A business trip may be all about work, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for play. When you’re in a city for a job or meeting, why not take a mini vacation before or after professional commitments?
Welcome to “Great Escapes,” a new column exploring notable properties in nature-centric settings that are near cities and worth a trip out of town. Go for a night or linger longer, but definitely take that escape.
We’re kicking off with the New York area and the four hotels that follow. They’re all easy to get to, just two hours or less from the city by car. They’re also reachable by train or bus.
Staatsburg, New York
The renowned Mexican hospitality brand Habitas has a loyal repeat clientele who favor the eco-chic aesthetic and authentic sense of place at every property. Its entry into North America with a recently opened Hudson Valley resort is shaping up to be no different. Hospitality luminary André Balazs, operator of iconic spots such as Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, is a partner in the property, which is ideal to visit any time of year.
Partake in foraging, hiking, yoga or breathwork classes, massages and scenic bike rides. Or enjoy Habitas’ diverse programs such as communal family meals, concerts with artists in residence, and hands-on workshops. The dining menus feature ingredients from local farms while the bar pays tribute to craft beers and wines from New York.
Gardiner, New York
Auberge Resorts sets the gold standard for memorable getaways, and Wildflower Farms in the Hudson Valley is no exception. Situated on 140 acres surrounded by the Shawangunk Mountains and open fields, the property is a destination unto itself with an outstanding spa, seasonal restaurant, farm center and amenities such as year-round outdoor hot tubs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a 3,000-square-foot fitness studio and myriad trails for picturesque walks and snow-shoe treks. You can also take a cooking class, go foraging or hit Mohonk Preserve to rock climb or hike.
Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
Eighteen uniquely designed cottages are a highlight of a visit to Winvian Farm. Hang your hat in the Log Cabin, perhaps, featuring a rustic wood aesthetic, or go for the Helicopter, a restored 1968 authentic Pelican-chopper-turned-luxury-hideaway. There’s also a genuine tree house, a New England-style home and so on. The 113-acre resort also offers a 5,000-square-foot spa featuring restorative therapies and a fine dining restaurant where executive chef Chris Eddy creates meals on the spur of the moment depending on what’s in season from Winvian’s organic three-acre farm. Activities include fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, biking, snowshoeing and cooking classes.
Shou Sugi Ban House
Water Mill, New York
Located in the Hamptons, Shou Sugi Ban House bills itself as the area’s first destination spa and wellness retreat. A visit here is designed around recharging your mind and body, which it truly does. You’ll feel relaxed as soon as you enter the property and are greeted by an oversized Buddha statue with a peaceful smile.
The stay is personalized to your preferences and can be as full or open-ended as you like. Go for a sunrise meditation or beach walk, take a turn in the innovative biohacking lab, or try a challenging fitness class such as the stretch-and-balance. A spa treatment is a must, as is a dip in the saltwater pool. In between doing everything or nothing, savor the delicious vegetable- and seafood-forward cuisine courtesy of Mads Refslund, a cofounder of the famed Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen.