Looking for a resort unlike any other? The Whiteface Lodge is one of the best-kept secrets in New York. Psst: It’s perfect for Ironman Lake Placid travelers!
My husband is a triathlete and loves competing in Ironman races. This means that I am his loyal Sherpa and wherever he goes, I go. And, when the location allows, our kids come too.
When he told me that he wanted to do Ironman Lake Placid 2016, I needed him to convince me to bring our young children along. Being a sherpa for a stressed out triathlete is hard enough on flat land. But dealing with steep hills and tired, sweaty, hangry kids is a whole other adventure.
Unfortunately, he had already envisioned the kids waiting for him at the finishers’ shoot and that vision was firmly planted in his head. So, to get what he wanted, he bribed me with Whiteface in Lake Placid – a luxurious, yet completely family-friendly, resort and spa nestled in the Adirondacks.
I’ve traveled to many places with my husband and the Whiteface Lodge is still one of my most favorite resorts to stay in. If you haven’t had the pleasure of staying here yet, let me give you the rundown about what you can expect here if you’re traveling with kids.
The Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid NY
Whiteface Lodge is an all-suite resort. Ranging in size from 700 to 2,300 square feet, each of the 94 suites is tastefully decorated with handcrafted furnishings, forged accents, and (in most suites) cast-iron fireplaces lend warmth and authenticity to the living spaces. It’s the most glorious “camping trip” you’ll ever go on! Plus, each suite and many of the common areas are outfitted with large windows that beautifully frame the surrounding forest and mountain peaks.
During our trip, we stayed in a Superior Suite which was approximately 600-700 square feet. It was more than enough room for our family of four to move around in and not be cramped. The separate bedroom was outfitted with a King bed and a private bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and shower. This is also where the European style washer and dryer were located. (Hint: Do not overstuff these little guys or else your laundry will never ever dry!)
Our living room had a Queen sleeper sofa to relax (or sleep) on, which was perfectly situated in front of the window so that we could take full advantage of the scenery. The fireplace was also a welcoming touch on cooler evenings when we came in from the patio.
Since my husband was doing the Ironman, and my kids were too nervous to sleep in the living room alone, we split up. The Ironman and our daughter got the King bed and my son and I got the sleeper sofa. From what I was told, the bed was super comfy, but the sleeper sofa mattress left much to be desired. After the first night, I thought my back was breaking, so my son and I decided to just move the mattress to the floor each night. It was much more comfortable to be on firm ground than to have the springs and bars poking us all night long. When we head up to Lake Placid again in 2018, I will bring an air mattress to sleep on instead. I am not sure why the resort has not upgraded the sofas yet because there are much more comfortable options nowadays.
Our suite also came with a half bath, which is perfect for families. As any parent knows, someone is always waiting until the very last minute to go to the bathroom. We took full advantage of this cute little bathroom every day!
The Superior Suite also comes with a kitchen and dining area. It was very well appointed with granite countertops and had a large dining room table that fit our family of four comfortably. It honestly felt as if we were at home, which was lovely. We were able to stock our pantry and fridge with everything the kids and my husband needed for the trip, and ultimately, Race Day.
Cool fact: Much of the timber for this resort was hand-milled on-site!
Whiteface Lodge is situated near the center of town but is far enough away to offer seclusion, especially during Ironman. It’s also good to know that the actual hotel isn’t on Lake Placid. However, the Canoe Club is only a mile away, which is easily reachable by the shuttle bus. The resort also offers free rides to and from town in a Mercedes-Benz GL 450 and the drivers are incredibly nice. Many of them are Olympic hopefuls training up in Lake Placid and have amazing stories to share!
Upon pulling into the resort for the first time, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. As such, I wanted to step out of the car and spin around in circles, twirling my skirt beneath me, all while staring at the mountains. It’s that magical.
No matter which way you turn, you’re surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views of the mountains. In this day and age, it’s hard for parents to find a resort where kids can roam freely without parental worry, but Whiteface Lodge manages to do it.
