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8 Best Hotels In Watkins Glen NY: Where To Stay In 2023

8 Best Hotels In Watkins Glen NY: Where To Stay In 2023

Are you looking for the best hotels in Watkins Glen NY? Perfect! We’re going to show you the 8 top rated hotel options available to you, including cheap, mid range and luxury Watkins Glen hotels.

Instead of trawling through randomly listed hotel search engine results, use our research and data driven guide to find the best hotels near Watkins Glen NY for your visit based on location, value, previous guest ratings and our own extensive experiences.

Here’s how we will break down the best hotels in Watkins Glen NY to help you find the perfect place to stay:

  • Our Watkins Glen experience
  • Why stay in Watkins Glen?
  • Popular things to do around Watkins Glen
  • Watkins Glen hotels map
  • 8 best Watkins Glen NY hotels

Let’s find you the perfect Watkins Glen hotel for your trip to the popular NY Finger Lakes region!

*Please note this guide contains affiliate links. If you click on one, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the free content we provide! Read more in our disclosure policy.*

Our Watkins Glen NY Hotels Experience

Kristen grew up just 75 miles from the village of Watkins Glen and has visited the shores of Seneca Lake countless times.

Since moving to the US in 2019, hiking and photographing the mesmerizing Watkins Glen Gorge Trail has become one of Mark’s favorite things to do each time we are back in Upstate NY. You can never have too many photos of the gorge here!

As we have explored many of the best places to visit in the Finger Lakes, we have stayed at a number of hotels in the region including Watkins Glen.

We prefer to enter Watkins Glen gorge right after sunrise to beat the crowds, so up to now we have stayed at 2 hotels in the village of Watkins Glen NY.

The first was a low budget lodging option near the entrance to the gorge and the other was a more luxurious stay at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on Seneca Lake.

Mark and Kristen Morgan from Best Hotels Anywhere in Watkins Glen State Park gorge at Rainbow Falls
Mark and Kristen at Rainbow Falls in Watkins Glen State Park just after sunrise

Why Stay In Watkins Glen, New York?

Watkins Glen is an exceptionally popular tourist destination in heart of New York’s relaxing Finger Lakes region.

Along with Ithaca, Canandaigua and Geneva, the small village of Watkins Glen is one of the most popular places to use a base for exploring the area.

There are plenty of great places to eat and stay in Watkins Glen, plus you have instant access to the remarkable Watkins Glen State Park gorge and the famous Seneca Lake wine trail.

In addition, motor racing fans flock to the streets of Watkins Glen for NASCAR racing each year (in 2023 race dates are August 18-20).

One of our favorite events each year is the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, which is a wild weekend of sampling wine until you drop!

White cruise boat with Seneca Legacy written on side sat on blue lake with pontoon
Seneca Legacy cruise in Watkins Glen NY

Things To Do Around Watkins Glen NY

So what can you do if you decide to spend two or three nights at a hotel in Watkins Glen?

Well, there’s a lot more to do than you might have first thought!

We spent a really fun few days exploring the areas around Watkins Glen State Park and highly recommend allowing for at least a 2 day visit to the area.

Let’s take a look at what is in store for your visit:

  • Hike the Watkins Glen gorge trail
  • Photograph the extraordinary Rainbow Falls
  • Watch the NASCAR racing
  • Sample local grapes on a wine tour
  • Take a cruise on Seneca Lake
  • Hunt for more of the best Finger Lakes waterfalls
  • Taste locally produced cheese and ice cream

Want to see the best of Watkins Glen?

Read our complete guide to the 20 best things to do in Watkins Glen NY on our sister site next to help with planning your itinerary!

Nickels Pit BBQ restaurant from the outside on a sunny day
Nickel’s Pit BBQ is one of the top rated places to eat in Watkins Glen

Are Hotels In Watkins Glen NY Expensive?

We travel the world for a living and stay in hotels year round, so we understand how pricing works pretty well. Watkins Glen NY hotels are priced around exactly what you would expect to pay for the area.

The good news is that Watkins Glen has a range of hotel quality and therefore prices, which means visitors on any type of budget can find a great place to stay.

Travelers on a low budget can find Watkins Glen hotel rooms for around $100 / night in off season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even the more expensive hotels in the area remain at somewhere around $250 / night in peak months if booked in advance.

With that said, there are two important things we want to make you aware of before booking your hotel in Watkins Glen NY.

1. Hotel Tax In Watkins Glen, New York

The first thing you should bear in mind when booking hotels near Watkins Glen is “Hotel Tax“, which is officially known as Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).

Watkins Glen is located in Schuyler County, New York which levies 12% hotel tax on all stays, no matter how you book your room.

So let’s say a room costs $100 for one night in Watkins Glen, your total cost is going to be $112.00

  • When booking your hotel using look under the price for “includes taxes and fees“. This means the price you see is final and will not be subject to further add ons.
  • Conversely, if you see text reading something like “+$30 for taxes and fees“, that means you will pay the hotel room cost + the additional 12% fee for bed tax.

