Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Stay at Mohonk Mountain House

Thank you all for your kind congratulations and well wishes about K and I's recent wedding! I can't reply to every comment individually, so I wanted to make sure to thank everyone. 

As part of my mom and sister's recent visit - our first time seeing each other in person in nearly two years - I treated them to a few nights' stay at Mohonk Mountain House ("Mohonk"). It was an extremely fancy outing, one I would probably have considered solidly out of budget were it not for spending $0 on travel in 2020 and the earlier months of 2021, after already saving up a substantial "travel budget" for that trip to Taiwan and Japan K and I were supposed to take back in April 2020. Mohonk was even featured as a location for an exclusive business conference in an episode of Billions, so that's how you know it's really fancy! 

It was maybe impulsive of me to go ahead and spend a large percentage of the money I originally saved for two weeks in Taiwan and Japan on three nights at Mohonk. But it'd been so long since I saw my mom and sister that I wanted to treat us to something special. And we all really enjoyed our time at Mohonk, the grounds are absolutely beautiful; the hotel is charming and comfortable; and the food is delicious and served in generous portions as part of the all-inclusive price of a stay. (Alcoholic beverages are extra, of course.) My mom and I aren't quite as accustomed to moderately strenuous hikes as my sister, and we still had plenty to do. 

One thing to be aware of when researching a potential stay at Mohonk: They currently charge 15% in service fees on top of the entire base price of the stay. They refer to it as an "Administrative Fee" in the fine print when booking, and note that it covers rooms, dining, (non-alcoholic) beverage, and room service. While they don't refer to this fee as a gratuity, they do note in the fine print that there's no need to offer gratuities or voluntary tips on top of these 15% fees. The fee definitely wasn't a surprise, it's quite clearly disclosed when booking. But if I wasn't used to significant resort fees from some other trips I've taken in the past, I might've felt a little sticker shock. 

COVID safety-wise, because most activities at Mohonk are outdoors, it's possible to make it an extremely COVID-safe trip. Guests and employees are all required to wear masks while walking around the hallways in the hotel. It's only if you choose to partake in indoor dining in the dining room that you'll spend time unmasked, and around other unmasked individuals. I actually know someone who stayed at Mohonk last summer, long before COVID vaccines were available, and back then all dining was apparently room service-only. These days, you can still choose to have all your meals via room service, and there's no extra charge as long as you order during regular mealtimes. 

The cost of a stay at Mohonk includes three-course meals at lunch and dinner and a broad breakfast menu with both lighter and heavier options. All the food was quite good - some dishes stood out more than the others, including a really lovely panna cotta at lunch and a white chocolate ganache with fruit at dinner - and it was often a fair bit more generously portioned than I would expect from a comparable restaurant menu in NYC. 

As far as I could tell, many guests right now are opting for sit-down meals in the dining room.* The dining room can get particularly full at dinner, though tends to be closer to half full at breakfast and lunch. Tables are spaced six feet apart and the dining room is quite large and has very high ceilings and feels about as well-ventilated as a large dining room can get, but it does get full to capacity at dinner. I've been indoor dining in NYC so I was fully comfortable with eating indoors, and because my mom and sister were also fine with it, we took all our meals in the dining room. 

We had a lovely time at Mohonk, and I would definitely recommend a trip there as a very special long weekend-type getaway for couples or families, including families with young children. All the activities feel very family-friendly, and you definitely don't need to be accustomed to strenuous hikes or anything like that to have fun. But if you go out there as a couple, it'd also feel like a nice, romantic getaway. The grounds are just so beautiful!

* In NYC, local law currently requires that restaurants, bars, and the like check all guests over age 12 for proof of vaccination before allowing them to dine indoors. That's not the law anywhere else in the state, to my knowledge, so it's not currently the rule at Mohonk.

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