Kutsher’s Hotel & Country Club (2022)

Kutsher’s Hotel & Country Club is an abandoned resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York. It was the longest running of the “Borscht Belt” resorts and served as the inspiration for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, which was about a teenager who falls in love with a dance teacher while on vacation with her family in the 1960’s.

History

Max and Louis Kutsher began the Kutsher’s Brothers Farm House in 1907 18 to house guests vacationing in the Catskills during the summer. The boarding house gradually expanded and in the 1940s, at the request of his aunt, Rebecca, Milton Kutsher took over management of the hotel. His wife, Helen, worked with Helen Kutsher, who served as the head of reservations.

Milton oversaw a massive expansion of the hotel that ultimately created a 1,500-acre resort that included 400 hotel rooms, a theater, the Stardust Nightclub, kosher restaurants, condominiums, two bungalow colonies, and two Jewish summer camps — including Camp Anawana. 2 3 The resort also offered an 18-hole golf course, health club, four racquetball courts, shuffleboard, indoor ice skating, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, Kutsher’s Sports Academy, skiing, and snow tubing. 2 3 4 18 24

Room rates included three meals, which included prime rib to traditional Jewish dishes such as cheese blintzes, gefilte fish, and kasha varnishkes. 18

Milton, an avid sports enthusiast, helped make Kutsher’s a destination for recreational activities in a bid to attract younger people. 3 The hotel hosted the Maurice Stokes Benefit All-Star Game, a charity basketball game that attracted top professional players which raised funds for needy former players from the game’s earlier days. 5 6 It was played at the hotel or at the Kutsher’s Sports Academy. In the 1990s, the basketball exhibition spawned the Maurice Stokes/Wilt Chamberlain Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament. 7 8 9

Muhammad Ali trained at Kutsher’s, as did other boxing champions, such as Floyd Patterson and Leon Spinks. Other athletes, such as Joe DiMaggio and Wilt Chamberlain, a former Kutsher’s bellhop, once trained at the sports academy. 18

The large theatre and nightclub attracted up-and-coming talent. Performers, such as Woody Allen, Louis Armstrong, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Billy Crystal, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Jackie Mason, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Seinfeld, all spent their early careers at Kutsher’s. 10 18

Kutsher’s Hotel was a part of the “Borscht Belt,” an area once distinguished by scores of Jewish summer resort hotels, cabin colonies, and camps.1Tourism peaked after World War II when massive resort facilities were built in the countryside.

(Video) Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club 1966 ~ Dancing Front & Back in the Catskills

Decline

By the 1960s, tourism in the “Borscht Belt” had entered a decline.1Air travel was becoming increasingly convenient and cheap, and the advent of interstate highways made long-distance automobile travel easier.

By the late 1980s, the resort was called Kutsher’s Country Club Inn. 24 Its re-branding was part of a reinvention of the resort, which included the construction of a 150-unit condominium complex, Hidden Ridge, in 1986. Owners could buy memberships to Kutsher’s amenities.

Kutsher’s added a six-story, 60-room hotel addition in 1987 at the cost of $2 million. 24

Las Vegas-based Park Place Entertainment and the St. Regis Mohawks, an Indian tribe based in northern New York, announced in April 2000 that they wanted to build a $500 million casino at Kutsher’s. 23 It would include a 750-room hotel, eight restaurants, and a spa.

The agreement called for Park Plaza to secure financing for most of the construction costs and manage the casino for seven years. 23 The contract could be extended by mutual consent. The Mohawks would receive 70% of the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, with a guaranteed minimum payment of $9 million. Park Place would receive 30%.

A state plan approved in late 2001 allowed up to three Indian casinos in the Catskill Mountains in a bid to attract tourists and revive declining resorts. 17 It was part of a larger gambling expansion plan designed to raise money in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Three casinos were proposed for the Catskills: 17

  • At the Monticello Raceway, administered by the Cayugas of New York;
  • At the former Concord resort, administered by the Seneca-Cayugas of Oklahoma;
  • At Kutsher’s Hotel, administered by the St. Regis Mohawks.

On November 15, the Mohawks signed a deal with Park Place to acquire Kutsher’s. 23

(Video) Look at Kutshers September 2018

Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment, and then Caesars Entertainment, had an exclusive option to purchase the resort and create a casino with the St. Regis Mohawks. 18 19 It would be located on the grounds of the sports academy.

