First established in 2018 at the foot of Windham ski resort in New York's Catskills mountains, Eastwind Hotels is a growing boutique enterprise by hoteliers Bjorn Boyer and Julija Stoliarova inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics and the natural beauty of upstate New York. Now with three locations, including a beautiful Lake Placid property and the all-new Oliverea Valley resort, which opened in January 2023, Eastwind easily makes the shortlist for top Catskills hotels for a weekend getaway (a list itself that's growing longer by the day as many Pandemic-era daydreams come to fruition).
On a recent weekend I made the three hour trip from New York City north to Eastwind Oliverea Valley, set among the lust rolling hills of the southern Catskills. Located in Big Indian, NY, the sprawling getaway features standalone cabins and mini A-frame cabins (all prefabricated by Slovenian manufacturer Lushna), as well as hotel guest rooms, onsite saunas, outdoor fire pits, plus a bar and restaurant. In other words, it's an outdoor lover's ideal glamping retreat.
Located just 30 miles north of the property is the brand's first Catskills location, Eastwind Windham, while the second location, Eastwind Lake Placid is located in the Adirondack town of the same name not far from the famed Olympic training facility. All three properties feature similar hygge sentiments and design, but Eastwind Oliverea Valley is the brand's first ground-up build, and the first I had the opportunity to visit.
Like the other two properties, Eastwind Oliverea Valley features a number of accommodations spread throughout its 40 picturesque acres. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the 150-square-foot Lushna A-frame, a space just big enough for its plush queen bed, to the 400-square-foot Lushna Suite, a luxury cabin with a loft bed, writer's nook, and kitchenette, to the spacious Fern Suite located in the property's hotel.
Each Lushna cabin is finished in natural wood grain and outfitted with Frette linens, wool blankets, and vintage furnishings. Each A-frame comes equipped with a private bathroom located steps away from its corresponding sleeping unit while the Lushna Suites feature an en-suite bathroom. Elsewhere, the hotel rooms feature private entrances, en-suite bathrooms, king beds, generous windows, and, in some rooms, a lofted net bed.
My stay in one of the Lushna A-frames felt akin to sleeping in a wooden tent. It's a unique, cozy experience with beautiful morning views out of the triangular picture window but, like a tent, space is limited. The adjoining deck and luxe outhouse provide some stretching room (and a lovely shower) but tall friends, take heed: a Lushna Suite or hotel room might be a better fit.
For nourishment, both the Windham and Lake Placid locations feature a bar and lounge with seasonal bites, but Oliverea Valley's Dandelion restaurant is an attraction for Eastwind guests and locals alike. Led by Cipriani and located in the hotel's alpine-esque lodge, Dandelion focuses on fresh, local cuisine, with many of the veggie-forward dishes sourced from nearby farms or foraged around the property. Lunch one day included a roasted heirloom tomato and burrata tart, stone fruit and wild arugula salad, a mezze platter, a backyard salad, and for dessert, fresh fruit. For foodies, it might be the reason to pick Oliverea Valley over a stay at Windham or Lake Placid.
A stay at any of the three locations will include a breakfast basket served daily by request. It comes delivered to your door and stocked with freshly-baked croissants, yogurt granola parfait, eggs, honey and jam, orange juice, and more–including a full liter of coffee kept hot in a classic Stanley thermos.
Elsewhere, Eastwind Hotel & Bar infuses wellness and adventure activities throughout the properties too, including steam and infrared saunas, complimentary bike rentals, and swimming pools at the Lake Placid and Oliverea Valley set to open in Summer 2023. Not to mention quick access to the sprawling Upstate backcountry from an ultra-comfy home base.
While prices skew more luxe vacation than glamping trip, if you're prepared to splurge, Eastwind delivers everything it promises: a fantastical and restful escape into nature, with all the power to transport you back to the very best parts of summer camp (including an awesome staff). This time though, the cafeteria is serving fresh ramp pesto alongside an herb-infused cocktail.