There’s something so dreamy about an escape to the mountains.
In the Hudson Valley, where the Catskills whisper of folklore and legends (Rip Van Winkle, anyone?), such a retreat is doubly alluring. After all, what could be more magical than a drive into the heart of the mountains, where towering green trees frame a landscape in which nature is free to run wild?
It’s within this treasured panorama that Eastwind Hotel & Bar finds its home. Located in Windham and only a short drive away from the mountain of the same name, the hotel is just as much of a paradise for skiers and snowboarders in winter as it is for campers and upstate escapists come summer. It’s a true Catskills gem, with panoramic views of Windham Mountain outside and a cozy, elegant atmosphere within.
Eastwind’s trademark elegance is exactly what co-founder Bjorn Boyer had in mind when he first brainstormed the hotel concept back in 2016. A hospitality professional with a finance background at leading hotel groups like AB Properties, Sydell Group, and NeueHouse, Boyer made the leap to start a hotel of his own in 2018. He and his wife, Julija Stoliarova, Eastwind’s creative director, had traveled to a number of boutique hotels, and they knew they could create a comparable venue of their own.
When they found their location in the Catskills, Boyer and Stoliarova knew it was the perfect place to craft the “home away from home” experience they envisioned. Along with partners Daniel Cipriani and John Burnett, the duo acquired the property in 2017, then spent the next nine months renovating it to prepare for its grand opening in June 2018. Since then, the group has embarked on another expansion to develop the grounds and make Eastwind even more of an all-in-one destination.
And a destination it certainly is. While Windham and Hunter Mountains are both a short drive away, visitors are hard-pressed to find a reason to leave the 20-acre property. On the grounds, 26 accommodation units range from regular hotel rooms to private camping units. Called lushnas, they’re distinctly Scandinavian-style units that are made with glamping in mind.
Each lushna is like a pint-sized version of a tiny home, although the 220 square feet feel cozy and just spacious enough. Guests can spend the night cozied up on the queen-sized bed, which comes covered in Frette linens and Faribault wool blankets. Pendelton robes await nearby, ready to wrap glampers in warmth after a luxurious shower – complete with Zenology bath products – in the private bathroom.
Need more space than the standard lushna affords? Eastwind’s lushna suites come with both a loft queen and a sofa bed, along with a private deck, fridge, and writer’s nook. Outside the lushnas, a private fire pit, outdoor shower, and hammock await for serious summertime relaxation.
For those who prefer more traditional accommodations, Eastwind’s main rooms are equally welcoming. Done in a similar Scandinavian vein, the rooms within the Bunk House and Hill House balance mid-century modern furniture with urban designs for an aesthetic that contrasts beautifully with the rugged exterior of the Hudson Valley landscape that surrounds it. Room sizes range from kings and suites to double queens and a charming writer studio that comes with its own desk, typewriter, and 270-degree views of the mountains.
“It’s a Scandinavian style that still feels like home,” Boyer observes.
In fact, this notion of home is integral to Eastwind now more than ever. Although the hotel closed for two and a half months during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, it reopened toward the end of May 2020 as a home away from home for travelers seeking an escape that’s only a drive – not a flight – away.
“We’ve seen a resurgence of interest,” Boyer says, highlighting the hotel’s secluded location in the Catskills as a major draw through the pandemic. “A lot of rooms are private entrance or standalone. You can be as close or as far away from others as you like.”
As far as onsite attractions go, the bikes, hammocks, and sauna are open to guests, with additional programming like yoga classes available as well.
Plus, did we mention the onside dining? On Friday and Saturday evenings, Eastwind Hotel & Bar delights guests with prix fixe dinner service in the lounge by reservation only. Guests receive invitations for dining a few days prior to arrival, and the menu fluctuates weekly to make the most of seasonal ingredients. In addition, overnight guests who want to grab a drink can sip on seasonal cocktails, wine, and beer via in-room delivery until 9 p.m. or anywhere on the property, including the picnic tables, firepits, hammocks. (Talk about the good life.)
And then there’s breakfast. For those who request it, Eastwind delivers breakfast baskets all week from 8-10:30 a.m. Inside the baskets, guests will find everything from fresh rolls and croissants to parfaits, eggs, honey and jam, seasonal fruit, coffee, and tea.
Beyond the Windham location, Eastwind recently debuted a location in Lake Placid as well. Coming in January 2023, it will add a destination in Oliverea Valley.
“[Eastwind] is a complete package that many people have forgotten about and are in the process of rediscovering,” Boyer observes. “We have everything to make it feel like home, all within reach from New York City.”
Eastwind Hotel & Bar