Forget caviar wishes and champagne dreams. This fall, it’s more like cider-doughnut wishes and local IPA dreams — and it’ll cost you.
At AutoCamp Catskills, a fancy new camping resort in Saugerties, New York, the main accommodations are tents and Airstream trailers. Prices for weekends in October, when there’s a two-night minimum, are upwards of $500 per night. Sleeping in a tent without a bathroom for two nights can run more than $1,000 for the weekend. The gleaming silver trailers, parked in tidy rows amongst the trees, have their own bathrooms and can run between $1,200 and $1,500 for the weekend — trailer-Park Avenue, if you will.
The eye-popping cost of AutoCamp is in line with rising prices across the travel sector, especially for destinations catering to those traveling by car. City folk looking to do some autumnal leaf peeping upstate might first need to shake the money tree.
“I’ve been in this industry for 15 years, and I’ve never seen prices like this. I think in terms of the Catskills — and upstate in general — a lot of the average daily rates are being driven by last-minute travel decisions, the high cost of flights, continuing remote or hybrid work schedules and a general distrust of airlines’ ability to get passengers to their destination on time,” Henley Vazquez, co-founder of Fora Travel, told The Post.
Fall is peak travel demand for folks across the country. According to new data from HotelBusiness.com, 58% of Americans plan to take a vacation before winter hits and 72% said they plan to travel more frequently this fall than they did in 2021.
At AutoCamp, it’s not just the accommodations that are costly. Everything from the firewood — $20 for a bundle of eight logs — to the $69 barbecue kits, the $65 “forest bathing” experience and the $15 s’mores kits come with a hefty price tag.
“It was a few marshmallows with graham crackers and chocolate, we didn’t take it, I just remember looking at it and decided the $15 wasn’t worth it,” Kristina Kulaine, a 34-year-old from Staten Island who stayed at AutoCamp during the summer, said of the latter.
Most online reviews of the resort are fairly positive, but there are some complaints, notably about some of the less glam aspects of glamping.
“There’s no canopy to put over [the stove] for cooking in the rain and there’s no way to cook in the camper besides a microwave,” McCall Carlson wrote in a Google review from earlier this month, giving their experience three stars out of five. “We ended up doing our cooking with one of us in rain gear, and the other holding an umbrella over the fire and getting soaked … It was a good experience but not one I’d care to repeat.”
Others dealt with some unexpected guests. “We didn’t realize the tent was open at the bottom so there was a grasshopper and a few huge spiders in the tent,” said Jen Cain, 27, a Londoner who stayed at AutoCamp with a friend from NYC. “As city people, we don’t do well with bugs.”
Those opting for a traditional hotel stay will likely find rates no better. The Catskills have been dubbed the new Hamptons in recent years, with a number of luxe lodgings opening in the upstate region.
Inness, a chic property between the Catskill and Shawangunk mountain ranges, opened this year with 28 cabins, a 12-room Farmhouse and a stylish Scandinavia-meets-Hudson Valley aesthetic. Standard rates start at $995 for a room with a king-sized bed and kitchenette. The forthcoming Wildflower Farms, an Auberge property, is opening this month with standard rates starting at around $577 per night on weekdays, and upwards of $1,300 on some weekend nights.
A less trendy but more affordable option is Saugerties’ Diamond Mills Hotel, which charges around $700 for two nights on weekends in the fall, before taxes.
Ultimately, travel industry experts say demand is great this season and prices show no sign of leveling off.
“You’ve got a lot of New Yorkers or Bostonians with flexible time and pent-up travel demand willing to shell out big bucks for an Instagram-able and active weekend away,” said Vazquez.
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