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As New York continues reopening following shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus, many city dwellers are eager to get away, even if just for a weekend. But with all the uncertainty still surrounding travel, many vacationers are looking to stay close to home.
Roughly two hours outside of Manhattan, the Catskills offer a scenic outdoor escape. The area has seen a resurgence in recent years as developers and hoteliers have been quick to revitalize hotels around the region in the hopes of attracting the next generation of urbanites looking for fresh air to go with their cup of locally sourced artisanal coffee.
Historically, the Catskills have been known as a spiritual retreat, from iconic Woodstock to the quaint town of Phoenicia. In the 1970s, everyone from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix frequented the area.
I’ve been vacationing in the Catskills for over a decade and watched the area not only evolve, but reclaim some of its former glory as the vacation destination of yesteryear. Most recently, my partner and I, along with our two dogs, made the 125-mile journey north along I-87 to the quiet hamlet of Shandaken for a few days of wintery vacation bliss. We didn’t know then what the months ahead would hold and that a global pandemic was on the horizon.
But now, after spending several months cooped up due to COVID-19, I’m more eager than ever to return to the charms and fresh mountain air, along with the plethora of lodging options, the Catskills provide.
You may be wondering if a hotel stay is safe right now. The answer depends on several factors, including the size of the hotel and how many other guests are staying there, as well as what precautions the hotel is taking. Many hotels have rolled out enhanced cleaning and safety policies over the last few months. However, it’s worth reading up on the specifics of a hotel’s policies before booking.
Of course, it’s important to know that without a vaccine, there’s no guarantee for safety when traveling. We talked to experts to weigh in on travel risks from renting a car to staying at hotels, but you should also consider your own risk factors and always follow guidelines from places like the CDC and WHO. Handwashing, wearing a mask in public areas, and practicing safe social distancing are all measures that should be taken no matter where you plan to go.
You may also want to consider a vacation rental in the area since experts have noted that stays in private rented homes may be safer due to fewer interactions with other people.
Prefer a vacation rental? Start here:
With those precautions in mind, I’ve curated a list of my top picks for hotels in the area, taking into consideration feedback from well-traveled friends, along with the ratings and reviews of trusted traveler sites like Trip Advisor and Booking.com. We’ve also noted updated COVID-19 protocols and procedures for each hotel to help you rest easier.