Two hours north from the city, the Hudson Valley has been a destination for New Yorkers since the time when artists discovered the area with its unusual clear light that makes painting such a joy. The Hudson School of Painting gave birth to a colony of artists living along the river, and soon hamlets grew into small towns. Today the Hudson Valley is nicknamed The New Hamptons by many, and one of the top weekend and travel destinations on the east coast. Thriving with culture, arts, restaurants and all kinds of entertainment all year, it is where many New Yorkers like to renew themselves in the midst of an idyllic nature that has retained some of the magic of bygone times.
There are plenty of conventional hotels and cute bed and breakfasts in the Hudson Valley. None is certainly like The Kaaterskill, in Catskill, a superb estate that includes an Inn, a forest, a creek, smooth stretches of lawn, as well as an animal sanctuary. Mixing wild nature and contemporary chic, the luxurious retreat can only be described as an experience.
Located on 40 acres of land, the Kaaterskill includes several buildings in Dutch barn style and a farm of animals known by their first names that include superb race horses, adorable ghosts, small donkeys, a pony, a llama and an alpaca, hens, geese, peacocks, a huge pig, and ferrets. While the horses are kept in closure, you might see them grazing early in the morning as you awake right in front of your window. However, you are welcome to take a walk in the Inn’s private woods all the way to the creek accompanied by a group of goats or a few geese and to pat the donkeys and the horses in their enclosure on the way. One goat led me to the river and did not leave my side while I explored the forest in search of a bear.
Socializing with animals is one of the things I enjoyed the most during my stay as you learn to communicate with the semi-wild creatures. Respond to their curiosity about you with a simple caress.
The style of the dwellings is chic-with-a-twist, New York downtown Boho meets upstate nature. Influenced by the sensibility of its owner Belkis Rodriguez-Hirsch, a former international Venezuelan dancer turned entrepreneur, video artist, perfumer, art collector, animal rescuer, and nature lover. The abode looks like the mansion of an art lover with a versatile taste and an eye for the unusual thing. In the corridor, a 6-foot statue from the Ming dynasty is placed there casually to welcome you, as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world for a museum piece to welcome guests into their night lodging. Try to lift it and you are in for a surprise!
With her exquisite taste and colorful personality, Belkis has transformed the typical American country experience into a captivating one that awakens the soul on many levels. You can sleep in a luxurious room in the main Dutch barn or the Farm House or rent a whole house on the pond to experience glam camping. Rooms are individually and exquisitely furnished with unique pieces that seem to have been scavenged from a delightful cavern of wonders.
I stayed in the Orange Room, a huge wood-paneled bedroom with a peach color theme that feels more like a suite, with full-sized windows opening on a patio with a view on the pond and the premises. The king size bed with superior bedding is surrounded by two standing lights and antique night tables. Piles of rare books are there for you to browse through, including out of print art books and romantic novels. Make your way through one of them while sipping on a glass of wine by the stone fireplace.
Easy instructions are given to start the fire yourself or you can have a staff member prepare it for you. Any show on the satellite DVD TV is also possible to watch on the large screen above the chimney if you’re cozy inside during a stormy night or snow storm. The elegant bathroom includes a shower, a huge Jacuzzi baignoire – with plenty of shelf space around to set your coffee mug or champagne flute, books or pet. A small kitchenette next to it comes with a coffee machine with fine coffee in glass jars, cream, sugar, water bottles and snacks.
The three beautiful Art Deco dressers with built-in mirrors have carved wood details, while a designed red lamp comes straight out of an avant-garde Italian gallery. This juxtaposition of old and new, high and low, classical and contemporary creates a sensorial environment that keeps your eyes on alert during your stay. It is meant to be a transforming moment where you leave the usual behind and explore the new.
The Kaaterskill means the “creek of the tiger cat”.
The Farmhouse has a living room with a stone fireplace to share. Private areas include a cool, wrap around porch, stone patio, fully equipped kitchen with a stone floor, and a private deck surrounded by woods. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are at the guests use.
The Kaaterskill is super pet-friendly. Your pet will receive special attention and be provided with a little bed, bowl and pad.
Fashion shoots for international magazines have taken place on the stunning premises, and the inn is the favorite retreat of many trendsetters, artists, and influencers. Plan your wedding there, as many have done in search of a peaceful abode in the realm of nature. The lawn can accommodate big white tents and the ceremony can take place inside a clearing among the woods, attended by your friends and some of the local animals. You can sit on stone benches on special terraces built along the river with a glass of champagne, and even go for a swim any time of the year at the creek.
Take advantage of the special mid-week rates as the region is full of things to discover all year round. There are many fine dining locations around the inn. For a quick evening meal, try the Van Winkle pub in Catskill or for a more cerebral experience, wander to the Red Onion.
Near Hudson, Olana, Woodstock, Saugerties, and Hunter Mountain for skiing, your stay at the Kaaterskill Inn will be memorable and a wonderful memory for years to come.
For information go to https://thekaaterskill.com
424 High Fall Rd Ext.
Catskill, NY 12414