Ah, traveling with children. It can feel like a glorious chore sometimes, part work and part fun. Add in cold temperatures, having to stay indoors most of the time and eleventy billion items of snow gear and that "work" part can take over and make you feel less relaxation and more pack mule. However, you can help alleviate some of the drudgery by making sure you choose the right place to stay. Take for example, The Lake House at High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. We recently got to spend a few days up there for Jack's 3rd birthday and while I was a tad skeptical about spending time somewhere even colder than it is here, it actually turned into one of the best vacations we've had so far, even with the -22 degree mornings.
First off, the hotel's "great room" feels like your living room, albeit if your living room was perfectly designed in the absolutely coziest and chicest ski lodge style imaginable and had a breathtaking view of a gorgeous lake. Think bear skin rugs, comfy couches, a HUGE warm fireplace and tons of board games all with that floor to ceiling view. During the day we could gaze out and see the sled dogs taking guests out for rides on the lake, it was like looking at a real life postcard. There were tables set up to play board games on or just hang out and have a drink, and the kids would haul out the boxes of Jenga and build block forts.
On one end of the great room area they have a bar area, small enough to not be loud and too barroom-y but big enough (and well stocked enough) to enjoy a grown up drink while the kids entertain themselves with games by the fireplace. It was PERFECT. I can't tell you the last time Sean and I sat down together and had a beer or a glass of wine before the Lake House but there we were, out of the house, the kids were having fun, I was enjoying a Goose Island IPA and we were just steps from our comfy beds. Big plus.
Another huge plus was the indoor pool and rec center area. Both in the same keycard accessible area they had air hockey, foosball and ping pong and then a pool with a hot tub. It was separate enough from the hotel's guest rooms that I didn't feel like I had to shush the kids too much, and the pool was of course a huge hit after being on the mountain all day skiing and snowboarding. That was our usual schedule. Wake up, eat breakfast, get to the mountain, come home and swim and hot tub it till dinner then hang out in the great room area playing games together till bed. We were so close to the pool and playing area that the kids would all scramble down there in just their swimsuits, while the wind blew freezing cold right outside the windows and the snow flurried around the Lake House was so warm and cozy they were comfortable walking around in just their swimsuits.
The room itself had the same retro chic ski lodge vibe with it's wood paneling and vibrant red wooly blankets over the fattest snow white comforters. One perk that I never would have thought of was the ample closet/storage area by the door for all the gear. An open closet, also wood paneled, it held ALL of our stuff including all our wet boots and gloves and ski boots and mittens and ski goggles and OMG we had so much gear how we made it home with all of it is beyond me. The room also had the same beautiful lake view with a huge picture window, and even with six of us in the one room (with two beds) it was comfortable for everyone.
Whiteface Mountain was just a short drive away, maybe like 10 or 15 minutes, and the hotel itself is right there on the main road in Lake Placid just down the street from the Olympic Center. Shops and restaurants were all within walking distance (even in the cold weather) and the kids and I walked over to the crepe place and the candy store to let the birthday boy pick out a treat and it was close enough that the windy cold didn't have time to get to us.
What I loved about the Lake House the most had to be the great room and the design of the whole place though. It literally looks like it's from a vintage holiday magazine but with some 2015 polish on it. If you picture what you think a luxe ski lodge would look like, this is going to be it. The comfort of the guests is a top priority there too, folded blankets sit on shelves in the great room waiting to be put over legs by the fire, they have fondue waiting, the one night there was chili for the guests, Scrabble and chess and a quiet place to play them are all there just for you. The space is big enough to feel like you have your own room to hang out without losing any of the coziness. The staff was so accommodating, wayward stuffed animals were retrieved while we were gone and placed gently together on the pillows by the housekeeping staff in what may be the cutest gesture of a hotel ever.
For a ski vacation, the focus is usually on the skiing, and the hotel is where you rest your legs in between runs. The Lake House will change your thinking if that is your school of thought on winter vacations. This place was so warm and beautiful it pretty much took the focus off the mountain and put it right there by the fireplace, all of us together as a family, playing a board game, no interruptions, no electronics, just us and the time together while the snow fell outside.
Many, MANY thanks to the Lake House at High Peaks Resort for the stay, we had such a special time. To check out their photos and more information about the hotel and the area, please visit them here. To see a review of our first stay in Lake Placid (with more warmer weather activities), click here.