For many of us non-New Yorkers, the word Catskills has long been synonymous with iconic summer mountain camps like the one featured in the 1980s hit movie "Dirty Dancing."
Known as a popular spot in the '50s, '60s and '70s for families from New York City seeking to escape the heat and see entertainers like Tony Bennett and Milton Berle, the mountain region's allure began to dwindle after the 1980s, with many old inns and camps closing or falling into disrepair.
In recent years, however, many of the dilapidated towns, historical homes and resorts have been undergoing a major transformation, with the Hudson Valley becoming a hot weekend getaway and second-home mecca for New Yorkers and others rediscovering the area's beauty and its booming arts and wellness cultures.
On the hospitality front, one of the newest and most luxurious entrants is Hasbrouck House in the hamlet of Stone Ridge, a two-hour drive from New York City with easy access to the popular towns of Hudson, Woodstock and Kingston as well as the state's leading ski resorts.
Hasbrouck House marked its grand opening on Labor Day weekend with a full house and grand plans for attracting visitors and special events year-round to its renovated 18th century, 50-acre Dutch colonial estate, which across its four buildings features 20 suites, a "farm-to-fork" restaurant; bar; gym; spa and wellness programs; a classic, 55-foot-long swimming pool; a 4,000-square-foot bluestone patio; nightly bonfires; a lake; hiking and biking trails; and access to a neighboring orchard.
Co-owner Akiva Reich, president of Gowanus Hospitality Group and design firm Akiva Reich & Co., partnered with Brooklyn eco-developer Greenstone to buy and develop the property. (Editor's note: Greenstone is owned by Eitan Baron, the husband of Travel Weekly news editor Johanna Jainchill.)
Reich called the project a "labor of love" that has turned the former bed and breakfast into one of the most luxurious, design-driven inns in the valley, with a tasteful mix of old and new that includes amenities like down pillows and comforters, heated bathroom floors, Nespresso machines, local art, vintage rugs, custom lighting and furniture and all the extras that today's luxury travelers are looking for.
Rates range from $275 to $750 a night, with the average being about $400, he said.
Hasbrouck House is the first foray into lodging for Gowanus Hospitality, which among its other ventures was turning a late-1800s brass foundry into a popular Brooklyn event space, the Green Building.
Reich said Gowanus originally planned to open its first hotel in Brooklyn. When that deal fell through, he and Greenstone found an opportunity in the Catskills.
"That's where people want to be," he said, noting that in one year, three of his Brooklyn-based employees who rent in the city bought houses in the area, where they now spend most of their weekends.
"It's amazing what's going on up there, primarily in the Hudson Valley, closer to the city. It's pretty awesome."