I’d never even heard of Sunny Hill Resort in the Great Northern Catskills of New York before we pulled up the minivan to check in in mid-July. Lauded by Parents magazine readers as one of the 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts, I was eager to see what the hubbub was all about for myself.
Sunny Hill Resort is a family-owned property that’s been hosting families for nearly 100 years, and many of those families are from New York (mostly Long Island). Once we checked in, I took a walk around the property and easily 90% of the license plates were from New York. This could be why I’d never heard of Sunny Hill Resort. Maybe they’d been keeping this gem to themselves.
Truly, everyone I met at Sunny Hill had been coming to vacation at the resort for years and years. I met one guest who’d been coming every year for 25 years. I met another guest whose family vacations there with several other families the same week every summer. Every. Single. Summer. It’s just what they do.
If you’re looking for high-thread count linens and super-soft comforters, Sunny Hill is not for you. The accommodations are motel style and basic at best, but that’s definitely part of its charm. Each of the motel buildings are close to each other with kids constantly going here and there. The kids are having a blast. That’s why you go.
Meantime, groups of adults pull up chairs into circles to while away the time chatting and catching up with each other. They drink wine, they listen to music and they reminisce about their stay at Sunny Hill last summer while the kids play basketball, shuffleboard and volleyball. There are also several playgrounds, a swimming pool and a splash pad.
All meals are included at Sunny Hill and you’ll be greeted by the same servers at each meal. Even better, the staff remembers what you like, so whether you ask for extra bread or a pitcher of iced tea at one meal, you can bet it will be on your table the next night before you even think to ask.
To announce the start of each meal, the staff lets one of the children ring the bell outside, and yup, kids get to the bell early for that honor. At each meal, we found that there were plenty of options for each of the kids and loved the fact that they “never say no to requests for seconds and thirds.” 🙂
While there are loads of activities to take part in during the day, from golf clinics to face painting to yoga classes, it’s the evening activities that are one of the main reasons you book a stay at Sunny Hill Resort. Climb to the top of the climbing wall, sit back and listen to live music, and of course ride all the “Just for Fun” rides, a real highlight of Sunny Hill Resort.
Okay, so what exactly are “Just for Fun” rides? I’ve never seen this anywhere I’ve ever stayed before and it was so much fun. The resort sets up lines each night for five or six different “Just for Fun” ride, whether a Bumble Bee car, a vintage fire engine, a Humvee or a monster truck.
Be warned that if you ride the monster truck (let’s be honest, you can’t not go for a ride on the monster truck), it will get bumpy, like really bumpy. Everybody rides. Everybody has a blast. It was a real highlight of the stay, for sure. My kids and I still laugh about our outrageously bumpy monster truck ride.
Most families that stay at Sunny Hill Resort come in on Saturday and depart the following Saturday, making the Friday night lake party an absolute must-go. We were there just two nights and I was so glad that we were there on Friday night. The resort provides free hot dogs, beer, sodas, ice cream, live music, and of course, “Just for Fun” rides. And then, there was the fantastic fireworks show at the lake.
I can already tell that I need to go back next summer and bring some of my extended family, though I will say that the guests were so friendly I felt like I adopted an extended family while at the resort. However, it may have been that I was a novelty given I was from Virginia and did not have a Long Island accent. 🙂
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Sunny Hill Resort during my stay. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.