Tax is nothing new to Americans who are used to paying tax on pretty much everything, but for international visitors this is something to be aware of so you avoid any nasty surprises when you come to pay!

2. Seasonality In Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen has a peak season and a low season:

  • Peak season in Watkins Glen is from the end of May until early November when the Gorge Trail is open, the wine tasting season is in full swing and the racetrack has several events.
  • Off season in Watkins Glen is mostly during the cold and snowy winter months from December through May.

What does this mean for booking hotels in Watkins Glen?

Well, it means seasonality will inevitably play a role in hotel availability and affordability for your visit.

Summer months are the busiest and most expensive in Watkins Glen, so if you are visiting for the State Park it might be worth considering June, September or October as more affordable months.

It is also worth considering that prices will inflate heavily on race dates and during holiday weekends.

Person walking into a hotel with duffel bag on a sunny day
Kristen walking into Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel with our duffel

Where To Stay In Watkins Glen NY

Watkins Glen is a small place but we can still split the area into two distinct regions to help you choose the best place to stay for your visit.

Here is how we would break up the village:

  • 1. Downtown Watkins Glen
  • 2. Lakeside to the northwest

Most visitors to Watkins Glen should try to stay somewhere within the village for easy access to the State Park, restaurants, bars and Seneca Lake.

However, we would suggest those who are visiting Watkins Glen intending to partake in a few days of wine tasting or looking for a secluded stay might want to consider staying northwest of the village right alongside Seneca Lake where several wineries are located.

Watkins Glen NY Hotels Map

Let’s take a quick look at an interactive Google Map showing the locations of the 8 best Watkins Glen hotels featured in this guide.

Map key:

  • Green icons – Cheap hotels in Watkins Glen
  • Red icons – Mid range budget hotels in Watkins Glen
  • Blue icons – Luxury hotels in Watkins Glen

Click or touch the map to activate.

Zoom in and out, move around the Watkins Glen area and see exactly where each lodging option is located.

Rainbow Falls in Watkins Glen series of waterfalls through a narrow gorge and colorful leaves in trees above
Rainbow Falls the centerpiece of Watkins Glen gorge

8 Best Hotels In Watkins Glen NY

OK, let’s take a look at each of the best hotels in Watkins Glen NY.

We have hand picked the top 8 Watkins Glen hotels by compiling and comparing previous guest ratings, location, value for money and our experiences in the village.

Hotels are listed in order of average nightly cost within three price range categories; cheap, mid range and luxury.

You will find 2 x cheap hotels, 3 x mid range hotels and 3 x luxury hotels. Each represents a top rated hotel within its price category.

Let’s kick things off with the best cheap hotels in Watkins Glen NY!

1. Seneca Clipper Inn

Guest ratings:

  • – 7.8 / 10
  • Google – 4.2 / 5
Exterior photo of a one story motel complex with rounded seating area on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Seneca Clipper Inn
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking
  • Location: South side of Watkins Glen

Seneca Clipper Inn is a great low budget Watkins Glen hotel option just 10 minutes walk from the entrance to Watkins Glen State Park. It is a no frills place to crash at affordable rates for those who will be out exploring all day and night.

Reviewers rate staff and location the highest at Seneca Clipper Inn. Positive comments about staff in particular make this a definitely contender for those visiting Watkins Glen on the cheap.

>> Book Hotel: Seneca Clipper Inn Watkins Glen

2. Colonial Inn and Creamery

Guest ratings:

  • – 7.1 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Exterior photo of a white building with deck chairs lined up outside
Photo courtesy of Colonial Inn and Creamery
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, pet friendly, breakfast available, bar
  • Location: Downtown Watkins Glen

Colonial Inn and Creamery is a family run motel and ice cream parlor in the heart of downtown Watkins Glen. The location is superb, just 5 minutes from Watkins Glen State Park to the south and 5 minutes from most major dining options to the north.

Reviewers rate staff and location the highest at Colonial Inn. Guests have access to free ice cream and small breakfast bites, the rooms are old but quaint and the staff are welcoming.

>> Book Hotel: Colonial Inn and Creamery Watkins Glen

3. Budget Inn Watkins Glen

Guest ratings:

  • – 8.0 / 10
  • Google – 3.8 / 5
Typical American one story motel rooms in a line with parking lot in front and green trees behind
Photo courtesy of Budget Inn Watkins Glen
  • Price: Cheap $
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, breakfast offered May through October
  • Location: South side of Watkins Glen

Budget Inn is a fantastic cheap hotel in Watkins Glen NY and we can tell you from experience that it does just what you need at an excellent price point. It is located slightly further to the south of town but only takes around 10 minutes to walk to the State Park entrance.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness and location the highest at Budget Inn. It scores higher for comfort and cleanliness than most other affordable hotel options in town.

