I’m lucky to have a place in the Catskill Mountains that I occasionally rent out through Red Cottage Inc, which has a LOT of great houses, like the one above. The deals are pretty great, if there are more than two of you. Give them a look. If there’s just two of you, there are also some gay-friendly boutique hotels just a couple hours away… in the Catskills, just over the river in PA and out at the end of Long Island in Montauk. (Montauk has become the Williamsburg of the Hamptons in the last 5 years – hipster, and cheap – but only by comparison to the Hamptons). Click on the name for each hotel’s website and details.
The Hotel Fauchère
Milford, PA – My old friend Sean Strub refurbished The Hotel Fauchère’s 16 guest rooms restaurant and grounds a few years back. It has an illustrious history that dates back to the Civil War (it’s hosted MANY famous guests including Mae West, Babe Ruth and three U.S. Presidents) The place is quite lux too (think Four Seasons, in a quaint river town) with plush furnishings, marble bathrooms and Frette linens. There is plenty to do in the area but if you don’t want to leave, there’s a fantastic restaurant (the original place was started by Delmonico’s chef Louis Faucheré, so they have to live up to the legacy, Bar Luis (with it’s giant Chris Makos photo of John Lennon and Andy Warhol) and a menu of spa services for a nice “room-cation.”
Barryville, NY – Yes, that name is a bit misleading, the place isn’t a joke at all. The Stickett Inn is in Barryville, New York, right on the Delaware River. I used to live there. It’s run by my ex, a film & TV art director, Roswell Hamrick, and his attention to design and detail shows. It sits right the center of town (Such as it is, as it’s one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” places.) right on Route 97 where there are bars, restaurants, and shops. There are 4 suites: Eat (with a full kitchen, sitting area and private outdoor deck), soak (with a giant feed trough soaking tub), Drink (with a bar), and Steam (with a steam shower and cold plunge tub in the bedroom). Plus a 10 person jacuzzi, just out the door. (Tell them I sent you!)
The Arnold House
Livingston Manor, NY – This place JUST opened. It is 5 minutes from me and I have to admit, I haven’t been yet but I was a fan of their former restaurant. The Arnold House is a country retreat that’s set on 7 acres and with nine guest rooms, a Tavern restaurant and spa treatment facilities. They have bonfires at night and live music in their “BBQ Barn”. The structure is 100 years old and having just undergone a renovation, it represents the eras it has served its guests starting with the rooming houses of the 20s, through the booming Catskill Resort era of the 40s, 50s and 60s up to the country modern sensibility of today. I know it’s going to be my new favorite place, that will be fun for summer dinners and Sunday brunches when I don’t want to cook, a place to put overflow guests as well as a refuge in the too-long winters in the Catskills.
Roxbury, NY – This comparison has probably been made before, but The Roxbury is The Madonna Inn of the Catskills. Gregory Henderson and Joseph Massa bought a cache of exotic treasures from the estate auction of a mysterious neighbor’s lifetime in the American Foreign Service and it inspired this latest hotel expansion. I’ll let Gregory explain; “From the moment we first saw this incredible stash of exotic tchotchkes from all over the world, we knew we had the inspiration for our next project… when you combine those treasures with jaw-dropping room surprises like showering next to a golden ancient Egyptian sarcophagus inside a 400-gallon saltwater aquarium and secret passageways and way-opulent furnishings and fixtures, well, then you have the solution to our never-ending dilemma of how to give our guests even more wow-factor room experiences.” Does that give you an idea? This place is over-the-top-of-the-top. The Wizard of Oz room is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at their website and check out the variety of room decor and themes. Not sure what else there is to do in the area, but what more do you want? Bring your phone for an Instagram-athon!
Kate’s Lazy Meadow
Mount Tremper, NY – Kate’s Lazy Meadow (and the new Kate’s Lazy Desert) are the award-winning hotels created by Kate Pierson of the B-52’s and her partner, Monica Coleman. I’ve know Kate for a few decades now and both places reflect her sense of fun combined with her real love for nature. The now 10 year-old Lazy Meadow is near Woodstock in the Catskills with 9 atomically mid-century modern suites on the Esopus Creek and 3 satellite cottages, all within 5 miles of the main property. Lazy Desert is in the desert (duh) near Joshua Tree and Palm Springs with 6 vintage Airstream Trailer “experiences” created by the artist team of Maberry-Walker for a “campy” outdoor experience.
The Surf Lodge
Montauk, NY – Built in 1967, The Surf Lodge is hipster beach heaven. (Think Ace-by-the-Sea meets 60s Malibu in the movies) This is THE spot in the Hamptons to meet up with everyone you already know in Brooklyn. It’s a three-hour drive to get there but if you actually surf, this is your go-to spot. And if not, you don’t have to leave the Lodge to get that new Montauk vibe. You can just sit in the bar, lobby or on the deck, have cocktails and live out your fantasy Surfin’ USA weekend.