When I looked up, all I could see were stars.
From the wooden porch in front of our room, I tilted my head skyward and there they were: the constellations glittering in the mountain dark, Orion’s Belt positioned directly above the painted wood of the hotel restaurant. We’ve truly escaped the city now, I thought.
An escape from the city is exactly what Eastwind Hotel Oliverea Valley in the Catskills offers. Nestled in a valley on the edge of Big Indian Wilderness in New York, the boutique property isn’t your traditional hotel. In fact, calling Eastwind Oliverea Valley a “hotel” almost seems to do it a disservice; it feels more like an immersive experience. Eastwind is not just somewhere to sleep while you explore the surrounding area – although there’s plenty to do in the region if you want to – but a place to truly slow down and relax.
Spread across the hillside, Eastwind Hotel Oliverea Valley – the newest of three Eastwind Hotel outposts in New York – has 27 rooms, ranging from glamping-style A-frame Lushna cabins and larger standalone suites to a handful of hotel rooms.
Arriving in the darkness to stars and snow late on a Friday night, my husband and I eased into our weekend getaway by enjoying a cocktail while slouched in comfy vintage chairs near the fire in Dandelion, the hotel restaurant and bar.
When I stepped outside the next morning, the only sounds were the crunch of my boots on snow, the burble of the creek nearby, and a woodpecker drilling in the distance. I swear I could physically feel my shoulders relax as I walked our puppy, Winston, around the grounds, and watched the tips of the trees turn golden in the rising sunlight.
We were staying in a Lower Valley King room, a short walk through the snow from the reception and restaurant.
Home to a giant king bed and an almost floor-to-ceiling window where you could watch the world and the elements go by – Winston was particularly taken with the heated window seat! – our room felt like it had sprung from the pages of a design magazine.
Eastwind’s style feels decidedly Scandinavian, with exposed wood and big-picture windows contrasted with the soft textures of patterned rugs and vintage Mid Century modern furniture. Everything in the room (and the hotel at large) has been personally sourced by the owners, from the vintage furniture to the second-hand books, and what’s impressive is that all the pieces work together in perfect sync, as if they were meant to sit together all along. In our room alone there was a solid wooden vintage writing desk that I loved, nature-inspired prints on the wall, and illustrated nature books that dated from the 1970s and 80s.
Our day started in the room with an Eastwind Hotel breakfast basket, which can be hand-delivered to your door at a time of your choosing. The basket was filled with a flask of freshly brewed coffee; glass bottles of milk and orange juice; warm, just-baked pastries and jam; hard-boiled eggs; yoghurt, honey, and granola; and a selection of fruit. It was more than enough to start our day off on the right foot, and quite frankly felt like the height of luxury.
On the co-founder Bjorn’s recommendation, we took off after breakfast to the West Kill Trailhead for a morning of easy hiking along the West Kill River.
The snowy trail led us to Diamond Notch Falls, and the drive there and back took us through small villages; along rocky roadsides with icicles clinging to the edges; and past farms with red barns in fields that made me think of old American movies. We stopped off at Phonecia Diner for lunch on the way back (it’s something of an institution in the region, having been around since 1962), before returning to Eastwind for an afternoon of, well, doing absolutely nothing.
While my husband and the dog retreated to the room, I made my way through the snow to the edge of the grounds, and spent a glorious hour in the traditional Scandinavian sauna. It was just big enough for one (or maybe two) people; with no phone signal or internet access, I could truly switch off, and the contrast between the steamy sauna and freezing air when I stepped back outside was invigorating, to put it mildly!
Feeling refreshed from our morning hike and afternoon of relaxation, we decided to stay for dinner at Dandelion.
The food here is seasonal and locally sourced, the menu a mix of small plates and mains. From freshly-baked focaccia and venison sausages, to Gochujang short ribs that fell apart on contact with a fork and a soft blood-orange sponge cake for dessert, everything we ate was delicious. As someone with a famously sweet tooth, possibly my favourite part of the meal was the fact that we could order a s’mores kit from the kitchen after dinner, and toast our marshmallows on the couch by the fire.
As we relaxed in the restaurant and lounge area, you could see that a community was already brewing at Oliverea Valley: the staff chatted easily with all the guests, locals popped in to have a drink at the bar, and friends gathered around the communal table in the restaurant. Guests ranged from couples with dogs to parents with children, and I could imagine this being the perfect place for a writing retreat, too. (After all, those vintage desks in the hotel rooms are already set up for it.)
Before our breakfast basket arrived the next morning, I went for another crisp walk in the snow. The comforting smell of the wood-burning fire filtered through the air, putting me in mind of childhood Brownie excursions and the previous evening’s s’mores. We had only been away from home for about 36 hours, but we were leaving feeling so refreshed that it felt like much longer.
Because whether you want to cosy up in front of the indoor fire with a book or board-game, warm up in the wood-cabin sauna after a hike in the snow, or enjoy a cocktail at the bar, I can confirm that Eastwind Hotel Oliverea Valley is a place to linger.
In the warmer months, there’ll be a swimming pool, guided foraging walks, and bike rentals too. But the beauty of this Eastwind Hotel is that you don’t have to do anything at all: you can simply slow down and soak up the serenity of the place you find yourself in.
NEED TO KNOW
How do I get there? The easiest way to get to Eastwind Hotel Oliverea Valley is to drive. It’s just over two hours north-west of New York City in upstate New York, and there are plenty of spaces to stop for food or a potter about along the route – we had dinner in the town of Kingston on the way there, and lunch on the way back.
How much does it cost? Room rates start at $279 per night, but can vary depending on your room/cabin choice and the time of year, so check out the hotel booking page for the most up-to-date information. (And make sure to keep an eye on the Eastwind Hotel Instagram account and newsletter for any deals – we were able to make use of a great discount code for our stay in January 2023!)
What do I need to bring? If you’re there in the winter, a pair of winter boots and warm clothes will be essential if you want to spend time outside. And a swim suit is a good idea all year round – you’ll need it for the sauna and the swimming pool! Other than that, everything is catered for: communication takes place with the hotel via email and text, and the property is cashless, with everything being added to your final bill when you leave.
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