>> Book Hotel: Budget Inn Watkins Glen

4. Lakeside Resort

Guest ratings:

  • – 9.1 / 10
  • Google – 4.6 / 5
Guest room and kitchen in a cabin at Lakeside Resort one of the top rated hotels in Watkins Glen NY
Photo courtesy of Lakeside Resort
  • Price: Mid range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, BBQ facilities, garden, free parking, on site restaurant and bar, breakfast available at extra cost, pet friendly
  • Location: Lakeside

Lakeside Resort is one of the very best places to stay in Watkins Glen NY in the lower price range. Not only can you walk, hike and waterfall hunt on the 30 acre property with lake views, but you can also choose to stay in detached cabins with kitchens which is perfect for longer stays.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness, facilities, value for money and location the highest at Lakeside Resort. It gets a clean sweep after hundreds of reviews which means this place is popular and delivers. The onsite Bistro is highly regarded and the lodging is very dog friendly.

>> Book Hotel: Lakeside Resort Watkins Glen

5. Longhouse Manor B&B

Guest ratings:

  • – 8.7 / 10
  • Google – 4.3 / 5
Guest bedroom with bed and drawers in a old world style
Photo courtesy of Longhouse Manor B&B
  • Price: Mid Range $$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, breakfast
  • Location: Lakeside

Longhouse Manor B&B is another excellent choice for those who would prefer to stay in a quiet hotel with lake views but within short driving distance to the amenities in town. This B&B serves up breakfast each morning and in summer you can even take a dip in the pool.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness and location the highest at Longhouse Manor B&B. This is a peaceful, relaxing and family orientated place to stay in which you can get to know the owners and other visitors.

>> Book Hotel: Longhouse Manor B&B Watkins Glen

6. Hudson Manor B&B

Guest ratings:

  • – 9.3 / 10
  • Google – 5 / 5
Stunning white wooden building surrounded by grass and trees in New York State
Photo courtesy of Hudson Manor B&B
  • Price: Luxury $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, excellent breakfast, gardens
  • Location: Downtown Watkins Glen

Hudson Manor B&B is a very highly rated Watkins Glen hotel offering a true and tasty farm to table breakfast daily. The location is superb with the restaurants in town and Seneca Lake cruises within 10 minutes walk. Views over the lake from the property are fantastic.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness, facilities, value for money and location the highest at Hudson Manor. There is a 2 night minimum stay but you wouldn’t want to leave after one night anyway!

>> Book Hotel: Hudson Manor B&B Watkins Glen

7. Idlwilde Inn B&B Watkins Glen

Guest ratings:

  • – 9.5 / 10
  • Google – 4.9 / 5
Victorian mansion on a hill at sunset with stunning colorful clouds in the sky
Photo courtesy of Idlwilde Inn
  • Price: Luxury $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, excellent breakfast
  • Location: Downtown Watkins Glen

Idlwilde Inn B&B is a historic Victorian mansion attractive on both the inside and outside with stunning views over Seneca Lake. It is set back in a quieter location atop a hill around 10 minutes walk from shops and restaurants in downtown Watkins Glen.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness, value for money, facilities and location the highest at Idlwilde Inn. The luxurious and charming Inn is a great choice for couples seeking a romantic break.

>> Book Hotel: Idlwilde Inn B&B Watkins Glen

8. Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

Guest ratings:

  • – 9.3 / 10
  • Google – 4.6 / 5
Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel behind a marina filled with small boats on a sunny day in Watkins Glen NY
Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel as seen from the marina
  • Price: Luxury $$$
  • Amenities: Free WiFi, free parking, fitness center, on site restaurant and bar, indoor swimming pool and hot tub,
  • Location: Downtown Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is the quintessential place to stay in Watkins Glen NY. We had a fantastic experience using the fully equipped gym and hot tub during our stay. It has instant access to the marina and restaurants in town, as well as direct Seneca Lake views.

Reviewers rate staff, comfort, cleanliness, facilities and location the highest at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. It has by far the most reviews of any hotel in Watkins Glen and almost all are glowingly positive. We highly recommend staying at Harbor Hotel if it fits your budget.

>> Book Hotel: Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

Best Hotels In Watkins Glen FAQ’s

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most frequently asked questions about places to stay in Watkins Glen, New York.

What is the best cheap hotel in Watkins Glen NY?

Lakeside Resort is the best affordable hotel in Watkins Glen, New York. It has extremely high guest ratings, views over Seneca Lake and peaceful cabin style rooms.

What is the best luxury hotel in Watkins Glen NY?

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is the classic luxury hotel selection in the village of Watkins Glen and we can speak from experience to confirm that it is a superb place to stay with a healthy budget when visiting Watkins Glen NY.

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We hope this guide to the best hotels in Watkins Glen NY helps you book the perfect hotel for your visit to the Finger Lakes!

Please let us know if you have any questions about any of the hotels in our list of best places to stay in Watkins Glen NY by commenting below.

Happy Booking,

Mark and Kristen
Best Hotels Anywhere

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