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assistance ahead “Did you notice the crust?” This is not a question one wants to hear when talking hotel rooms. But it’s posed with utter giddiness when one is in room number 27 at the Roxbury in New York’s Catskills region; for this is “Mary Ann’s Coconut Cream Pie” room, a flamboyant space with a faux-meringue ceiling, a round bed and a hint of coconut in the air.

It’s the newest addition at the Roxbury, where room designs riff on movies and T.V. — Jeannie’s bottle, Charlie’s Angels, Maria’s curtains from “The Sound of Music.” You can book a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”-inspired blue jewel box of a room, or stay in the grander Wizard’s Jewels room, with its yellow glass floor tiles, mural of poppies and ruby-slippered feet sticking out from under the bed pillows.

Bizarre Requests from Hotel Guests

It sounds zanier than it is. The Roxbury is big on style and comfort; it is not a hyperactive theme-park experience. From the nice toiletries to the bowl of wasabi peanuts at reception, the owners’ loving attention to detail is palpable. The proprietors are a pair of New York City refugees who took a gamble on a downtrodden roadside motel, transforming a den of disrepair into a cozy place to rest your inner Fred Flintstone.

It may seem like a radical juxtaposition — a place that unabashedly embraces lime green and meringue ceilings amid placid Roxbury, population 2,500. Yet the motel sits harmoniously here, beside a trout stream with a barn in spitting distance. In the stairwell, one of the first things I notice is the huge chandelier made of what looks like a thousand neon orange drinking straws. It does not seem wrong.

The charm is in the details: chocolates, fresh flowers. Munch fancy soy crisps in the glittery spa ($20 per person for unlimited visits during your stay), or pepperoni Hot Pockets ($1 from the office). Copies of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 movies are available in the free-to-borrow DVD collection, as well as vintage “The Addams Family” episodes. What’s your rainy-day game: chess, or Operation?

Over breakfast on the sun porch, the various weekend leaf-peepers and hikers compare notes and offer suggestions for future room themes (one 9-year-old’s contribution: Sponge Bob). If you’re lucky, you meet the people in room 27, the friendly couple from New Jersey who invite you to come check out the digs. You go. You notice the crust. Delicious.

— written by Deborah Bogosian

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6 Responses to “A Night at the Roxbury: Campy Digs in the Catskills”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Fascinating piece — would love to stay there. A couple of questions: Are there other hotels like this in other parts of the country? And what are room rates, cost-wise? Finally, Roxbury: Is there a reason to go there, is it just on the way to someplace, or does it even matter?

    Great read….


    • debra says:

      I have stayed at the roxbury a couple of times & will be returning..they didn’t talk much about the spa at the roxbury..it is really nice!you have to see the view from the hot tub!!and get a massage.the steamroom is so wonderful…greg & joe are just so sweet..the rooms are unbelievable..it’s a very quiet & beautiful place so worth the trip…there are rooms set up for 1 couple or bring some friends and stay in the big rooms with 2 floors and 2 bedrooms…and all room are not just for couples bring the kids and stay in the startrak themed room or the adams family rooms….they have a great web site..with lots of picture of the place….there is also lots to do a short drive from the roxbury..rafting,hiking,sking,shopping..etc…..

  2. Deborah says:

    Hi Carolyn and thanks for the note.
    Are there other places like it? Not sure – and would love to hear from others about this. It may be that “unique,” a word I use sparingly, is apt. There are some unusual “theme” motels out there — Adventure Suites in North Conway, NH, CA’s Madonna Inn. There are some rescued-and-restored (or just still hanging in there) roadside America era places — your Route 66 Wigwams (that definitely also counts as “theme”), the Starlux in Wildwood, NJ, Savannah’s Thunderbird Inn. Then there’s the chic, designerly “modern motor lodge” category (I’d love to get to to the Desert Star in Palm Springs). But I really don’t know if any place pulls these elements together in quite the same cocktail, and with such a sense of style and play and luv (stet!), as the Rox.
    Rates range from $90 for a small studio in off-peak season, to $355 for the larger and more deluxe rooms in prime time. Word to the wise: book early, especially if you have your heart set on a particular room. We were there on a mid-October weekend and it was booked solid (or “Pleasantly Full” per the Rox’s version of a No Vacancy sign).
    Finally, why go to the town of Roxbury? Well, it is definitely more about getting away FROM than getting away TO. People go for Catskillian quaintness and quietude: a sense of history, country drives, hiking, fishing, skiing. If you are there in the summer you can catch authentic 19th c. baseball as played by the Roxbury Nine. That is pretty special.

  3. Renee DePrato says:

    The Roxbury is awesome! The attention to detail makes a stay in even a small room feel like a luxury. It is a wonderful place to get away to. My husband and I took a long weekend there in October to enjoy the fall foliage.

  4. Penny says:

    We stayed in “Fred’s Lair” October 2010. Was awesome room and awesome people. The mountain area is beautiful and very relaxing atmosphere.

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