Stately beauty: Mohonk Mountain House (pictured), on the shores of Lake Mohonk in New Paltz, N.Y.
Given our society's relentless obsession with all things new, it's comforting to know that a few special spots still exist where history, tradition and a more relaxed, genteel pace are the order of the day.
On the following pages, M&C takes a loving look at five special resorts, true treasures of the hospitality world that can imbue events with a timeless old-school ambiance and charm, as well as keep up with the more modern needs of today's plugged-in groups.
> MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE
New Paltz, N.Y.
Nestled in the Hudson Valley north of New York City, the Mohonk Mountain House offers a soothing respite from urban stress. A member of Historic Hotels of America, the property has been owned by the Smiley family since its founding in 1869.
Mohonk's strong meetings legacy dates from 1897, when founder Albert Smiley, a Quaker, launched his annual conference for national and international leaders to meet and discuss world problems and possible solutions. The conferences continued through 1916 and included notables such as President William Howard Taft and William Jennings Bryan.
Today, the resort's 14 meeting rooms, ranging from the expansive Victorian Parlor to intimate wood-paneled studies, are outfitted with cutting-edge A/V and free Wi-Fi (available throughout).
Accommodations remain decidedly vintage: All 259 guest rooms are decorated in either traditional Victorian style or more spare classic décor, all without televisions (a limited number of TVs are available for rental).
Activities are low-key, as well: Guests gather around stone fireplaces, relax in the spa, hike along woodsy trails, go on guided nature excursions or take historic tours of the resort.
Traditions extend to dining. Complimentary cookies and tea are served each afternoon, and jackets are required for gentlemen in the dining room during dinner hours.
> OMNI BEDFORD SPRINGS
The eight mineral springs at this Allegheny Mountain resort have attracted prominent guests for nearly 200 years. Among the illustrious was President James Buchanan; in fact, the property was known as the Summer White House during his years in office (just before a man named Lincoln took over).
In 1984, the venerable resort officially was added to the roster of National Historic Landmarks. It closed its doors two years later and reopened in 2007 following an extensive restoration.
A dip into history:
The Omni Bedford Springs
has been open for
nearly 200 years.
Today, the Omni Bedford Springs has 216 guest rooms that feature very up-to-date amenities such as 32-inch flat-screen HDTVs, iPod entertainment docking stations and Wi-Fi access (complimentary to Omni Select Guest members). It also features 20,000 square feet of meeting space with state-of-the-art accoutrements.
Despite modern upgrades, the resort's historic past is still evident, from its natural spring waters that feed the indoor pool to delightful rituals such as afternoon tea and a library stocked with a selection of quaintly hand-cut, wooden Stave jigsaw puzzles. Other activities include, biking, guided hikes and fly-fishing.