Mohonk Mountain House Day Pass – Everything You Need to Know
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Mohonk Mountain House was recently written up by Travel + Leisure as New York’s “best kept secret and castle resort straight out of a fairy tale”. While I wouldn’t say best kept secret (I think the secret is out!..and has been), I do agree this mountain resort is like stepping into a fairy tale.
Located in the Hudson Valley about 2 ½ hours north of New York City, Mohonk Mountain House is set in the middle of the dramatic Shawangunk Ridge and surrounded by 40,000 acres of green forest. The pristine and picturesque Mohonk Lake serves as its backdrop, among the many and varied cliffs, beautiful views, and in general, gorgeous scenery.
It is all about the outdoors at this family-owned Victorian castle resort. Take your pick from lake swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking, to amazing hiking (more than 85 miles of hiking trails), mountain biking, tennis and golf, and in the winter months cross-country skiing, ice skating and more. It is a nature lover’s paradise, and a true escape from the big city.
Mohonk Mountain House is also known for its award-winning spa (voted best spa in the nation by Conde Nast) and its delicious farm-to-table-cuisine. There are a few different restaurants to choose from, depending on your mood and if you want upscale or more relaxed. And don’t forget tea time! Sip on daily 4:00 tea in a rocking chair on its large deck overlooking the lake and boat house. No matter what you choose to do, relaxation is the name of the game.
Which is why this always popular resort comes with a price tag. Staying there is not cheap! Prices for rooms can start out in the $500 range, but generally speaking a room will cost you in the $700 range. Mind you, this is an all-inclusive rate and includes meals and activities. Still, though, not all of us can afford the heavy fee (all-inclusive or not), especially when that rate might be reserved for a Caribbean get-away and not a hotel a couple of hours away from home.
Mohonk Mountain Day Pass – What You Need to Know
I used to scan the website in hopes of finding some miraculous deal, never to any avail, and figured I’d never get the Mohonk “experience”. Until I discovered its Mohonk Mountain House Day Pass packages. Wait, what? You can visit for the day? Yup. There are a variety of packages at different price points, but they basically all require entering the grounds either via eating a meal or choosing a spa treatment.
For example, we chose the $60 package that allowed us to eat at the outdoor Granary restaurant, which overlooks the lake. In the summer months they offer a BBQ buffet and a bar with drinks at an extra cost. This includes access to the hotel grounds, including its Victorian gardens, all of its hiking trails, tea time and evening entertainment. At a higher cost you can choose its “Brunch with a View” and “Dinner on the Mountain” packages. Or, if you do not want to go the meal route, you can book a spa treatment and enjoy the hotel that way. No matter which package you choose, however, hotel staff told me it is best to reserve 2-3 weeks in advance as day spots book up fast.
How was our experience with the Mohonk Mountain House Day Pass and what did we do? Overall, the experience was great. I visited the hotel with a friend (no kids), and as we pulled up to the gate we were checked off the list by a very nice greeter, and sent on our way up to the castle and Granary restaurant. The setting of the Granary is very scenic with red and white picnic tables overlooking the lake. The buffet, we both agreed, was good but nothing special. Your typical BBQ buffet with potato salad, coleslaw, salads and pies for dessert. But for all you can eat, we were plenty satisfied!
After lunch, we set off on a walk around the lake. The views from the top of the ridge overlooking the lake are, quite simply, divine, and there are a bunch of benches and gazebos to stop at and enjoy the scenery. The one snag? They are views of the lake and nothing more – meaning with a day pass, you are not allowed to go swimming. The beach and lake swimming is only reserved for overnight guests. We knew this going into it, but on a hot day it was tough looking down at all the swimmers and not being able to partake!
With the Mohonk Mountain Day Pass there is also no tennis, golf, or boating activities. It is strictly limited to hiking, dining, checking out the grounds, and the spa. We were ok with that, despite wanting to be able to chill at the beach, because, really, we were there to hike all around the property and take in the gorgeous scenery that is the oasis of Mohonk. At the reception area, we grabbed a hiking map and set off on a few different hikes, including the Sky Top hike, which takes you to the top of the sky tower where you can see the Hudson Valley for miles and miles.
In between hikes we enjoyed tea time at the lodge on the outdoor deck, where we put our feet up on rocking chairs and watched all the activity on the lake. It was relaxing, entertaining, and peaceful. After our break, we set off again on another hike, and come early evening headed back to the Sunset bar and enjoyed cocktails with a view before going home for the day.
Was the price worth the day? My friend and I discussed this at length and both agreed, while pricey, for the whole “experience” it was worth it. We love to be outdoors and to hike, it was a perfect day weather wise, and even though we couldn’t enjoy the lake, between all of the beautiful hiking, the lunch on the lake, tea time and cocktail hour (we had to purchase our cocktails), it was a really great day and we would do it again.
Next time we go, we decided, we’ll try the spa package!
Mohonk Mountain House is at 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY 12561