The St. Regis Mohawk’s abandoned plans for a casino at Kutsher’s on November 2, 2005. 19 21 In December, the resort was put on the market for $50 million. The tribe opted to revive an earlier plan to build a casino at the Monticello Raceway, 19 believing that the Monticello site was closer to federal approval than Kutsher’s. 20

In November 2007, Kutsher’s Hotel sent a letter to its long-term guests informing them that there would be no availability for the coming summer due to planned renovations. In the late winter, the Kutsher family entered into an option agreement with Louis Cappelli to bring management changes and a possible ownership change at the resort. 12 22 The sale of the hotel was not finalized, but renovations were carried out, and the resort reopened as the New Kutsher’s Resort & Spa. 11

Kutsher’s hosted the 2008, 2009, and 2010 U.S. editions of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival.

The New Kutsher’s Resort & Spa closed in 2013. The property was sold to Veria Lifestyle, owned by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra, for $8.8 million. 13 Veria demolished most of the hotel and proposed constructing a health and wellness destination based on the Indian discipline of yoga. The new resort would include 265 guest rooms. 14 15

Gallery

Further Reading

Sources

  1. Larson, Neil. Division for Historic Preservation, New York State Parks and Recreation.Liberty Downtown Historic District, 2005 Sept.
  2. Kane, Tom and David Figura. “Resort Owner Milton Kutsher Dies.”
  3. “From Borscht to Blackjack.” Jewish Week, 1 Aug. 2003.
  4. Mayberg, Nathan. “37th Season, But Their First Year.” Sullivan County Democrat [Callicoon], 24 Jun. 2005.
  5. “Jack Twyman.” Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 2002.
  6. Sommerstein, David. “Remembering Kutsher’s, Where Pro Athletes, Vacationers Mingled.” WBUR, 6 Sept. 2014.
  7. “Twyman’s empathy for Stokes a lesson for rest of America.” Online Athens, 3 Aug. 2002.
  8. “Hoops Legends Compete In Annual Celebrity Golf Event.” Sullivan County Democrat [Callicoon], 10 Aug. 2004.
  9. Mayberg, Nathan. “Fundraising Efforts Lead to High Honors.” Sullivan County Democrat [Callicoon], 7 Jun. 2005.
  10. “The Final Days of Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club, an Abandoned Resort in New York.” Urban Ghosts, 9 Jun. 2014. Article.
  11. “The New Kutsher’s Resort & Spa.” Article.
  12. “New dreams for Kutsher’s.”Westchester County Business Journal.
  13. “Borscht Belt resort Kutsher’s to face wrecking ball.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 15 Mar. 2015.
  14. Hust, Dan. “The end of Kutsher’s.” Sullivan County Democrat [Callicoon], 3 Dec. 2013.
  15. “Catskills Bureau Confidential: Asbestos removal at old Kutsher’s resort.” Times Herald-Record, 17 Jun. 2014.
  16. “Music and Movies in the Catskill Mountains.” Museyon.
  17. Hill, Michael. “Casino proposals create stir in Catskills.” Press & Sun-Bulletin [Binghamton], 1 Jan. 2005. p. 2D.
  18. Uhls, Anna. “The last Borsht Belt resort.” Star-Gazette [Elmira], 28 Jun. 2005. pp. 1D, 3D.
  19. “Borscht Belt icon, Kutsher’s, for sae.” Star-Gazette [Elmira], 28 Dec. 2005. p. 1D.
  20. “Casino issues need clarity.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 13 Nov. 2005. p. 10A.
  21. “Tribe drops casino proposal for Kutsher’s.” Journal News [White Plains], 4 Nov. 2005. p. 3B.
  22. West, Debra. “Developer Cappelli looks to cash in on another bet.” Journal News [White Plains], 23 Nov. 2008. p. 4B.
  23. “Tribe signs Catskills casino deal.” Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester], 16 Nov. 2001. p. 5B.
  24. Camise, Carmel. “Even after heyday, Catskills still hot.” Star-Gazette [Elmira], 17 Apr. 1988. p. 2C.

FAQs

When did Kutsher's Country Club close? ›

The New Kutsher's Resort & Spa closed in 2013. The property was sold to Veria Lifestyle, owned by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra, for $8.8 million. Veria demolished most of the hotel and proposed constructing a health and wellness destination based on the Indian discipline of yoga.

