News

This Scandinavian-Inspired Glamping Hotel Just Opened in the Catskills

The Eastwind Oliverea Valley Hotel opened earlier this year, and we got to check it out.

Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley

Forget about watching football or catching up to your favorite TV show. At the new¬†Eastwind Oliverea Valley Hotel, there’s no TVs anywhere.

Rather than a dooming oversight, the absence of screens is an intentional, aspirational choice. “There are no TVs anywhere because the whole point is to disconnect,” Bjorn Boyer, co-founder of Eastwind together with Julija Stoliarova and Dan Cipriani, tells Thrillist.

Eastwind Oliverea Valley Hotel opened on January 13 in Upstate New York, and it offers a luxurious, yet nature-immersive alternative to the usual mountain getaways from the Big Apple. Tucked away in McKinley Hollow in the Catskills, roughly two and a half hours away from the city, this is Eastwind’s third boutique location, and it joins already-operational upstate hotels in Windham and Lake Placid.

Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist

Think about it as a proper glamping experience, which we got to enjoy thanks to a partnership between New York State and several Catskills partners. Featuring 27 cabins-including three cabin-like suites and distinctive A-frame structures, Eastwind Oliverea welcomes guests into a secluded space aimed at making you both relax and reconnect with nature and its flavours. If you’re up for the vibe but aren’t really sure about sleeping in a fancy wooden tent, Eastwind has thought about you too, and you can choose to book one of 12 hotel rooms for a less adventurous, yet still immersive experience.

Inspired by Scandinavian architecture, the gorgeous A-frame cabins and the king-sized rooms and suites teleport guests into a cozy heaven with a natural, wooden feel. All A-frame cabins, which are divided into Lushna Cabins, Lushna Cabins with Decks, Lushna Suites, and Double Lushnas, feature comfy queen beds, while the other rooms are king-sized. Regardless of the room you choose, though, one thing is for sure-nature will be all around you. Away from the city, you’ll be able to relax to the lulling sounds of the nearby creek and woods.

Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist

To make the unwinding experience more accessible, Eastwind Oliverea’s signature amenities are available to every guest. A relaxation room as well as two saunas-including an infrared one and a hot one-are ready to use if you need to recharge your batteries after a long day of outdoor activities, and guests are able to access the saunas at any time of the day and night.

All the A-frame cabins are scattered around the side of the hollow’s hill, and they overlook the plain surrounding the main house. At the centre of it, a welcoming fire pit stocked with wood logs and equipped with comfy Adirondack chairs serves as yet another convivial gathering spot for guests to enjoy In addition to the warmth of the fire, guests can bundle up in one of the many blankets available, and even choose to roast their marshmallows in an authentic mountain-cabin fashion with one of the available s’mores kits.

Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley
Photo courtesy of Eastwind Oliverea Valley

If Eastwind Oliverea wants to recreate a familiar, nature-focused, and grounded vibe, its dining experience surely matches those aspects, too. In a proper forage-to-table approach, chefs and the kitchen team at Dandelion, the on-site restaurant and bar, make every dish from scratch, including a soft and chewy focaccia that is served with a very fragrant olive oil.

The menu, featuring many plant-forward combinations of internationally-inspired dishes, is never really the same. Some staples remain constant-including the house-made focaccia-while other ones, like the featured soup, changes roughly every week. If one wanted to sum up their meal experience-or, really, every dish-describing it as decadent, hearty, and warming would be spot-on. The house-made cavatelli with wild mushrooms and pecorino cheese is the pasta dish that you’d expect to enjoy after a long day of hiking, while the Thai coconut curry soup is just what you need to warm up from the inside out while a heavy snowfall coats the ground outside.

Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist

With a real fire crackling in the background by the windows while you indulge in tasty foods and boozy cocktails, it feels like you’re spending the night at your friend’s vintage family cabin. And just like at your friend’s house, at some point, food and drinks will stop coming, but you’ll still be able to hang, either at the table or plopped on the couch by the fire. While the Dandelion is open from 4‚Äď10 pm every day, the lounge and restaurant area is open 24/7 for every guest to enjoy.

Activities are also a huge part of the Eastwind Oliverea experience. With a few trails available and accessible directly from the hotel’s grounds, hiking through McKinley Hollow is one of the options if you’re looking to get some steps in while discovering the wilderness of the Catskills. “And if you get lost, you can always follow the Catskills’ rule of thumb,” Paul Schiavo, our licensed guide, told us halfway through our hike. “Which is to follow the sound of the water.”

Schiavo is part of the Catskills Outfitters team, the outdoor activity and experience √©quipe that works closely with Eastwind. During your Eastwind retreat, you can choose to participate in a series of guided activities offered by Catskills Outfitters. In addition to hiking and among other options, guests can learn or master the art of fly fishing and even snowshoe their way up to the hill’s top.

Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist
Serena Tara/Thrillist

The outdoors are not for everyone, though, and that’s okay, too. Yoga classes, along with seasonal workshops, are offered, and those looking to combine activities with their love for food can join in on fun foraging walks. In the spring, the hotel will also inaugurate its outdoor pool and seating area, where guests can lounge and relax in the mountain sun.

Currently, bourbon enthusiasts can participate in Eastwind Oliverea’s bourbon class, which is held on Saturday afternoons. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lightweight, though, it’s best to listen to the teacher’s advice, says Boyer. “There’s 14 drinks coming,” the teacher always warns the class. “Definitely don’t drink all of them!”

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

News

Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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