An exclusive, inside look: New York’s largest waterpark, The Kartrite, is opening
Come along for a sneak peek at the brand new Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, New York. Rockland/Westchester Journal News
THOMPSON - The Kartrite that's set to open Friday in the Catskills is no average waterpark.
The waterpark itself is the largest in New York at 80,000 square feet with 11 water attractions and 318,000 gallons of water running through it.
The attached hotel is upscale, with 324 all-suite rooms that range from a 500 square-foot room with two sets of bunk beds to the 1,820 square foot, three-bedroom corner suite with three full bathrooms.
And the resort's dining includes seven restaurants and bars that go along with a spa, arcades and a large outdoor courtyard.
Visitors "are going to have amenities that they are going to be able to stay here for a few days and not have to leave the resort," general manager David Kohlasch said.
The $200 million facility has been two years in the making and opens with high expectations that it can help make the Catskills the popular tourist attraction it was decades ago for New York City-area residents.
It is also hoped to be a boost to the Resorts World Catskills, the $1 billion casino that opened a year ago on the same site. The two places, though separately owned, hope to create a synergy that will benefit both Sullivan County properties.
The USA Today Network New York visited The Kartrite last week in advance of its opening.
Here are all the details about it:
Get wet in the waterpark
On a cool April day, it was 84 degrees and sunny inside The Kartrite's waterpark.
It has the standard amenities you would find in most waterparks: a lazy river, a surfing simulator and an activity pool for toddlers.
The two-acre waterpark also has a large deck overlooking the place, with two restaurants and bars and 15 cabanas that can be rented for $249 to $399 per day.
It also has a grouping of tall water slides under its 60,000 square-foot Texlon transparent roofing system that are the main attractions.
Called The Krakken, one slide high above the park has a series of twists and turns and drops.
Another slide has dueling rafts called the Jiggerty-Jaggerty, while The Nor'Easter takes four riders through curves and dips.
The park also has a heated, indoor/outdoor pool three feet deep that extends into the resort's courtyard.
Passes for the waterpark are included in the price of staying overnight. But there are limited day passes for people not staying over that range from $59 to $99.
Staying in the hotel
Staying at The Kartrite may not come cheap, but it depends on what day of the week and what time of year you are booking.
Prices, the hotel says, can start as low as $199 a night to $449 a night in peak times.
The hotel is already booked for its opening weekend. If you wanted stay there on the following weekend, prices start at $499 a night.
But the site shows some weekday prices starting at $199 into May.
The smallest rooms are the junior suites that either have double queen beds or a single king bed with a pull-out sofa bed. Some come with balconies or patios.
A step up is the king bunk suites that can sleep eight with two sets of bunk beds in a separate room from the main living area that has one king bed and one queen sleeper sofa
Then there are the two-bedroom suites and the three-bedroom suite can sleep up to 12 guests and boasts a wrap-around balcony off the large living room, which has a fireplace, kitchen and dining table.
A stay also has a $35 resort fee per night.
What to eat
There is the Bixby's Derby and Taproom near the main lobby that includes a bar and a restaurant for families for lunch and dinner.
There's a buffet closer to the waterpark entrance; a Surfside Grill in the waterpark; a coffee shop; and a candy shop that serves ice cream.
Near the arcade is the Harvey's Wallbanger bar.
Another bar, called Bar Mez, overlooks the waterpark.
What else is there to do
The Kartrite hopes to attract groups to its conference center and to host weddings, birthdays and bar/bat mitzvahs in its 5,800-square-foot ballroom and outdoor patio.
Aside from that, it has the Playopolis arcade and Van Winkle's Alley with a four-lane mini bowling alley that also has video games nearby.
For $12, visitors can do the park's rope course that includes a zipline or pay $7 to climb its LED-lit indoor rock wall.
There's also a laser tag room and a virtual-reality theater.
For adults, there's the Chill Spa open seven days a week, as well as a fitness center.
Synergy with the casino and region
Resorts World Catskills hopes the casino and the waterpark can help one another draw visitors.
The waterpark resort is managed by Benchmark, the Houston-based hospitality company, and owned by EPR Properties, which is headquartered in Kansas City and owns the 1,700-acre site that houses the casino and the park.
As part of its lease agreement, Resorts World pays 5 percent of gaming revenue to EPR, which comes to about $10 million a year — a payment that helped fund the waterpark.
"The casino is an anchor and a big part of that economic engine and experience, but the waterpark adds to that portfolio where you have broader appeal for a wider range of demographics," said Ryan Eller, CEO of Resorts World Catskills.
This summer, Resorts World hopes to open the first nine holes of the redeveloped Monster Golf Course that is well known in the region as part of the former Concord Hotel, once on of the most popular resorts in the Catskills.
The property as a whole is trying to boost the region as a revived tourist destination.
Bethel Woods, home to the 1969 Woodstock Festival, is 20 minutes away, and the Woodbury Common outlet center is about 45 minutes away.
Next year, LEGOLAND is set to open in Goshen, Orange County, about a 30-minute drive from the waterpark.
"It’s very exciting to be part of the whole revitalization of the Catskills, and we are one of the major components of that," Kohlasch, the park's general manager, said.