Troutbeck is an estate for an escape – a country manor with all the activities an outdoors enthusiast could ask for, just two hours north of New York City. It dates back to 1765 and is no stranger to distinguished guests: Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway have all stopped by for inspiration or isolation over the years. In the 45-acre grounds, a creek babbles beneath a Poohsticks-perfect bridge and sycamores sway in the breeze – explore further and you’ll find a walled garden, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a yoga barn. Sunlight streams into the library and the New American restaurant, where locals join guests for summer dinners on the patio and winter cocktails by the crackling log fire.
Double rooms from £383.43 ($481), including tax at 8 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of 4% per room per night prior to arrival.
Rates do not include breakfast; à la carte options including farm-fresh eggs, granola and pancake towers are available from $8.
Troutbeck has a rich history of hospitality. The original owners, the Benton family, welcomed creative thinkers such as Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Later, publisher Joel Spingarn purchased the property and hosted literary heavyweights including Ernest Hemingway, as well as a series of conferences to advance the cause of civil rights in America.
At the hotel
Swimming pool, gym, sauna, tennis courts, free Wi-Fi. In rooms: TV, Tivoli radio, free bottled water, Malin+Goetz bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Sycamore Suite overlooks the garden, Dunham Creek and several namesake trees planted all the way back in 1835. For extra thinking space, ask for the Two-Bedroom Suite – its light-flooded indoor porch comes with a writing desk and a snooze-ready daybed.
The family-friendly pool is set in a secluded corner of the gardens. It’s refreshingly unheated, and open from Memorial Day (late May) to Labor Day (early September).
You’ll find a fully-fledged wellness haven in The Barns – there's a top-spec gym with Technogym machines, detoxifying saunas, and an airy space with soaring ceilings for group yoga, Pilates, meditation and movement classes. Private yoga classes, tennis lessons, personal training sessions and spa treatments – like couples massages, acupuncture and gua sha facials – are also available on request.
A notepad and pen, no matter your skill-set – they’ll be just as useful for scribbling poetry, sketching the sycamores, or recording the length of your best catch.
Ramps make it easy for wheelchair users to access all common areas, and there’s a suite with an adapted bathroom on the ground floor.
Snag one of the cosy corner booths and look out across the restaurant floor.
Creek-fresh waders wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows, but it’s best to stick to country-casual – think check shirts and jeans, or a little smarter to fit in with the locals on date night.
The Dining Room is the simply-named and quietly impressive in-house restaurant, dishing up farm-to-table fare harvested from across the Hudson Valley region. The menu varies seasonally, but expect low-mileage poultry, fish and veg cooked in a delicate, New American way; on Sundays, locals flock here for eggs-every-way and maple-syrup-soaked pancakes at brunch. In summer, the scene expands to the patio – equipped with an outdoor fireplace beneath the stars – and to the poolside grill, where sunbathers and swimmers grab burgers on the fly.
The copper-plated bar is stocked with regional on-tap beers and locally distilled spirits bound for house-special cocktails. Pull up a stool and place your order, or retire to an armchair by the living room fireplace, a nook in the library, or a perch by the pool table in the sunroom.
Breakfast is from 8am to 11am, lunch is from 12pm to 6pm, and dinner is from 6pm to 9pm. The bar is open from 12 noon until 10pm.
Steal a lie-in with breakfast in bed, lunch or even dinner with room service available from 8am to 9pm daily.
Troutbeck is a country retreat two hours north of the city, on the border with Connecticut and around half an hour from the picturesque Berkshires region in Massachusetts. Amenia, New York, and Sharon, Conneticut, are both within five minutes' drive.
The closest airport is Stewart International, which is 55 miles (a one-hour drive) from Troutbeck; Norwegian fly direct from Edinburgh, Dublin and Paris. From London, head for JFK Airport in New York City, and make the two-hour drive up to Troutbeck by car. Hotel transfers are available; call the Smith24 team for assistance with all your travel needs.
From Grand Central Terminal in New York City, it’s two hours on a direct Metro North train to Wassaic station, which is a few minutes’ drive from the hotel. It’s best to arrange a transfer or taxi in advance.
Your own wheels will come in handy for exploring the local villages and getting to and from hubs for outdoor activities. Hire from the airport, or try Sharon Autorent (www.sharonautorent.com) if you prefer to pick up locally (it’s three miles from the hotel).
Private planes and helicopters can land at Sky Acres airport, which is 30 minutes by car from Troutbeck.
Worth getting out of bed for
Outdoorsy types are spoilt for choice: hike or bike the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, go on a birdwatching country ramble at the Sharon Audubon Society, or ask the hotel staff to hook you up with a local guide for horse riding, shooting, canoeing or (of course) fishing. Front-line adrenaline-seekers can opt for river rafting or racecar driving Lime Rock Park track instead. In winter, Mohawk Mountain has 25 snow-pummelled ski runs for beginners and Black-ready experts. For a dose of contemporary art, head to the prestigious MassMOCA in Lenox, or the community-led Wassaic Project. Further afield, take a daytrip to Hudson, an upstate hipster heartland with a thriving food, drink and antiques scene. Perhaps cruise country lanes to the pretty Connecticut towns of Kent and Salisbury, or set a course north to the idyllic Berkshires region of Massachusetts.
Amenia’s a small town, but you’ve got options. The Iranian-born chef at Serevan (6 Autumn Lane) uses local produce to create sophisticated Eastern Mediterranean dishes in a homey converted farmhouse.
Oakhurst Diner (19 Main St, Millerton) is an eight-mile drive away, but it’s worth the trip and then some – it’s a gloriously stereotypical tin-can diner, with stainless steel bar stools, leather booths and an all-day menu of American classics. Get a milkshake, you won’t regret it.
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 forest-set hotel in Upstate New York and unpacked their rods and reels, a full account of their activity-packed break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Troutbeck in Upstate New York…
Arriving at Troutbeck feels strangely familiar, even if it’s your first time. The path arcs over the stone bridge, up through sloping gardens to a grand old manor house on the hill, with warm light glowing inside and smoke billowing from the chimney. It feels like returning to your favourite (and wealthiest) aunt’s house, or failing that, something straight out of a storybook. Make no mistake: this is no ordinary hotel. There are no white-gloved doormen or brass-buttoned bellhops in sight. Instead, find the front door, flanked by crooked wood columns and covered by a turreted slate roof. Push it open, and inside you’re greeted with all the warmth and attention of an old friend (minus the hugs and kisses, because that would be weird). Troutbeck, as it always has, makes visitors feel instantly part of the family.