Lake Placid is a classic destination for those looking for some peace. There are dozens of small hotels and motels, as well as diversions like wineries, breweries, and the Olympic training center, located in and around downtown Lake Placid, but the best way to experience the natural beauty of the area is to stay at one of the big lodges there. We had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the Whiteface Lodge, and would recommend it without reservation.
The AAA Four-Diamond hotel is truly the gem of the Adirondacks. The traditional log-cabin Adirondack-style architecture creates a rustic and homey feel, and behind its timeless design is an efficient team operating with world-class efficiency, with a level of hospitality that you’ll only find at the finest hotels in the world.
Whiteface is the only resort in the region that’s made up entirely of suites, meaning that each suite features a fully-equipped kitchen, a private balcony or patio, radiant-heat flooring in the bathrooms, and a washer-dryer. Suites range in size from 700 to a whopping 2,300 square feet, and there are 94 of them at the resort in total.
And while the suites are spectacular, you can spend 12 hours every day not in your room, never leaving the grounds, and always have something to do. There’s a gym, a fully-equipped spa, a year-round indoor/outdoor pool and several hot tubs (one of which is adults-only), a 56-seat movie theater, a game room complete with a private vintage bowling alley (reserve a time at the front desk; nobody should leave without experiencing this!), an ice cream parlor, and a kids club. And that’s only what’s available indoors! Should you decide to venture outside, there’s an ice skating rink (in the winter), outdoor lean-tos where you can relax with a cigar and cognac, tennis courts and a fishing pond (in the summer), nature trails, and lake access. Because Whiteface Mountain itself is a protected area it’s a brief car ride away, but if you want to ski a shuttle will take you there. Concierge can also help you out if you’re looking to do basically any type of outdoor activity, from golfing to rock climbing to dog sledding, and you can even take a jaunt over to the Olympic complex if you want to try your hand at bobsled.
All those activities can work up an appetite, and the dining found at Whiteface is in many ways its crown jewel. Executive chef David Haick is at the helm at KANU, a spacious restaurant with soaring ceilings and spectacular views. He’s crafted a menu that would earn raves anywhere in America, drawing on local, seasonal ingredients. On their spring menu, there’s a truffled English pea soup with Vermont ramps; local lamb chops with lavender and Vermont feta; a Heritage pork chop with vanilla-scented turnip puree, Brussels sprouts, dried fruit, and sweet potato; and a 14 ounce bone-in filet with smashed potatoes, morels, and a salted pork and veal reduction. There’s also a gluten-free menu, a kids’ menu, and a Food & Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning 400-bottle wine list. Every morning there’s a full breakfast buffet as well, with a la carte options including cinnamon brioche French toast, waffles or pancakes with fresh berries, and eggs from Virginia’s Harmony Hill Farm.
There’s also the KANU Lounge, for those looking to have a cocktail, lunch, or a more casual dinner experience. That menu includes a warm white bean dip; pizzas; a burger made with local cheddar, Kilcoyne Farms Angus beef, honey-cured bacon, and a housemade bun; and roasted mountain trout. For dessert, there’s fried apple rings or an ice cream sandwich.
While it’s clear that these are some world-class accommodations, it’s the little things that raise the level of hospitality here above and beyond the norm. For example, if you leave something in your car someone will run down into the heated parking garage and retrieve it for you and bring it to your room, and there are no ice machines; just give the front desk a call and they’ll bring you some. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the odds are high that you’ll never hear the word “no” during your entire visit.
Whiteface Lodge is really one of those resorts that’s all things to all people: you can spend your visit reading in a plush chair in your suite, taking in the great outdoors, watching movies, swimming, getting spa treatments, bowling, sampling 25 single malt Scotches in the lounge, or any combination of those, and leave feeling like you accomplished everything you set out to achieve. It’s rare when a destination gets everything right, even the smallest details, but Whiteface Lodge really does.