3 ways to stretch your dollars at Mohonk Mountain House

betty ming liu Travel 10 Comments

I can hardly believe that I just spent $1,129.16 for a one-night, mother-daughter getaway to a top-rated spa. No regrets! In fact, if I’ve got a glow, it’s probably due to the benefits of quality bonding time with my kid, the facial — and a chance to splurge like it’s 2003 again.

But seriously, our trip offered very good value and I would definitely recommend Mohonk Mountain House in New York’s lush Hudson Valley. We just got back from this century-old, historic Victorian castle that’s been in the Smiley family for generations. They’ve pumped millions of dollars into updating their New Paltz resort with a lovely spa that gets high marks from Conde Naste Traveller’s 2012 readers’ choice survey.

Even though the spa was fab, it’s totally possible to skip it and still have a great time. You don’t even have to stay at Mohonk to enjoy this famous  venue; day trippers are welcome, with rates for “day guests” who come to hike, boat, eat or spa. Another plus is the crowd. Everyone is very down-to-earth. No snotty beautiful people anywhere. Just regular folk. Tons of families with kids, couples of all ages and groups of friends hanging out.

Our basic bill-for-two was $520. I booked the cheapest room available and it was still a charmer. This price covered three meals at Mohonk’s food coma-inducing, all-you-can-eat buffets, valet parking, all tips, complimentary access to the pool, all boating, hiking trails and tours, fitness center yoga classes, evening campfires, movies and more.

The room was adorable — two twin beds with a nifty, compact full bathroom and private balcony where we’d sit in the rocking chairs and inhale the incredible Mohonk Lake view. So the total for everything mentioned up to this point breaks out to $260 per person for a 30-hour stay.

And here are three tips for getting even more for your money on that basic bill…

Tip #1: Go early and stay late. The Mohonk folks are exceedingly generous. While check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 1 p.m., overnight guests are welcome to arrive whenever. We showed up at 11 a.m. and didn’t leave until after taking two late afternoon yoga classes. Next time, we will go even earlier to take advantage of the guided hikes and strolls that tend to start around 10 a.m.

Tip #2: Spend $25 to enjoy the spa facilities. The spa is such a peaceful, pretty oasis. There’s an outdoor hot mineral pool, a solarium completele with cozy furniture and fireplace, and an indoor veranda featuring lounge chairs overlooking the woods.

Tip #3: Book way in advance and look for deals. A two-night weekend stay is the the norm. Then again, I called months before our scheduled Sunday night stay and was told that booking ahead of time for one night was sometimes okay, depending on the time of year, etc. There are also periodic special deals on the website, although getting in during peak season is tough. In fact, it’s only August now and Mohonk’s three-night minimum for Thanksgiving weekend is already sold out.


Now back to the spa….what a treat! Taking photos wasn’t allowed. Instead, here is the link to the spa menu of more than 80 services. The listed prices include tax and tip, which was a relief for me. Gabi really enjoyed both her 50-minute, $120 teen massage and the $80, 25-minute teen facial. As for me, I had my first facial in six years, a 50-minute, $120 deep-cleansing that was very refreshing.

We had so much fun that we hated to leave. Mohonk is such a magical place. And someday, we will be back again.  :)


Comments 10

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  2. Mohonk is one of my most favorite places but haven’t been there for years because of the cost. But now you’ve convinced me that it *is* good value and for that Betty, thank you!

  3. Oh dear! Just back from Paris and now this! Whence this mad quest for luxury and self indulgence? Next it will be the royal suite at the Plaza and scattering diamonds to the multitude – limousines and white tie evenings at the opera. I can see the headlines – “International Blogger Sets NY Society On Ear – Shows ‘Em How Its Done.” Well, recalling an earlier post of yours, at least you do have the appropriate shoes! Enjoy! We only live once but as Mae West said “if we do it right, once is enough.”

  4. Betty! You’re working hard for the money and know how to spend it! Gabi is a lucky girl. :) Thanks for sharing this wonderful insight. I, too, am now convinced as to the “value” of the pricing, which initially felt too steep for me. I’m gonna throw this place on my travel bucket list.

  5. Gosh! One of my early dates with Tony was a day trip to Mohonk. We had a fantastic time hiking & my interpretation of mountain climbing : ) We haven’t been back in a long, long time and just recently talked about going again. Hope I can find a good deal. Thanks for the tips!!!

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    It’s 9 p.m. and after a full day at work, shopping groceries afterwards, making dinner, etc., I am FINALLY sitting back down to visit with you all. So this is what it’s like to be a full-time working mom. Wowwwww…

    Susan, a friend of mine who has known Mohonk for years says that food is much improved from the past. So that’s another form of good value. I hope you go. Bet it’s beautiful in the fall with the autumn leaves. I’d be interested in checking out the winter scene too.

    Toby, you notice everything! Becoming a full-time employee in 2012 — for the first time in 16 years — has me on a splurge. I will calm down soon but for now, it’s all about pent-up demand. :)

    Christina, if you go, please let me know what you think. I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to afford to return but at least Gabs and I had one great night there!

    Aw, June, that’s so cute about you and your honey hiking. Not an easy adventure for a city girl! If you find a deal, let me know! Here’s a link to the current seasonal deals — $224 per night, with meals included — that sounds pretty good to me. Might be worth making a call!

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  9. I was fortunate to stay at Mohonk Mountain house in every season as a guest of the house because they had me come as a speaker. I worked for Rodale Press and the Smileys and the Rodales were friends. I went in place of Bob Rodale one time to give a talk about walking and was invited back several times. I took my two sons and a friend . It was awesome when it was totally family owned and before the spa. Now the prices are off putting to many people. But your suggestion is quite true. If you go early and hang around late it’s worth it! It’s a one of a kind experience. Before cell phones people were upset that there were no phones in the rooms and it can be a bit noisy until everyone goes to sleep as there is little in the way of insulation between rooms and transoms over the doors are often open for air flow. ( no air conditioning when I was there 30 some years ago. ) I would love to take my sons and their families for a couple of days. It might not cost more than a cruise! They had staff to take care of your kids when I was there; fishing and catching salamanders etc. I knew I was incredibly lucky to have the experience! Maybe during the pandemic we can get a midweek room for a night!

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      Maggie, I’m sorry that I’m so late to reply. I hope you’re finding family support during the pandemic!The Mohonk you find today might be less noisy. The folks there have done a lot of renovations/remodeling.

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