Emerson Resort & Spa
Pan-Asian Luxury in the Hudson Valley
When we used to talk about Woodstock—the Hudson Valley artist colony at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains—what always came to mind was the famous '60s music festival. No longer! Now, the Emerson Resort & Spa is first on our minds. The inn, which is located just outside Woodstock, with its pointed arched doorways, geometric patterns and exotic décor, is hardly a hippy-home stereotype. Nor is it a classic country cottage. And, it's nothing like the minimalist Manhattan hotels located only two hours away.
The inn features a welcoming and very luxe phantasmagorical Pan Asian ambiance. The interior décor—with its wooden trim and tapestries—mosaic glass tiles, mossy green, royal purple and glittery mustard gold colors extends throughout the main building into the spa and the three dining rooms: The Phoenix, The Catamount and the Spa Café. Its main architectural focal point is a pair of mammoth, 13-foot tall, carved 17th-century Rajasthani palace doors that lead to the spa.
The owner, Dean Gitter, purchased the doors and had them incorporated into the building as it was being constructed. His wife, co-owner Lynn Gitter, is responsible for the artwork throughout the property and actually painted the exotic elephants and lions and Indian-themed designs framed on the walls. A plethora of appealing accessories include Balinese statues, elephant heads and Indian deities adding to its authenticity.
The 26 royally-colored suites in the lofty Silk Road-inspired inn showcase lush canopy beds with hand-carved teak headboards. Ours was a two-story suite with a large living room with a fireplace, seating and dining areas and a private terrace that faces Esopus Creek, the stream that rushes through the wooded property. Bathrooms on both floors have Swiss Showers and there's an air-jetted tub in the downstairs' bath. Next door, there's an older, less-lavish, albeit newly-refurbished, pet-friendly 27-room lodge.
Within the regal spa doors off the main lobby of the inn, there's a buttery-hued leather seating area in the Relaxation Room. From here, doors continue out to a deck where the hot tub offers guests a view of both the stream and Mount Tremper, the region's major peak. The spa has ten treatment rooms including a wet room with Swiss and Vichy shower and a spacious VIP or couple's suite equipped with a tub and two massage tables. The spa facility includes saunas and steam showers and a 1,500-square-foot Nautilus fitness center; it offers fitness classes which are open both to hotel guests and members. Spa cuisine cooking classes are a particularly special treat.
Along with a traditional menu of spa services, therapies include Ayurvedic treatments such as Shirodhara, (50 minutes / $95). This ancient service begins with a marma-point facial and continues with a gentle stream of warm herbal infused oil onto the third eye (forehead) to quiet and calm the mind and soothe the senses. The oil is then massaged into the scalp, neck and shoulders. In addition to spa retreats, Emerson Resort is ideal for family reunions and weddings.