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Urban Chic Meets Country Charm at The Roxbury
Travel Weekly
November 17, 2004

By Claudette Covey

ROXBURY, N.Y.—"Modern simplicity meets bold color meets sheer fun."

That’s how Greg Henderson, co-owner of the Roxbury, describes the property that he and his partner, Joseph Massa, opened this summer in the heart of the Catskill Mountains.

Whether travelers opt for the Roxbury’s three-room Austin Powers suite, appointed in bold oranges and yellows, or a space-age studio room decorated in black and metallic themes, guests can count on one thing: This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, your stereotypical Borscht Belt property.

The 11-unit Roxbury, which can accommodate 32 guests, was designed, said Henderson, to cater to urbanites interested in rural vacations. The property is about a three-hour drive from Manhattan.

"Our market is primarily urban professionals looking for a different aesthetic in the Catskills, somewhere they can enjoy activities in all four seasons," he said.

The region offers many activities, including skiing, snowboarding, golfing, fishing, biking, tubing, antiquing, kayaking and canoeing.

When indoors, however, this market wants modern conveniences, which the Roxbury provides.

All rooms and suites include high-speed Internet stations in each room, televisions with DVD players and MP3 CD playback, air conditioning, Egyptian cotton towels and plush pillowtop mattresses. Some units come with kitchenettes, and all include coffee machines, microwaves and refrigerators.

In addition to urban professionals, families and gay and lesbian travelers have been attracted to the Roxbury, Henderson said. "We’ve got a whole family who live in Bermuda year-round who are coming here to ski," he said.

"The kids are loving the rooms like the Austin Powers suite," said Henderson. "Often the daughters ask if I could decorate their rooms at home."

And for gay and lesbian travelers, Henderson said the Roxbury serves as a safe haven where they can feel comfortable in their surroundings.

All things considered, it’s no accident that the Roxbury exudes a decidedly theatrical ambience. Massa ran a theater company for more than 10 years and also built sets for the Metropolitan Opera as well as for "Saturday Night Live" and other NBC programs.

He directed Henderson’s one-man theatrical production "Whirlwind!" that toured the country for five years.

When the show closed, Henderson switched careers and began working on Wall Street. He eventually became vice president of marketing and communications for a commodity-derivatives risk management software firm.

Henderson and Massa, who had a second home in the Catskills, decided to reinvent their lives by opening the Roxbury.

"Like so many people, once they reach their 40s they reach a point where they want to be their own bosses and control their own destinies," said Henderson.

They found a rundown motel and decided to breathe new life into it. Suffice it to say that the Roxbury has become Massa and Henderson’s newest production—one that took a year to come together.

"On any given day, we had 25 construction workers working on it," he said. "I spent a year not sleeping much and waking up with anxiety attacks."

The anxiety, said Henderson, has abated. "Business has been beyond my wildest expectations."

The Roxbury serves a continental breakfast with Kona coffee. A convenience store and restaurant are within walking distance. For fine dining, Henderson said guests will find a wealth of local restaurants from which to choose.

The Roxbury is in close proximity to Plattekill Ski Center and Shephard Hills Golf Course and minutes away from the Belleayre Ski Center.

Rates range from $85 to $200 a night for two people in a room. Each additional person is $20. Children under 12 stay—and ski—free. The Roxbury pays 10% commission.

For more information on the property, specific rates and ski packages, contact the Roxbury at (607) 326-7200; e-mail info@catskillvacationlodging.com or visit www.catskillvacationlodging.com.

To contact reporter Claudette Covey, send e-mail ccovey@ntmllc.com .

Picture Caption: Owners Greg Henderson and Joseph Massa turned a rundown motel into the 11-room Roxbury.

Picture Caption: A room at the Roxbury—not your typical Borscht Belt accommodations.