We had actually planned on going home from The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, NY today, so I thought it was a perfect time to schedule the review. But, guess what? We haven’t left yet. My kids were heartbroken when we’d told them that yesterday was our last full day, and quite honestly, we were too. Thankfully the hotel had availability and kindly agreed to extend our media rate, so here I am, still here.
In total, we will have spend 5 days/4 nights here. I came with my husband, my almost 5 year old daughter and my 3 year old son. As someone who does not take the term “kid-friendly family resort” lightly, I came with a critical eye to see if a luxury hotel could indeed be considered “family-friendly”. The quick answer? Yes, yes, it can!
The Whiteface Lodge is a 94-suite resort located in Lake Placid, NY, about 5 1/2 hours from Boston and 5 hours from NYC. The resort is designed in Adirondack-style, and not a single detail deviates from this theme, from the ice holders in the rooms to the high-chairs in the restaurant. The entire hotel is spotless, and while I know provisions and clean laundry are delivered to the resort, those basic functions are hidden from even the most observant guest.
The Accommodations at the Whiteface Lodge
The Whiteface Lodge is an all-suite hotel, from junior suites (containing a pull-out bed, a regular bed, a kitchen, and a bathroom) to the Presidential Suite. All of the suites include a full kitchen with dishwasher, range, oven, and refrigerator/freezer, a patio or balcony, and most have some form of washer/dryer (ours had a single washer/dryer unit – something I’d never seen before). There’s one full bathroom for each bedroom (as in, a 3 bedroom has 3 bathrooms). Each living room has a gas fireplace, as do the master bedrooms. The bedrooms each have a TV with a build-in DVD player, and while the living room doesn’t, one can be brought in free of charge. Toiletries (this is important to me!) are from L’Occitane – my favorite!
We have an amazingly spacious three bedroom suite, which is on two levels and offers more than enough room for a family of four. The beds are super-comfortable (another important thing to me) and the showers have just the right water pressure. The master bathroom has two sinks and loads of space for the assortment of cosmetics and beauty products I tote with me on vacation. There’s no WiFi available (although it does appear that some local networks are available) but Ethernet connections are available near the main phone in the living room and the connection is free.
Cleaning service seems to start early – our rooms were always cleaned early in the day. It’s always a pet-peeve of mine when rooms are cleaned just when the kids are ready to take their naps, so this was perfect. Turn-down service is also available and comes with complimentary cookies and water.
The Activities & Amenities at the Whiteface Lodge
There’s a huge assortment of activities and amenities available, and most is free with your room stay! There’s an indoor/outdoor pool that’s well-heated, as well as two outdoor jacuzzis and an indoor jacuzzi. They are located adjacent to the clubhouse, which is a quick walk from the main building (and there’s an underground tunnel for colder weather). Towels and a few life vests are also available.
On-site at the resort is a game room (stocked with games from the good ole days of Adirondack lodges – you won’t find video games here), two bowling lanes, a fitness room, a movie theater with free popcorn (showing 3 movies per day – a G rated movie at 3:30pm, a PG movie at 6:30, and a PG-13 movie at 9pm), tennis, platform tennis, basketball, catch and release fishing, and more. All of this is free and included with your stay.
Off-site, but a short (free) shuttle ride away is the private beach on the shores of Lake Placid called the Canoe Club. The Canoe Club offers kayaking, canoeing, croquet, badminton, volleyball, and ping pong, as well as swimming. While you can’t drive to the Canoe Club (there’s no parking), the shuttle is available on demand and the whole ride is less than a mile. My daughter and husband went kayaking twice, while my son played on the beach with the sand toys. The water was a little too cold for us!
If you are interested in hitting the shops and restaurants in Lake Placid Village, the shuttle can also drop you off there, free of charge.
Kid-Friendly Aspects of the Whiteface Lodge
As I mentioned before, I don’t take the term “family-friendly” lightly. But, I do truly believe the Whiteface Lodge is absolutely kid-friendly. Why?
- The free Kamp Kanu, a 2-hour free camp for kids 3-6, and 7-10. My kids went to Kamp Kanu three times (and contemplating a fourth time, depending on when we leave tomorrow) and loved it. Honestly, I was surprised the first time, because I didn’t think they’d want to go with strangers. However, the nature hikes (they fed the fish in the pond and looked for frogs), craft projects, and games made them keep wanting to go back. The staff is fabulous also (more on that in the staff section).
- The restaurant has high-chairs, booster seats, and a great kids menu, including these fruit skewers with homemade yogurt that my kids LOVED!
- The suites are perfect for a family, and pack and plays and high-chairs can be brought in on request (free, of course)
- Most of the activities appeal to kids – especially the movies and the beach!
- S’more making at the outdoor campfire from 7-9pm (also free) is a huge-hit with the kids! The campfire is held on a covered terrace in the rain.
- And, the ultimate test (not that we did this on purpose)? My daughter spilled an entire cup of milk in the gift shop, and the staff member working there was super-friendly about it and insisted upon cleaning it up herself while I stood completely mortified.
The Food at the Whiteface Lodge
My husband, the foodie, loves visiting different restaurants, and I have a hard time even getting him to visit the same place on vacation two years in a row. So, it’s saying a lot to say that we ate food from Kanu (twice in the restaurant and twice as room service) four nights in a row. It was THAT good.
Kanu serves small tapas plates, imaginative and fresh salads, and delicious entrees (most available as small or large plates) with optional wine pairings. All food is also available for room service, with a service fee. For some families, room service is the way to go, because the full kitchen and dining room in the suites make it really easy to eat in the room.
A breakfast buffet is included in some room packages, and includes some hot food, like bacon, eggs, and oatmeal, as well as bagels, yogurt, fruit, and pastries.
There’s also an ice cream parlor in the basement on the main building, that opens at 3pm and offers ice cream, sundaes, root beer floats, and banana splits. Those items are charged to your room, but the popcorn is free. The Canoe Club offers a limited barbecue menu, featuring hot dogs, BBQ chicken, hamburgers, and veggie burgers that can be charged directly to your room.
The Staff at the Whiteface Lodge
I can’t fully express the fabulousness of the Whiteface Lodge without talking about the amazing staff. From the valets to the front desk staff, to the housekeeping employees and the Kamp Kanu staff, these are some of the most friendly people I’ve ever encountered. They are accommodating, helpful, and truly make the vacation experience even better. While I almost feel bad singling out specific people, I absolutely have to mention Anna and Marla, who were so friendly and lovable to my kids, and made a great impression.
So, what’s a review without at least one negative. Honestly? I haven’t got much. The only thing that was slightly annoying is the spotty cellular service – some areas of the resort have it and others don’t. And, I would have liked WiFi. But, really, that is it.
We leave tomorrow, but our memories will last a while. With luck on our side, I hope to be back next year – and so do my kids!
7 Whiteface Inn Ln
Lake Placid, NY 12946-1275
The Whiteface Lodge provided us with a free night stay and three days at a discounted rate. One dinner at Kanu was complimentary.
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