Hidden in a placid pocket of Upstate New York, The Dutchess is a rustic retreat designed to remedy the pace of modern life. Known to keep a low profile, the cluster of farmhouses is in the Hudson Valley, a thickly forested region that inspired a generation of Romantics known as the Hudson River School. Spend a weekend here and you, too, will rekindle your love affair with nature, getting green fingered on the biodynamic farm, taking soothing sound baths and rediscovering your natural rhythm in the spa. After sundowners and dinner made from the farm’s organic produce, you’ll bed down beneath beam-vaulted ceilings with the scent of lavender, chamomile and palo santo in the air. Waking to dewy fields the next morning, you’ll know full well why guests want this hotel to remain the best-kept secret in the state.
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A parting gift of organic goodies from Chef Mark (during winter) or fresh seasonal vegetables from the farm
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £378.30 ($533), including tax at 12.125 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $26.00 per booking on check-out.
Rates exclude a light breakfast ($25 a person), usually granola, fruit, a baked option like banana bread and something savoury like eggs. Everything in the breakfast is either grown on site or comes from a farm nearby.
Every visit has a custom-made program that will include activities like yoga, meditation, wellness talks and farming classes.
The Dutchess closes from time to time, but the dates aren’t set in stone. Call our Smith24 team for the most up-to-date availability.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout; tea and coffee in the pantry. In rooms: minibar; Aesop and Prncpls bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We’re fans of the King Suite, which has a cosy living room, a bathroom with a soaking tub and a walk-in shower, and views of the biodynamic farm and rolling hills beyond.
The spa has three treatment rooms and two Ayurvedic steam cabinets. In keeping with the farm’s focus on wellness and holism, the therapists provide a wide range of treatments, including Swedish massage, reflexology, energy healing and craniosacral therapy sessions (book your pampering sessions in advance). There’s also a large studio space used for classes, which are specially curated for each weekend – they might include yoga, meditation, chi gong or sound healing experiences.
The farm is refreshingly tech light (there are no TVs, for instance), so bring that book you’ve been meaning to read.
All of the common areas are wheelchair accessible. Some of the guest rooms have adapted bathrooms, too.
All ages are welcome, but the Dutchess isn’t designed with children in mind. There’s only one cot available, so be sure to request it well in advance of arrival. Babysitting is available from $30 an hour; two days’ notice is needed when booking.
All of the produce used in meals is either grown on site or sourced from local farms. The fruit and vegetables are organic, and the meat is always free range.
Dinner is an egalitarian affair, making each table as good as the next.
The restaurant has an inherently casual feel, but the Dutchess does attract those who excel at effortless style; Scandi designs will keep you right.
The farmhouse makes a showcase of its own organic produce, demonstrating the quality that comes from farming with an eco-conscious approach. Combining the Dutchess' own bounty with free-range meat from nearby farms, chef Mark Margiotta whips up hearty, flavoursome dishes that are always gluten and dairy-free – but creative and inspired enough that you wouldn’t notice. Meals are usually only served on weekends.
Spiced teas, matcha lattes and hot chocolates will keep you sustained until sunset, when guests often turn their attention to the house cocktails, which change throughout the seasons.
Breakfast is served from 8am to 10am. The private restaurant's open on the weekends for lunch (from noon) and dinner (8pm). Drinks are served at the bar until 10pm.
The Dutchess takes its name from its location – leafy Dutchess County in Upstate New York.
Most flights from the UK touch down at JFK International, but Newark is also an option. It takes around two hours to drive from either airport to the hotel. If you’re coming from within the the US, Albany International Airport is closer, an 80-minute drive from the hotel. Private charters can land at Hudson Valley Regional Airport, just 25 minutes by car.
The hotel’s in a rural location and public transport is thin on the ground, so having your own set of wheels will make getting around much easier. If you want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange it.
Helicopters can sometimes land on the property. You’ll need to let staff know in advance so they can have the landing cleared by the local authorities.
Worth getting out of bed for
Staying at the Dutchess is all about finding a more natural pace of life. City dwellers in particular will revel in the novelty of waking to dewy fields and the cool, clean air of tree-swathed Dutchess County. After breakfast, you might have a yoga or meditation class, go hiking in the surrounding woods, or get your hands dirty on the biodynamic farm, learning how to grow organic produce and even picking your own vegetables for dinner. After a soothing sound bath or spa session in the afternoon, gather around the fire and toast the evening with a round of mezcal juleps – a Dutchess special. If you’re looking for a scenic spot for an easy hike or bike ride, try leafy game refuge Ferncliff forest. There’s a tall fire tower at the heart of the preserve, rewarding those that take the stairs with sweeping views in all directions. For more challenging trails, ascend into the rugged Catskill Mountains, which were often the muse for the Hudson River School landscape artists, drawn by the region’s scenic waterfalls and forested peaks. In summer, you can swim in the large pool at the foot of the Vernooy Kill Falls, which are far less intimidating than their name would suggest. Just down the road is the town of Hyde Park, home to a mansion built by Frederick William Vanderbilt and the Springwood Estate, the birthplace and lifelong home of Franklin D Roosevelt. For a piece of history you can take home, head to the Beekman Antiques Market in Rhinebeck, stocked with everything from costume jewellery to maritime relics.
In spite of its modest size, the town of Rhinebeck has no shortage of restaurants and cafés. Mod-Italian eatery Market St. has an enticing brunch menu with prosciutto-loaded paninis and homemade pasta dishes – sit at the marble counter for a trattoria-esque experience. For pizza, head to nearby Pizzeria Posto, which garners rave reviews from visitors coming from all over the state – seasoned Brooklynites included. Le Petit Bistro is the place for rich, Francophile dishes in an intimate setting. Share a steaming plate of mussels with thin-cut frites to start, followed by the veal française or half roast duckling, served with the sauce of the day.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rural retreat in Upstate New York and unpacked their yoga gear, a full account of their wellness break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Dutchess in Upstate New York…
Modern life can be taxing. Stuck on a crowded train as your phone explodes with emails and calendar invites, it can be all too easy to start pining for a pastoral paradise. Sadly, wishful thinking doesn’t get you into Eden, so the best option is to start searching for the next best thing. The Dutchess, a hush-hush hotel in the rolling hills of Upstate New York, is just the ticket for anyone feeling out of touch with the natural rhythm of life. This rural retreat is little known beyond in-the-know New Yorkers – something that’s happened by design, with the hotel opting for an ultra-minimalist approach to public relations. At first glance, it looks like a regular working farm, but this rustic bolthole is actually a specialist in wellness weekends designed to reunite guests with nature. Spa therapists, healers and other lifestyle coaches are brought in for each retreat, devising a programme of activities that will have you feeling your most placid self in no time. You’ll also spend time on the hotel’s biodynamic farm, where you can even pick your own vegetables for the chef to prepare at dinner. By the end of your stay, we’ll wager you’ll feel two things: in touch with nature again, and unsure about whether to tell your friends, lest the secret of the Dutchess get out.