The Roxbury Hotel in the Catskills features over-the-top themed rooms from Jetsons-style suites to a cottage with a pumpkin carriage bathroom
As a travel journalist who typically spends 100 nights in hotels annually, COVID-19 has upended my travel plans entirely since March. With the exception of one escape to an Airbnb in Columbia County, New York over the summer, my husband and I have stayed put in our New York apartment.
But as autumn unfolded, I finally felt ready to spend the night at a hotel, based on expert safety recommendations. The Roxbury, with its creative design elements and individually decorated thematic rooms, caught my eye.
And when I say thematic, I also mean dramatic. These are rooms that pack a big wow factor with tons of visual stimulation.
The Roxbury is divided into two properties: The Roxbury Motel, which is the original 28-room property, and the brand-new Roxbury at Stratton Falls, with eight standalone cottages and seven rooms housed in a historic mansion. Registered guests may enjoy the facilities at both.
Both are distinctly whimsical. This isn't a place where your room will be simply outfitted with two beds and a desk. Instead, options include the likes of Cinderella's Gown cottage at Stratton Falls, with an enormous pumpkin morphing into a carriage that serves as a bathroom, as well as Dracula's Fang cottage, which delivers a maverick vampire fantasy complete with a throne chamber.
There was no availability at Stratton Falls when I booked, so I chose George's Spacepad suite at the Motel for $247 per night, plus tax. This mid-tier offering was inspired by the 1960s television cartoon "The Jetsons" and promised plenty of midcentury modern panache. There are cheaper rooms starting as low as $95, but they lack the eye-catching fantasy seen in the suites. So, if you're here to immerse yourself in creative design, book accordingly.
I also felt safe staying here since the hotel's website listed extensive COVID-19 safety guidelines, including keeping guest rooms empty for 24-48 hours before and after each reservation, utilization of a hospital-grade disinfection system, frequent replacement of air filters, and requiring reservations to use amenities like a hot tub for an added $20, which I tried as well.
When I arrived, I was upgraded to a spacious two-bedroom superhero-themed standalone cottage at Stratton Falls at no extra cost. These rooms typically start at $500 per night, but the space and privacy will no doubt appeal to families with kids, especially considering how much little ones will love the look of their room.
Plus, the hotel is nestled amid beautiful hiking, waterfalls, and scenery, offering a much-needed reconnection with nature before the long winter ahead.
After driving upstate with my husband, we parked and entered the motel's guest registration to check-in. The area was pretty standard, giving little clue as to the bold visuals I would soon be surrounded by once I was in my room.
The friendly clerk wore a mask and informed me from a safe distance that the Superhero Incognito cottage at Stratton Falls had become available and that I was being upgraded. I had booked as a standard guest, not a travel writer, so upgrades may be possible, based on availability.
Having poured over the whimsical thematic motifs of several different rooms online, I was itching to see what my superhero-themed room would look like in person. We drove two miles down the road from the motel to the separate Stratton Falls property, following the directions of the reception clerk. Up the driveway we went, noting the rolling lawn with a firepit and game of bean bag toss.
The Stratton Falls, which opened amid the pandemic, featured a reception area with more immediate charm and located in a stately mansion. The white clapboard exterior was accented with black shutters and adorned with Halloween decorations.
Upon entering the registration area, there were signs reminding everyone to wear a mask, prominently placed hand sanitizer stations, and a clear partition sneeze guard shield between the masked front desk clerk and myself, the same safety precautions that I had seen during my few moments at the motel.
The clerk gave me two room keys in a sealed plastic bag marked sanitized. She told me that the rest of my registration (just a few simple questions such as my license plate), would be done from the safety and privacy of my room via email.
She also mentioned that breakfast, included in the room rate, could be ordered on the website and either delivered to my room or picked up in the morning. I was in and out of reception in under two minutes, though not before grabbing a few individually wrapped and sealed freshly baked cookies, available complimentary for guests to nibble.
Our upgraded room, which typically starts at $500, was an entire two-story cottage with its own private entrance. I grew up surrounded by comic books thanks to an obsessed older brother who became a professor of comics and anime, so staying in the Superhero Incognito cottage seemed like a synchronicity.
My husband audibly gasped as we opened the door to the two-bedroom, two-floor suite, which was somewhat of an over-the-top immersion into the world of Wonder Woman. Like a shrine, her likeliness was everywhere. There were big, bold Wonder Woman murals on the walls that looked like they had been painted by Roy Lichtenstein.
Her powerful image was tiled on the downstairs shower and upstairs on the oversized soaking tub. It was the epitome of kitsch, yet somehow simultaneously tasteful, like a pop-art gallery.
Whimsy went hand-in-hand with practicality. The ground floor had an open kitchenette complete with a microwave, full-size fridge, sink, and Mr. Coffee machine. It flowed into the living area where a white leather foldout couch and two matching swivel chairs were grouped around a large flat-screen television. There were accents of gold everywhere, including on the interior of the coffee and side tables; even the toilet handles and staircase banister were gold.
Light flooded in from the many windows, which were topped with gold drapes. The bedroom had a King-sized bed with a sparkly gold headboard and a sliding glass door leading to the screened-in porch with two dining tables and chairs.
The bathroom, with its Wonder Woman tiled shower, had side-by-side sinks, plush robes, lime green slippers, and a sealed bag loaded with toiletries like Marvis brand toothpaste and botanical-based Lather bath products.