When I did my scouting of upstate New York gems for the summer, I ran across Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid and could have sworn we had dinner there many moons ago as a child. It could be that there was a lodge with a similar name but the truth is, the lodge hasn’t been around for that long.
Above, private access to Lake Placid via their Canoe Club, a five minute drive from the hotel property – courtesy of the hotel.
It was originally created to be provide that upscale feel in the heart of an old Adirondack town with great skiing nearby. The upscale, all-suite lodge is only one mile from the shores of Lake Placid which is fabulous for summer and fall visitors and 22 miles from the ski slopes of Whiteface Mountain. Well positioned in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains and tucked into the picturesque woodlands of the town that was once home to two Winter Olympics games (1932 and 1980), the latter of which I came as a child to see a bobsledding race.
With a 5-6 hour drive from New York City or Boston, it’s not the easiest to access, but that’s key to its charm. Personally, I was thrilled to be off the grid and didn’t flinch every time my cell phone struggled to get access. Evoking the splendor of the historic Adirondack Great Camps, we felt as if we were in the rustic wild however within the confines of luxury amenities and exquisite food.
The property itself is surrounded by woodland on all sides with a charming fishing pond on the grounds — here, they have fishing gear and even bait lying around if you want to have a go at catching something. The property’s design is rustic timber and yet true to Adirondack style, uses traditional wood and stone – including local timber milled on site, coupled with hand-crafted furnishings and details.
The rooms are loaded with hand-crafted Adirondack-style furnishings, including a cast iron gas fireplace, slate floor, wood paneling, custom cabinetry and fully equipped kitchen with granite counter tops. While we didn’t need the radiant floor heating feature in the summer, it must be a godsend in January. Each suite has private cedar and mahogany balconies, a bathroom with jetted tub and heated floors, custom pillow-topped king beds (oh joy), a pull-out queen size sofa in the living room, which is a godsend when you have kids in tow, a European style washer and dryer, which we in fact used, and the ever so tempting warm, homemade cookies at turn-down, not a great temptation for my low carb diet. That said, Anthony and the kids devoured them before I closed the door.
They thought of the luxury wedding scenario when they created the 3,100 square foot Presidential Suite, a two-level suite with four bedrooms and four full bathrooms, a private elevator entry, a hand-crafted stone fireplace, a fully equipped gourmet kitchen and a screened-in porch. It accommodates up to 10 people, so perfect for families, friends, 5 couples or celebs.
There are 94 suites in total, a three-story game room, three restaurants, a spa, magnificently manicured grounds, open air lean tos, swimming and a variety of gaming and athletic activities throughout the property. Since we were all about Family Travel this venture, its worth noting the fabulous stuff for kids and the Kamp Kanu kid’s program.
Kamp Kanu Kids Program
After Labor Day, they offer weekend Kamp Kanu for children ages 3-10 and there’s also a Summer Kamp Kanu which runs from late June till Labor Day Weekend. It is a complimentary children’s program offered seven days a week during the summer months for children ages 3-14. Kids will make new friends and play indoors and outdoors, with each program being led by highly qualified and trained counselors. Sample activities include: games, relays & races, tag games, obstacle courses, orienteering, treasure hunts, spy games and more. Indoor activities include scavenger hunts, games, arts & crafts, storytelling, science experiments, movies, Wii, and more.
Open Air Lean Tos
The lodge offers two spacious, open-air lean-tos, which we wished we had more time to enjoy. I grew up using lean-tos, both at my first summer camp and when we went hiking (and camping) in the woods. It would have been nice to hang in one after hours for a week or more, while telling late night stories and roasting marshmallows, an activity that always brings me back to childhood.
They provide guests with an inviting, sheltered spot to gather for cigars, cocktails and hors d-oeuvres. Each is furnished with comfortable seating, warm blankets and a fire pit, and a dedicated phone line connects guests to the services of a concierge. The lean-tos are sheltered on three sides, with the fourth open to majestic mountain and sky views.
Gaming, Fitness Center & Athletic Option
There’s an extensive fitness center that is open 24 hours a day as well as group fitness classes. There’s a game room complete with billiard, shuffleboard, foosball and two-lane bowling alley, basketball, tennis and paddle tennis courts, snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, ice skating in winter (skates provided), fishing in catch-and-release pond with all equipment provided (below), and a 56-seater surround sound movie theater. How cool is that? Perfect for kids as was the game room, which we used one evening. (popcorn over a pool table, ping pong and foosball kept us going for hours).
Pools. Spa & Wellness Classes
Exercise classes include aqua aerobics, yoga, yogilates, stretch and mobility, to name a few. The Spa fitness center is open 24 hours a day which is how it “should be” but not every resorts get that — they have Life Fitness Treadmills and Upright Bike, Precor Elipticals, True Recumbent Bike along with Nautilus Strength and Conditioning Equipment. Signature treatments at the Spa include traditional massages and facials to Maple Butter Body Wrap and an Apple Cider Masque.
Their 5,800-square-foot spa offers a comprehensive menu of relaxing massages, revitalizing body treatments, facials and salon services, and an exclusive line of branded spa products. There’s an indoor and outdoor heated pool, sauna and steam room, and outdoor hot tub. And of course, we used them all but didn’t have time to get a treatment unfortunately, so can’t speak to the services specifically.
