By Stacey Zable
The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark infuses new life into the old resort destination of Monticello in the Catskill Mountains.
My husband grew up in the 1970s and spent his summers less than a two-hour drive from New York City in a bungalow colony in Monticello, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. The neighborhood was flanked by the legendary Concord Resort Hotel, the grande dame of the Catskill resorts. He didn’t know then that it was the last hurrah for the area, where families had flocked for decades to enjoy summers in the bungalows or vacations at the all-inclusive hotel properties. Over the years, one by one, most of the resorts and bungalow colonies closed as other destinations beyond the New York City drive market beckoned.
Now, in the very area where my husband’s bungalow colony and the Concord once sat, the Catskill Mountains are poised to make a resurgence. The 324-room Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark opened on 1,600 acres in April, following its more adult- and gaming-focused neighbor Resorts World Catskills casino resort, which debuted in 2018. The famous Monster Golf Course, once part of the Concord, is slated to reopen in 2020.
“The Catskills were an iconic family destination for many years, and we’re fortunate to be part of its revitalization,” says Kartrite General Manager David Kohlasch. “With the 50th anniversary of Woodstock celebrated this year and new attractions and accommodations popping up throughout the region, it is the perfect time for The Kartrite to slide into the mountains.”
It’s not only Baby Boomers looking to relive their childhood that The Kartrite seeks to fill its rooms, but Millennials and their families, according to Kohlasch. “Families of all shapes and sizes will enjoy The Kartrite,” says Kohlasch. “The sweet spot are Millennial parents with 8- to 15-year-old children who will enjoy all of the slides and water attractions to the fullest and are old enough for mom and dad to enjoy a little alone time at the spa, one of the eight bars and restaurants, or even down the street at the Resorts World Catskills casino.”
Just Add Water
First stop for all families to the hotel will undoubtedly be the indoor waterpark, heated to 84 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and boasting a landscaped world with 11 water attractions and a mezzanine level filled with cabanas for relaxation in between water fun. Water attractions range from the curves, dips and turns of the Nor’easter mega slide to the pure serenity of Affinity Springs, an indoor/outdoor heated pool. There is also a lazy river, a FlowRider surf simulator and the water fun of Puddle Ducks shallow adventure lagoon with a zero-entry pool featuring slides for younger children. Entrance to the waterpark is complimentary for hotel guests, but you can purchase day passes if you don’t want to overnight at the hotel.
Probably the only way you’ll get your kids out of the water is to lure them with the myriad activities at the hotel. Simply load up a card with credits, and allow the kids to choose from time at the Playopolis arcade, the mini bowling alley, the indoor rope obstacle course with zip line, the indoor rock-climbing wall, laser tag or virtual reality with video games.
Dine and Unwind
On-site dining choices include two-fisted burgers plus other comfort foods at Harvey’s Wallbanger, buffet dining for breakfast and dinner at Eat. Eat. Eat., and fine dining at Bixby’s Derby. In addition, Bixby’s Tavern & Tap Room, the bar adjacent to Bixby’s Derby, offers a lighter menu and large selection of wines and spirits. And there’s no need to leave the waterpark for a quick bite with the Surfside Grill serving burgers, hot dogs, salads and other munchies. Your kids may not let you walk by Pop’s Sweet Shoppe without stopping, but you’ll thank them once you sample its yummy selections that include gelato, pretzels with frosting, and cupcakes. (Unlike its Catskill predecessors, the resort doesn’t include dining in the hotel rate, but you can purchase packages, including breakfast.)
Accommodation choices are family-friendly and include family king bunk suites that can sleep up to eight. The kids will love the two sets of bunk beds nestled in their own nook. A junior suite double queen sleeps up to six, and a junior suite king can fit four guests. There are also two- and three-bedroom suites for families/friends traveling together that sleep up to 8 and 12, respectively.
Activities, such as evening movie night in the lobby, reptile shows and even balloon artistry, differ each day. Kids can start their mornings by decorating donuts. The spa offers a duet massage that you can share with your kids ages 12 and up or, of course, your spouse, and there are even some treatments just for younger kids. A 24-hour fitness center is available, too.
Families can also throwback to simpler times, unplugging with oversized games such as Jenga and Connect Four while sitting in the comfortable couches clustered in the hotel lobby. Outside, a small play area and fire pits surrounded by rocking chairs beckon. There is even a large lawn for tossing a ball, reminiscent of the way my husband spent most of his bungalow colony summers and a perfect way to end a day in the Catskills.
AAA members save 10 percent on room rates at The Kartrite.Read more articles