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.”