Lake Placid must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's not often that you find a combination of gorgeous glacial lakes backed by soaring mountains. There's a reason that the fabulously wealthy families of the 19th century -- the Vanderbilts, Whitney and Rockefellers - built their Great Camps in the Adirondacks. Now more ordinary people can enjoy the surroundings and amenities they never dreamed of, like luxurious spas and year-round sports.
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Unless you're a homeowner or in a boat, it's not so easy to get a view on Lake Placid. Nearby Mirror Lake is the traveler-friendly destination with the village of Lake Placid right on its shores, with stunning views of shimmering waters backed by mountain peaks in the distance. Sitting on a hillside on the northwestern shore of the lake, the white clapboard, green-shuttered Mirror Lake Inn staked out the best place for views back in 1926, when it was a just collection of cottages. Today, every one of Mirror Lake Inn's 131 rooms faces the lake and has a view. All the balconies were converted to year-round sun rooms with floor to ceiling sliding French doors, so you can sit and enjoy the view from a comfy leather chair any time of year, and take in fresh air in summer. The spa was built quite a few years ago, but it holds up well and the therapists are top-notch. The inn was built in 1978 (and the main building was rebuilt after a fire in 1988), but retains a formal European feel, with wooden paneling, roaring fires, deer head sconces, and a lovely stained glass window at the entrance. The service and food are truly outstanding.
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Whiteface Lodge is going for the "Great Camp" feeling, and has proven popular with weddings, groups, and families. But a couple looking for a romantic getaway or group of spa-loving girls can seek refuge in the 8,000 square-foot Adirondack-style haven on the lower floors of the resort, open from 8 am to 8 pm. (Guests don't have to pay a special fee or get a spa treatment to come down and use the steam room and sauna.) The spa is beautiful, and I had a great Hydrafacial! The accommodations are large, ranging from junior suites to one, two and three-bedroom suites, all 94 equipped with kitchens, dining room tables, washer-dryers, bathrooms with jet-tubs and outdoor porches. In summer, take a yoga class on the shores of Lake Placid or hike the many nearby trails. In winter, snowshoe or hit the slopes.
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Lake Placid Lodge literally WAS a Great Camp, built in 1882 and turned into a hotel. Unfortunately, in the winter of 2005 a massive fire burned the original camp to the ground. A team of architects and scores of local artisans immediately set to work. Their intent was not to simply rebuild the Lodge, but to create a hotel unrivaled anywhere, a celebration of luxury and comfort in the woods. The result is our Main Lodge, a majestic Arts and Crafts building on the scale of the Newport Cottages, with the heart of an Adirondack Great Camp. Designed to reflect the Great Camps of the Gilded Age with its hand-hewn wood beams and magnificent stonework, the Main Lodge is home to five exceptional accommodations in Lake Placid, NY — the three Lodge King rooms, the Treetop Suite and the Whiteface Suite. Lake Placid Lodge also has additional housing in its Lakeside Building, Overlook Rooms and private cabins.