Is the Kutsher's hotel still open? ›

Kutsher's closed in 2013. The property was sold to Veria Lifestyle, a company owned by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra, for $8.8 million. The new owners demolished the hotel and constructed a health and wellness destination based on the Indian discipline of yoga. The resort was to include 131 rooms.

How much did Kutsher's cost? ›

MONTICELLO — The era of the classic Catskill resort has finally come to an end. But a new one is beginning. The Kutsher family, owners of Kutsher's Country Club, the famed, century-old hotel, has agreed to sell their resort for $35 million to Concord owner Louis Cappelli.

What replaced Kutcher's? ›

Longtime Washington Wizards reporter Chris Miller will replace Justin Kutcher as the team's play-by-play voice next season, NBC Sports Washington announced Friday. Miller, 48, has served as a Wizards analyst, sideline reporter and pre- and postgame show host since he joined the network in 2007.

Why did Jews go to the Catskills? ›

The Catskills had been a resort area for Gentiles in the 19th century. As Eastern European Jews immigrated in the early 20th century, some became farmers in the area. And as their urban peers became more prosperous, they looked to do something they could never have imagined doing in the old country: take a vacation.

Do New Yorkers still go to the Catskills? ›

The Catskills' resurgence as a vacation destination is headed into high gear in 2022. For years, the region has been building back to its Borscht Belt heyday, when New York City residents flocked to the countryside to stay in one of hundreds of Catskills resorts.

Where did Mrs Maisel stay in the Catskills? ›

Scott's Family Resort at Oquaga Lake

Scott's Family Resort is the exact resort where season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was filmed! Surrounding Oquaga Lake, a private lake nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Scott's Oquaga Lake House evoked a refreshed feeling and inspired guests.

When did the Catskills decline? ›

By the 1970s, many of these once-glittering Catskills resorts were no longer, as the area entered a long period of decline. (Poverty rates in Sullivan County, for instance, are still among the highest in the state.)

Is Sullivan County in the Catskills? ›

Land: Sullivan County is separated from Pennsylvania along its southwest boundary by the Delaware River. The county is in the Catskill Mountains. Its northeastern corner is within the Catskill Park.

Why was Nevele abandoned? ›

The resort closed officially in 2009 due to financial troubles. Today, there are plans to tear down the remaining structures on the property and turn it into a sports complex. View images of the abandoned Nevele Grand Hotel below.

Who is the owner of YO1? ›

YO1 founder, Dr. Subhash Chandra, developed the concept of the resort. “I could feel my body telling me to make changes by the time I was 40 years old.

Why did people stop vacationing in the Catskills? ›

People lost interest in the Borscht Belt for a number of reasons, but the decline was due in large part to the boom in airline industry, as the possibility of exotic getaways lessened visitor's desire to return to the Catskills for vacation.

Who lives in the Catskill Mountains today? ›

Today, over 60 percent of the lands in the Catskills is privately owned, with about 50,000 people living there year- round; the rest is publicly owned “forest preserve” The forest preserve has thousands of acres of forests with meadows, remnants of old farmsteads, lakes, rivers, springs, waterfalls, cliffs, fire towers ...

Why is Catskill famous? ›

In addition to breathtaking natural attractions like waterfalls and scenic vistas, the Catskill Mountains are also famous for its number of maintained hiking trails, ski resorts, lakes, and rivers for visitors to explore. There are 98 peaks in the Catskill Mountains.

Do Jews go to Catskills? ›

Early Jewish Migration to the Catskill Mountains

In the early twentieth century, before the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains became a cultural phenomenon, attracting big-name entertainers performing for huge audiences, many Eastern European immigrants settled in the area.

Do rich people go to the Catskills? ›

The Catskills have a long up-and-down history as a hotspot for wealthy New Yorkers.

Why did the Catskills fail? ›

As air travel grew, the younger generation of Jewish-Americans looked further abroad for more exotic leisure destinations, sending the resort in decline and ruin. Exploring the local abandoned hotel - Kutchers Resort. With the decline, the railways began cutting service to the area.

Is Steiner resort a real place? ›

And while Steiner is fictional, Scott's Family Resort, the idyllic location where the crew filmed scenes of the Maisels biking, boating, and sunbathing, is a very real place. The property sits on the shores of Oquaga Lake and has been in the Scott family for six generations, but now they've decided to sell.

Where is the Steiner resort in Mrs Maisel? ›

The Scott's Family Resort, located at 591 Oquaga Lake Road in Deposit, New York, is currently listed by Hilco Real Estate and is accepting offers from interested buyers.