Staff roam the grounds in an unobtrusive way and every spot is aimed at making kids feel at home. Whether they’re fly fishing in the lake or making s’mores by the campfire or swimming in the heated pool, this resort tastefully balances luxury resort with family fun.
Amenities / Family Fun
There is very little chance that your kids will utter the dreaded, “We’re bored!” while staying at Whiteface Lodge. Families that are used to paying for every little service at other luxury resorts will find real value here. Every on-site activity from fishing to bowling to movies to s’more-making is included in the room rate.
Each morning, our kids would wake up and immediately go to the pond to catch frogs. Most days, they went out in their pajamas and no one gave them a second glance. The frogs range in ages, so the kids even got to see tadpoles swimming in the shallows of the lake. They did this every single morning while we had a cup (or two) of coffee.
Then, they’d come back to put on some street clothes and take off for the lake again. Only this time, they’d be baiting hooks with real worms to do some proper fly fishing in the catch-and-release pond. Although they didn’t catch any trout, they sure had fun trying!
To be completely honest, we spent most of our free time in town (it was Ironman week) or at the Canoe Club. However, the resort offers an array of fun activities for families and adults. There’s too many to list, but I’ll try: a year-round, heated, indoor-outdoor pool with hot tubs, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a games room, a wellness and fitness center, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, room service, wifi, tennis courts, nature trails, and a playground.
The resort also has a kids’ club, Kamp Kanu, which runs seven days a week during the summer. And, adults can frequent the gorgeous spa or visit the cigar-and-cognac outdoor lean-to. (Yes, please!)
At some point in the day, we’d head to the Canoe Club, which is situated on a beautiful strip of beachfront property right on Lake Placid. To make the most of it, we used the resort’s stand-up paddleboards daily and just paddled around until our arms grew tired. Then we’d head in for a bite to eat (and an ice cold beer for us adults) at the grill.
Note: If you go exploring on the lake by the shoreline, the black flies are vicious when you’re moving slow. (Hello, paddleboards.) So invest in some fly repellent and take it with you. Our kids freaked out once they got bit and swam back to shore without me!
Canoe Club also has complimentary use of canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, horseshoes, croquet, and Ping-Pong and badminton equipment. Lake tours and motorized water sports are available for a fee.
Where To Eat
Remember when I said you’re not nickeled and dimed here? Yet, it’s a luxury resort? Yeah, I wasn’t lying. At Whiteface, a full complimentary breakfast is included with your room stay every day. And I’m not talking about some crusty, stale donuts and bagels piled on a counter. I’m talking about buffets full of yummy goodness like french toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, eggs, fresh fruit, milk…should I go on? Note: There is also a menu that you can order from for an additional fee. My husband did twice as he prepped for the race.
Since breakfast is our children’s favorite meal of the day, this meal was a huge hit with our family. Well, that, and the free cookie, lemonade and coffee bar in the afternoon.
The two restaurants on site are Kanu and Peak 47. Kanu has the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen and is the fancier of the two with its 28-foot ceilings. You can expect to find a more refined farm-to-table menu here. Think Ribeye Filet with Garlic Mash, Heirloom Tomato Duxelle, and Arugula Pesto or Seared Grouper with Roasted Fennel and Artichoke Risotto and Blood Orange Gastrique. There is also a children’s menu with all of the basics, so don’t stress out!
Peak 47 is the more laid back eatery and has a very cool vibe. It’s where we ate lunch every day. The menu is just as tasty as Kanu but it has a cooler younger sibling vibe. Items like Sesame Tuna Tacos with Red Cabbage, Pea Shoots, Carrot, Wasabi Aioli, and Toasted Sesame or Chilled Shrimp Poke Bowl with Avocado, Carrot, Rice, Radish, Greens, and Chili Peanut Sauce steal the show. The signature cocktails are also a huge hit here. Adults like to hang out at the bar while the kids sit by the crackling fire.
The spa and pool have their own menus and feature a delicious assortment of eats to keep everyone happy. And like I’ve said before, the staff is incredibly accommodating. They aim to please every step of the way. If your kid is having a foodie breakdown, they’re happy to help you sort it out.
Have you ever been to the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid? Did I miss any details? Drop me a line and let me know!
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