Insider's Guide to Spas
Rocking chairs overlooking mohonk lake at mohonk mountain house
Photo by Tony Giammarino


Mohonk Mountain House

Mary Bemis

  • Mohonk Mountain House
  • New Paltz, NY
  • 877-877-2664

In 1869, an enterprising man by the name of Albert Smiley purchased a lake, a tavern, and 300 acres of untouched terrain. Smiley’s mission was to create a resort that provided “opportunities for recreation and renewal of body, mind, and spirit in a beautiful and natural setting.” Over the years additional land was purchased, offering a spectacular natural respite for guests. Today, Mohonk Mountain House is set amidst 40,000 acres of preserve land in the Shawangunk Mountains—and to this day is owned and operated by the Smiley family. On its 125th anniversary, the resort received an award from the United Nations Environment Program recognizing the family and Mohonk “for generations of dedicated leadership and commitment to the protection and enhancement of the environment and for their inestimable contribution to the cause of peace, justice, and sustainable human development.”

Mohonk continues to be a haven for healing and a safe touchstone. It’s one of the best places to relax, renew, and come away with new tools for a better you. There are a number of seasonal outdoor activities (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and hiking) as well as a state-of-the-art spa that offers nature-inspired treatments using indigenous materials. A new spa series called “Modern Living” addresses the burgeoning technologies and hectic pace of our lifestyles and offers new solutions for daily stress through innovative treatments such as “Texting Tension Tamer” and “Breathe Deep and Be Well.” If that isn’t enough to relax you, there are 600-plus rocking chairs set on porches with contemplative views. Nina Smiley, Ph.D., marketing director, wife of Albert Smiley III, and co-author of The Three Minute Meditator, leads some of the most inspirational workshops that give guests the necessary tools for healing and empowerment. She’s the expert behind details such as the “meditation extension” where guests, in the privacy of their own room, may make a quick phone call where they will hear a short recording of guided mindfulness to help clear their minds.

You’ll find more than 40 theme programs throughout the year at Mohonk, including the ever-popular Yoga and Meditation weekend that’s offered twice a year. Rates include meals and most activities.

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.