just a short drive to Belleayre Mountain and Slide Mountain, the tallest peak in the Catskills. There’s also the charming nearby towns of Phoenicia and Livingston Manor, with a variety of restaurants, microbreweries, antique shops, swimming holes and fly-fishing destinations. 

Far from riding off into the sunset, Urban Cowboy is looking to keep growing its brand around the country. The hotel group already operates Urban Cowboys in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and East Nashville—as well as Nashville’s kitschy Dive Hotel—and is next looking to open a “Gilded Age Victorian Mansion” in Denver.

Scribner’s Catskills Lodge

(Scribner’s Catskills Lodge)

Conveniently located near the foot of Hunter Mountain, Scribner’s Catskills Lodge opened in 2016 as an updated take on a 1960s-era motor lodge. The 20–acre property comprises a 38-room main lodge, the 85-seat Prospect Restaurant & Bar, and newly-launched domed cabins known as The Rounds. 

Situated on the northern tip of the property and surrounded by woodlands, each 12-sided Round is designed for guests to experience a panoramic view of the outdoors. 

The Rounds Interior (Scribner’s Catskills Lodge)

All six cabins and five suites in The Rounds feature a mix of modern and vintage styling, including sunken living rooms with circular sofas, oculus skylights, fireplaces, daybeds, reading nooks and retro corded phones sourced from eBay. Japanese cedar soaking tubs and wilderness-facing Adirondack chairs invite guests to step outside and relax.

The Rounds (Scribner's Catskills Lodge)
The Rounds (Scribner’s Catskills Lodge)

The mountain hut-inspired Rounds’ twelve-sided design is meant to be a nod to guests’ daily rituals. “Each side contains a different program for the day,” says Leigh Salem of Brooklyn creative firm Post Company, which designed the Rounds and Scribner’s main lodge. “So one holds a stove, one holds a bed, one holds a bathroom. It became an organizational structure for all the components that we wanted to put within the experience of staying in the Rounds.”  

The Rounds also features a standalone Apex Lodge—complete with a bar carved from a 4,000-pound block of bluestone—that offers a communal space to unwind, with a gas fireplace, kitchen, food pantry and wellness area.

(Scribner's Catskills Lodge)
(Scribner’s Lodge)

Scribner’s outdoor offerings notably include a pleasingly toasty barrel sauna with mountain views, as well as a pool, Glice skating rink and an organic garden that grows veggies for the on-site restaurant.

(Scribner’s Lodge Library)

The Library in the main lodge—just steps from a large paper lantern dangling over the front desk—is anchored by indoor and outdoor chimineas, a pool table, and shelves artfully lined with old books and magazines, pennants, assorted bric-a-brac, diffusers from local candle shops, and antique snowshoes casually propped against walls. 

The overall impression is impressively cozy and exactingly-curated—a bookish nook where Wes Anderson might hang out after hitting the slopes. 

(Scribner’s Catskills Lodge)

The guest rooms come in several iterations, but typically feature Terracotta bathroom tiles and rainfall showers, Frette bed linens, complimentary s’mores kits, Snooz white noise machines, and yet more Pendleton blankets, along with the same style of throwback corded phones found in The Rounds.

Mountain Room terrace view (Scribner’s Catskills Lodge)

Prospect, the on-site restaurant, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views in the dining room, a big circular bar, cast-iron stoves, and a large cedar deck with Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. Highlights of the Hudson Valley-centric menu include smoked trout rillettes with shallot-honey jam and trout roe on crostini, a smoked half-chicken and a six-ounce brisket burger.

The hotel’s parent company, Escape Hospitality, also operates Fellow Mountain Cafe, a casual Catskills eatery that serves breakfast and lunch just up the road.

Eastwind Olivera Valley

(Eastwind Olivera Valley/Photographs by Lawrence Braun)

Launched in 2023, Eastwind Olivera Valley is the latest rustic retreat from Eastwind Hotels, the upstate specialists that previously opened the Eastwind Windham in 2018 and the Eastwind Lake Placid in 2022. Like the Urban Cowboy Lodge, Eastwind Olivera Valley is set amid the Catskills Mountains in Big Indian, and it’s the first Eastwind built from the ground-up. 

The property’s 27 free-standing cabins and suites—set amid a wooded valley with a stream cutting through it—include wooden A-Frames and 400-square-foot tiny houses. There are 12 luxury hotel rooms in a main lodge, and a secondary building that houses the restaurant, lounge and check-in desk. 

(Eastwind Olivera Valley/Photographs by Lawrence Braun)

Guests can luxuriate in two Scandinavian-style saunas offering dry and infrared heat; gather around a vintage red Malm fireplace; borrow a mountain bike to ride along a nature path; and hike the two-and-a-half mile McKenley Hollow trail, which connects to the Balsam and Haynes Mountain trails. In warmer months, expect guests to lounge in hammocks, strike sunrise yoga poses and take dips in the pool.

Eastwind Hotels’ married co-founders Bjorn Boyer and Julija Stoliarova also offer specialized guest activities and classes every weekend. “Anything from tarot card readings, candle-making workshops, whiskey classes, foraging walks, to watercolor painting classes,” Boyer says. “They’re really fun. Every weekend is a little something different.”

(Eastwind Olivera Valley/Photographs by Lawrence Braun)

The property’s most popular months are July through October—along with the January and February ski season due to its proximity to Belleayre Mountain—and they’re seeing more guests visiting the remote hideaway from outside New York. 

“Previously it was kind of the hip crowd, all Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn,” Boyer says. “And now over the last couple years, that has spread to the New York suburbs, Philadelphia, Washington. It’s just kind of broadened the landscape for the traveler that’s coming here.”

(Eastwind Olivera Valley)

Eastwind Oliverea Valley was built on a site known as McKenley Farm when it was owned by Dr. William H. McKenley until the 1920s. It later became a meeting spot for the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Shangri La at Mountain Gate Hotel after that.

(Eastwind Olivera Valley)

The property’s Après-ski interiors are overseen by Stoliarova—the Eastwind brand’s design director—and deftly mix mid-century vintage and Scandinavian design for maximum Hygge appeal. 

“I always keep minimalistic design in mind,” says Stoliarova. “Since this location was built from the ground up, I wanted to make sure our spaces are warm and inviting. A lot of decor and furnishings I pulled from vintage, second-hand and thrift stores in New York and New Jersey. 

“I love flea markets and online vintage stores, and have a few sources on Instagram that are owned by women. When I designed [Eastwind] Lake Placid, I concentrated a lot on woman-owned businesses.” 

Stoliarova and Boyer partnered with chef Daniel Cipriani for Dandelion, the Eastwind Olivera Valley’s “forage-to-table” restaurant with a seasonal menu that changes every month. The acclaimed eatery is the first outside New York City from Cipriani, who previously helmed Sea Wolf, Gemelli and The Ledge in Brooklyn.