When the stress of everyday living has you on edge, and there is no time for a long overdue vacation, why not try a highly enjoyable staycation at the Hilton Westchester. The hotel offers an open invitation to chill out, kick back and enjoy a totally serene experience, less than one hour away from New York City. This beautifully designed hotel has an oversized patio shaded by tall lush trees, and surrounded by flowers and songbirds. Peaceful, tranquil and serene, the Hilton Westchester is an idyllic suburban oasis for both couples and families.
The Hilton Westchester is ideally located not far from nearby historic Hudson Valley attractions including the Hudson RIver Museum in Yonkers, Rye Playland and Sunnyside, the home of legendary early American author Washington Irving.
Although I am a well traveled business executive, I can honestly say that Westchester County hasn't been on my radar up until this summer. The county's tourism board's recent promotional campaign - "Meet Me in Westchester" - created to position Westchester as a destination for both the leisure and business traveler, has succeeded in bringing a lot of attention to the county's numerous attractions and inspired us to leave Long Island for a weekend jaunt. We were getting tired of the 2-3 hour drives out east to the Hamptons and Montauk. On the spur of the moment, we decided to alter our weekend plans and take a renewed look at Westchester. It proved to be an excellent decision and a complete eye opener for my wife and I.
We spent less than an hour journeying to the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook. The hotel is beautifully situated on 37 wooded acres and combines a relaxed resort setting with the flexibility of a full service business hotel. The hotel's unique location is just four miles from downtown White Plains, the dynamic county seat, two miles from Greenwich, Connecticut (which offers great shopping on Greenwich Avenue) and 25 miles from New York City. Upon arriving we were immediately impressed with the hotel facilities which include both an indoor and outdoor pool, year round tennis, walking trails, and a state-of-the-art Hilton fitness center by Precor.
After a quick check-in we proceeded to our Lanai room on the first floor facing the outdoor pool. Our room was large with sliding window/doors facing the trees, flowers and pool.
On our first night at the hotel, we decided to try the renowned cuisine of Executive Chef Rafael Velazquez at the new härth restaurant. härth features a contemporary yet relaxed atmosphere with huge floor-to-ceiling windows allowing the scenic beauty of the abutting terrace and patio to permeate the space bringing the "outside" in.
.We began our meal with :
- Burrata Cheese- with tomatoes, blueberries, ice wine and olive oil
- A Panzanella Salad- made with fennel, parsnip, orange, crouton, pickled onions, feta cheese, and red wine vinaigrette.
- An Avocado Flatbread made with tomato, goat cheese, fresno cheese, and cilantro drizzle.
All three appetizers were beautifully presented, delicious and visually exciting!
For our main course tasting we sampled:
-Seared Salmon- made with lobster open face ravioli, tomatoes, and onion sauce
- Lamb Bolognese- Cavatelli pasta, parmesano reggiano, and mint
- Rib Eye Steak- with mashed potatoes, sweet potato, broccolini, and steak sauce
- Oven Roasted Lamb Chops- with vegetable cous-cous, olive au jus
We particularly enjoyed the Lamb Bolognese with its combination of meat, cheese and mint, and the seared salmon with its delicous lobster ravioli.
Although we were totally satiated after this small plate feast...we could not resist one of Chef Rafael's special dessserts: A S'mores Pizza - A dessert pizza filled with marshmellows, nutella, and strawberries. Off the chain delicious! Summer's not over yet, so if you plan on visiting härth within the next month or so, make sure you go on Thursday nights (6 to 8 pm) to experience Chef Rafael's Black Board Bash menu on the patio which is part of their Summer Series culinary program. The menu changes weekly and features a diverse selection of Latin, Mediterranean and barbeque-inspired dishes. Check the hotel's Facebook for weekly menu updates....
The following morning we had a light breakfast snack in our room, and enjoyed a short work out at the gym.
Since it was a gorgeous sun-filled day, we decided to relax poolside and enjoy the weather, scenery and ambiance. We met a number of friendly hotel guests from Long Island and Manhattan at the pool and spent the day chilling out and enjoying a stressless environment.
At around 6 pm we decided to tour some of the picturesque and vibrant Hudson River towns and villages. We visited Hastings on Hudson , Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, and Irvington, a charming town with a reputation for amazing haute cuisine restaurants and unsurpassed views of the river. We stopped for cocktails at Harvest on Hudson in Hastings (www.harvesthudson.com), the sister restaurant to the famous Harvest restaurant in Montauk. The parking lot was filled to capacity and it took a while to get a table outside on the deck overlooking the Hudson. The sunset, on a late summer evening, with lights shining from the Tappan Zee Bridge and local vessels plying the river, offered a spectacular view. We had dinner in Irvington, at the extremely popular Red Hat On The River restaurant (www.redhatbistro.com), a contemporary French bistro located in a brick warehouse building (formerly a brewery) that featured beautiful architectural elements such as Art Deco-inspired milk glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Red Hat has a fantastic menu of comfort foods and fabulous entrees of fresh fish and salads. The restaurant was chic, charming and a perfect way to spend a Saturday evening. Red Hat also offers wonderful views of the Hudson with multi-level seating indoors as well as outdoor seating during the summer months. Red Hat and a number of other dining establishments in the area occupy old industrial buildings that have been renovated into wonderful and intriguing dining venues.
Sunday, was our last day at the Hilton Westchester and we decided to make the most of it. We arose early, and enjoyed a modified breakfast/brunch at härth Food was served off the menu or buffet, from tables laden with meats, fish, poultry, baked goods, and an omelette station.
We went back to our room, packed up, and made our way back to the outdoor pool for some additional R&R. We had the extraordinary good fortune of picking one of the summer's most idyllic weekends. We left Rye Brook late in the afternoon on Sunday and made an uneventful ride back to NYC.
I can honestly say that we came away from the Hilton, relaxed, happy and charmed by the many joys of Westchester and the hotel. The best part was that it was only one hour away from the city!
The Hilton Westchester, and the quaint towns and villages surrounding the hotel are definitely a viable alternative to the east end of Long Island or the Jersey Shore. The Hilton also has 32,000 square feet of flexible function space to hold weddings, bar mitzvahs, and business functions. The banquet rooms can handle affairs of 500-750 people.
The Westchester Hilton. Rye Brook, New York tel: 914-939-6300 or visit www.westchester.hilton.com