We stayed at Whiteface Lodge for eight nights over 4th of July week. Room cost alone was $3,200 (about $400 a night including tax) for the smallest room, a 1 bedroom suite. Note that I'm reviewing our experience during high season summertime when the resort is at its busiest.
If you do not have children, I recommend you do not pass go, do not collect $200, and march directly to the Lake Placid Lodge (beautiful, no kids, ridiculously good food, heavenly luxury) or to the Mirror Lake Inn (more folksy, more active, less remote).
There is no way we would step foot in Whiteface Lodge if we did not have children. Whiteface is ALL about the kids and families and is organized to entertain children. While there are nods to adulthood (a bar/casual lounge, a nice restaurant), do note that these places, including the fancy Kanu restaurant, are filled with kids.
That said, if you do have kids you are in for a treat. We regularly travel to 5-star resorts and always feel like we have to be aware of our child bothering other people. At this resort, everyone is in the same boat so it makes for a very relaxed atmosphere and the families are very friendly.
There are five main elements to Whiteface.
First, it has Kamp Kanu. This is a FREE day-long (9:30 to 3:30 p.m., 7 days a week in summer) camp that takes children ages 3.5 and older and entertains them in a green yurt or at the various ponds and hills in the hotel. Our child LOVED this place. He got to go fishing, catch frogs, play soccer. The people who run it are young, energetic counselors who rotate every few days. Lunch is $12 at the camp or you can fetch your kid and have lunch with them before returning them for the rest of the day.
Second, there is an indoor/outdoor pool. A movie theater with three films a day, popcorn machines, game room, bowling lanes, ice cream parlor. And at night the staff lights up the courtyard campfire and fills a bowl with s'mores makings. This courtyard -- a giant section of grass -- is completely full from about 8 p.m. to 9:30 with kids running around and burning off steam.
Third, there is the Canoe Club. You reach this via a free hotel shuttle. The 'shuttle' is a series of nice leather-seated SUVs, always available within a few minutes, and drops you at the Club which is on the shores of Lake Placid. It's a decent place with a raked and roped-off beach perfect for kids. Staff offers beer and a BBQ and towels. We took out the ski boat and the hacker craft and recommend both. You can do tubing and water skiing. Make sure you go to Echo Bay at the end of Lake Placid for the most beautiful, remote swimming and sightseeing on Lake Placid.
Fourth, the rooms. They are decorated in the old Adirondacks style, lots of wood, and not nearly as cheesy as the website makes them out to be. The bedding is very luxurious. We had a one-bedroom suite. All rooms have a kitchen. Housekeeping does two rounds a day in your room and will even do the dishes or pop them in the dishwasher for you. There is a washer/dryer and soap as well.
Fifth, the restaurant Kanu and the bar/lounge both serve excellent food. Even though the restaurant feels upscale it is again very kid friendly. We recommend the wood-burning stove pizza, risotto and the toffee ice cream bar.
1. Packages and pricing: if you can, forgo the $100 a night resort credit and just get the cheaper room. You will likely want to leave the property for some dinners and the credit does not cover many purchases (such as alcohol).
2. Tipping: we left tips for valet/shuttle staff and housekeeping on our tab at the end of the stay. Even though we did not tip as we went we were treated extremely well each day by the valet staff.
3. For the marketing staff: it's Kamp Kanu, Kanu Restaurant, but ... the Canoe Club? A freshman marketing major would scratch his head over this...
4. Room suggestion: we loved our second floor, EVEN-numbered room. Had a balcony -- necessary to contain our toddler. First floor rooms open onto the grass (which is great if you have older kids). I would request a second floor and even-numbered room when we go back as the view overlooks the courtyard and faces the sunset in summer. Second floor is right in the middle of everything. Third floor seems depressing. View overlooking the pond is very quiet but buggy in the summertime.
5. Dinner: head down to the Moose Lodge for dinner, it's the only place right on Lake Placid. The food is meh and the service is indifferent, but the view is phenomenal and the drinks are cold. If you get a sitter (we used Antonia through the resort) head over to the Lake Placid Lodge for a seriously killer dinner. The chef is amazing. Both locations are 1.5 miles from Whiteface on an uncrowded road and with plenty of parking at both.
6. Boats: sunset cruise boats are available for rent at the Lake Placid Lodge. For some reason, Canoe Club shuts at 6 p.m. and has no sunset cruises, when the lake is at its calmest (and many skiers are out) and most beautiful.
1. Our housekeeping was hit and miss. They seemed overwhelmed in summer and did not do our turn down one night until a few minutes before 10 p.m. We complained but the management did not do anything. The next night we had a similar problem. Sometimes the rooms were cleaned extremely well and other times they didn't even wipe down surfaces with crumbs. It's great they come twice a day but the management needs to get it together in terms of hiring enough staff.
2. I requested a pedicure at the spa. The receptionist sniffed that there were no available appointments for two days. I passed the nail salon at least 15 times over those two days -- it was completely empty. They simply did not have anyone -- not that there were no appointments. We went instead to River Rock and had spa treatments from Jasmine there.
3. There was no place on the property, and few places at the Canoe Club, that were under shade. They need to provide more umbrellas for people who do not want to be under a burning sun all day long.
The staff is seriously cool. Young kids, some Olympians, very nice, fit young people with NO attitude. Everyone at Canoe Club was great and when we took the boats out we used Brent. He was both safety conscious and interesting and knew the great spots. Anna and Tyler were both great concierges and put up with our endless requests for adventures...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, this exclusive resort is a haven of comfort and elegance. A retreat where guests can relax in sumptuous all suites resort and enjoy superb cuisine. A refined atmosphere, log architecture, fire places, world class spa, year round activities and the Canoe Beach club on Lake Placid. The Lodge is both a family friendly destination and an adult playground or romantic escape. A Member of Leading Hotels of The World and the most Luxurious Full Service Resort in the Adirondacks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Whiteface Hotel Lake Placid
- Whiteface Hotel Lake Placid
- Whiteface Lodge