Hot pool at new Catskills hotel is a hit with guests

When travelers imagine relaxing in a hot tub or heated pool, many images come to mind. But chances are none will include…a shipping container.

This unexpected surprise and delight are among the many features to discover at Rest Co., a new boutique hotel in the Catskills near Bethel Woods, co-owned by longtime friends Max King and Heath Miller.

When King and Miller decided to open their first hotel together, they knew it had to be in the Hudson Valley or the Catskills, but they just didn’t know where. The duo had previously collaborated on a few Airbnb properties in Red Hook. The success of these Airbnbs and their combined 20 years of experience (Miller owns a brand marketing company; King a construction and design company) prompted them to consider opening a hotel.

“I build high-end restaurants and residences in New York, and I just decided to start looking for a property,” says King.

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Crossing the river was no accident – King and Miller frequently visited Callicoon Wine Merchant, owned by another friend of theirs, and they knew the area well. “We’ve all been to Syracuse University, so we’d stop there on our way up to see a basketball game,” King says. “It was very organic how it all happened.”

They came across a 1940 poultry farm/barn and gatehouse that was in foreclosure in Kenoza Lake, just 10 minutes from Bethel. After purchasing the property in June 2020, they immediately began renovations, transforming it into a small boutique hotel.

The main building has three bedrooms and two suites, one of which is complete with a private terrace and a bathtub.

“Heath and I did the design together,” King explains. “We call it a minimalist farmhouse.” Rooms have black-and-white country decor, with whitewashed rafters and wide black-painted pine plank floors, softened by cream-colored rugs. Accent walls are covered in moss green and navy plaid wallpaper.

Understated furnishings are modern, while bathrooms have subway-tiled walk-in showers and amenities from Hudson Made, which sources ingredients and botanicals less than 200 miles from the River Valley. ‘Hudson.

Owners Heath Miller and Max King call the hotel’s design “minimalist farmhouse.”

Rest Co.
Owners Heath Miller and Max King style the design of the hotel "minimalist farmhouse."

Owners Heath Miller and Max King call the hotel’s design “minimalist farmhouse.”

Rest Co.

Miller and King call the hotel’s design “minimalist farmhouse.” (Photos: Rest Co.)

Downstairs, the sophisticated bar and restaurant are painted a dark teal with high-backed velvet stools in the same color.

But the main draw is outside on the property’s seven acres: the hotel’s 50-foot shipping container hot pool in Modpool, British Columbia.

“The pool is 95 degrees, and when guests arrive they are given a large bathrobe and slippers. They can sit there all day,” says King. “We will lower the temperature in the summer.”

The hotel also has a duck pond visible from the terraces and patio by the pool.

Since the hotel opened in February, they’ve been booked every weekend, according to King. The main building can accommodate 10 guests, and the chalet, when it opens this summer, will accommodate four.

“We will never have more than 14 guests. It’s a very intimate experience. You hit the pool, then sit at the bar and our expert mixologist Mike Roberto goes through the ingredients and finds something you like.

Now that spring has arrived, they are preparing a vegetable garden, which will provide produce and herbs for chef Molly Lopez’s vegan menu and for Roberto’s craft cocktails.

“We plan to have picnics and let a guest pull tomatoes from the vine and pick vegetables, and we’ll cook them something to eat by the pool,” says King. “It’s a very personalized experience when you’re here.”

The hotel offers bicycles for guests to ride down to Lake Kenoza, and nearby towns of Callicoon, Livingston Manor, Jeffersonville, and Narrowsburg are to explore, as are the Delaware River and local state parks. King and Miller also have a relationship with the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, just three miles away, making Rest Co. a great place to stay for people going to see shows there — or playing there.

“We have connections in the music industry and we’ll have bands staying at the hotel when they play Bethel Woods,” says King.

King also envisions Rest Co. becoming an overnight destination for local wedding guests booked into larger venues. “We work with some of the biggest hotels in the area and they send overflows to us,” says King. “The hotel and restaurant owners here in Sullivan County are all friendly – we work together for a common goal.”

But King and Miller want to appeal to locals as well as city dwellers, and hope to have a year-round clientele coming to stay from the surrounding area.

“Just a few weeks ago, a couple who live in Hudson decided to drive up here for an anniversary getaway,” King says. “This is the perfect couples getaway.”

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