The Lodge Itself
Only ten years old, Whiteface Lodge is the vision of a former Olympian and developer who used decades of building experience to create this lodge, all built from timber which was apparently hand-milled on-site. Its wood-beamed exterior is unique as are its cozy carpet-strewn sitting rooms and cast-iron fireplaces. Have a look at its luxurious yet rustic fine touches, so much my style.
Above shots of the lodge, courtesy of the lodge.
The Oh So Adirondack-Centric Rooms
The all-suite rooms range in size from 700 to 2,300 square feet, so they’re ideal for both a romantic getaway and a family stay. Each room has a kitchen, radiant-floor heat, jetted tubs, plush-top beds, flat-screen LCD TVs, and a sitting patio or balcony. Take a peak at some of the room/suite styles available.
Above hotel and suite shots courtesy of the lodge.
Above five inside hotel shots, courtesy of the lodge.
The outside patio where you could sip a cup of tea in the morning or a glass of wine at night — oh so perfect!
Lake Placid, The Lake
They give you private access to Lake Placid via the Canoe Club and there’s a private shuttle that brings you to and from the lodge, a mere five minutes away. Here, you could take out complimentary paddle boards, canoes, kayaks and paddle boats, or simply laze around on the beach or in one of their comfy lounge chairs. There’s also a bar on the grounds where you can order bites like burgers, salads and cocktails such as summer margaritas.
Lakeside Barbecue & Picnic Just for Guests
We were lucky to be there for one of their lakeside barbecues, which they only have for guests. Live music plays on the beach, while a full buffet table is set up of grilled barbecue chicken, burgers, hot dogs and salads — of course, there’s watermelon, cupcakes and homemade cookies as well, which is great for the kids.
Featuring sophisticated, Adirondack-inspired American cuisine, Kanu, the lodge’s premier restaurant, offers diners an extensive menu of a la carte options as well as three or four-course wine-pairing experiences. An open kitchen showcases the culinary team as they prepare dishes featuring fresh ingredients sourced from local farms.
There are two rooms in the main dining room to choose from — romantic by evening and classic Adirondack warm but bright and refreshing by day.
You can sit outside during warmer months, which is a must do in summer, especially for breakfast and lunch. Below, the view from the main porch.
This canoe hanging on the wall on the outside porch was among my favorites and there was a lot to favorite in this one-of-a-kind lodge.
For a more casual dining experience, Kanu Lounge serves traditional cuisine and signature cocktails, with live music entertainment. Its wine list features more than 400 regional, domestic and international vintages.
Above two photos, courtesy of Whiteface Lodge.
The dishes were exquisite – the lighting was dim so it was hard to get great food photography that night, but the presentation and preparation were both top notch. Starters range from salads and sweet corn chowder to lamb meatballs with Italian eggplant, mint, garlic and tomato confit and Wild Mushroom Risotto.
They also had a Saranac Sourdough Bruschetta which I passed up because of the carbs, but they served it in a creative way that was hard to say no to — avocado-Asgaard Farm Goat Cheese is coupled with Strawberry-Mascarpone and black pepper! Yum! Oh so delish, and they pair it with a Chateau Ducasse French White Bordeaux. Can you say perfect?
Entrees are fairly traditional but delicious and includes dishes like a Roasted Poussin with artichoke puree, chanterelles, asparagus, poached farm egg and poultry jus, a Sirloin Steak, a Troll Caught Salmon from Washington state with cornbread, northern Beans and Hazelnuts, a Beeler Farms Pork Chop with grilled peach, smoked bacon, swiss chard and potatoes, a Black Angus fillet, a Garganelli Pasta (yum!), and a Handline Caught Bluefish from Montauk New York — they served it with a carrot-yogurt puree, tapenade oil, cucumber and Moroccan couscous.
Adirondack Creamery Ice Cream and penny candy by the pound make the lodge’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor a favorite stop for kids and adults with a sweet tooth. Speaking of kids and sweet tooth tendencies…..
Late Night S’mores by the Fire
Who doesn’t love a late s’mores by the fire, particularly when accompanied by old fashioned historical stories, and well, if brave enough, ghost stories too. We certainly had them and I had visuals of the blue ghost from Blue Mountain Lake for years.
Storyteller Chris Grubb from Planetarium Adventures: Brings the Universe to the Classroom, reads stories to kids around the fire and teaches them about the universe and our solar system on a regular basis. He read this to us while we were there that night and I loved it so much, I asked him to send it to me:
THE MILKY WAY
“Late at night, as the coals of the fire deepen into black, we tell of our great souls. Silent were their footsteps through the pine forests, across buffalo grass, and into the canyons. Steadfast in their teachings, with their lives they blazed a trail for our people to follow with honor.
And when their footsteps brought them to that chasm beyond which men venture only once, they vanished from our midst. It is likely that we shall never see their equal again.
But as they left their and spirit forever with us, their people, so even now as they journey on, they leave an imperishable mark upon the sky. For there, arching across the heavens is the pathway of the souls.
We do not know where their journey now leads them. Nor do we know what sights they may behold. And, in the night each bright star is a campfire blazing in the sky where they have paused in their journey to look down on us, their people, as we huddle for warmth around the campfire.”
And so it was….and so it was. I shared this time with other couples and some random children as they burned their marshmallows. I propped my head back and took in the stars that I don’t see every night at home and couldn’t help but feel grateful for being back in the Adirondacks on such a cherished beautiful night.
Be sure to read my reflective piece on Mirror Lake where we also spend time the same week.
7 Whiteface Inn Lane
Lake Placid,New York 12946
Note: we were hosted for our stay and some activities in Lake Placid but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.