What was the name of the resort in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? ›

While the name of the actual resort is different—it's called Scott's Oquage Lake House Resort—the buildings are all exactly what you saw in the show. The lucky owner would get Midge's family's cottage, the two-story guest house, a golf course, a private lake, and 1,000 acres of land.

Was Dirty Dancing filmed in the Catskills? ›

The happenings and scenery of the resort helped inspire the iconic romantic film "Dirty Dancing." The movie, which was primarily filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, and in North Carolina's Lake Lure, showcased much of what families loved about the Catskills resort – large dinners, group activities and, ...

Why are they called the Catskills? ›

The origin of the name Catskill is somewhat contentious. It has long been argued that the name is derived from Kaaterskill (Dutch: “Wildcat Creek”), as one of the better-known nearby streams is called (probably because of the presence of bobcats).

Is Grossinger's in the Catskills still open? ›

One of the largest Borscht Belt resorts, it was a kosher establishment that catered primarily to Jewish clients from New York City. After decades of activity and notable guests, it closed in 1986. The resort buildings were demolished in 2018.

When can you go to the Catskills? ›

Best Time to Visit Catskills Region

July – October: Summer in the Catskills are a very good period for visitors. Summer weather in this region is comfortable and full of outdoor activities. The temperature is warm during the day and cools at night. Early October is considered Prime Time for leaf-peeping.

How big is the Catskills? ›

What towns are in Sullivan County NY? ›

Sullivan County

Who owned the Nevele Hotel? ›

The main hotel managed to remain open for three more years before closing without notice after the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Owners Joel Hoffman and Mitchell Wolff had failed to pay taxes on the property.

How many acres was the Nevele Resort? ›

After word that the old Nevele Resort and Spa was being rehabbed into a sports complex -- the property is now up for sale. The 564 acre property is up for sale for $8 million.

Who performed at the Nevele? ›

The Nevele Grand Hotel ("eleven" spelled backwards) opened in Wawarsing in the Catskills in 1903. Comedians Buddy Hackett and Milton Berle were on the performance roster of the high-rise resort.

When did the Catskills decline? ›

By the 1970s, many of these once-glittering Catskills resorts were no longer, as the area entered a long period of decline. (Poverty rates in Sullivan County, for instance, are still among the highest in the state.)

Where did Mrs Maisel stay in the Catskills? ›

Scott's Family Resort at Oquaga Lake

Scott's Family Resort is the exact resort where season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was filmed! Surrounding Oquaga Lake, a private lake nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Scott's Oquaga Lake House evoked a refreshed feeling and inspired guests.

Do Jews go to Catskills? ›

Early Jewish Migration to the Catskill Mountains

In the early twentieth century, before the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains became a cultural phenomenon, attracting big-name entertainers performing for huge audiences, many Eastern European immigrants settled in the area.

Why did people stop vacationing in the Catskills? ›

People lost interest in the Borscht Belt for a number of reasons, but the decline was due in large part to the boom in airline industry, as the possibility of exotic getaways lessened visitor's desire to return to the Catskills for vacation.

Do rich people go to the Catskills? ›

The Catskills have a long up-and-down history as a hotspot for wealthy New Yorkers.

Why is Catskill famous? ›

In addition to breathtaking natural attractions like waterfalls and scenic vistas, the Catskill Mountains are also famous for its number of maintained hiking trails, ski resorts, lakes, and rivers for visitors to explore. There are 98 peaks in the Catskill Mountains.

Is Steiner resort a real place? ›

And while Steiner is fictional, Scott's Family Resort, the idyllic location where the crew filmed scenes of the Maisels biking, boating, and sunbathing, is a very real place. The property sits on the shores of Oquaga Lake and has been in the Scott family for six generations, but now they've decided to sell.

Where is the Steiner resort in Mrs Maisel? ›

The Scott's Family Resort, located at 591 Oquaga Lake Road in Deposit, New York, is currently listed by Hilco Real Estate and is accepting offers from interested buyers.

Videos

1. Kutsher's Country Club
(Urban Decay Photo)
2. Kutshers Hotel 2003 Family
(Andrew L)
3. Last Look at Kutshers Monticello 2/2
(harryrez)
4. The Show From Kutsher's Hotel 3/16!!!!!
(Catching Rec Ent.)
5. Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort - Film Festival Trailer
("Welcome to Kutsher's")
6. Helen Kutsher Dies
(ANVISports)

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