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New York’s Lake Placid is the Ultimate Playground for Wellbeing

The Whiteface Lodge and new Eastwind Lake Placid provide very different experiences but both capture the flavor of this charming mountain town.
Photo: Nathan Allen

Most visitors are drawn to Lake Placid for its stunning Adirondack peaks, crystalline lakes, fresh mountain air, and outdoor activities. The fact that it was home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and is preparing to host the FISU World University Games, the world’s largest winter multi-sport collegiate athletic event, in 2023 doesn’t hurt either. The popular four-season destination, also known as the “Winter Sports Capital of the World,” benefits from millions of dollars of investment to maintain and upgrade its Olympic facilities, making them attractive to athletes, teams, event planners, and visitors alike.

A place where nature takes center stage, Lake Placid makes it easy to unplug from the stresses of daily life. Here, there is always another trail to explore, lake to paddle, and awe-inspiring vista to take your breath away. Although it wasn’t my first visit to this Adirondack gem, I was excited to experience a new property and revisit a long-time fave.     

What We Love
  • Great Outdoors Facial ($155, 50 minutes)
  • Complimentary breakfast at The Whiteface Lodge’s Kanu
  • Breakfast basket at Eastwind
  • Ending each night around the firepit (both The Lodge at Whiteface and Eastwind have a nightly fire complete with s’mores)
What Not to Miss
  • A walk around Mirror Lake
  • High Falls Gorge, a 22-acre privately owned nature park with four spectacular waterfalls (open May through October)
  • Dining at the nearby Dack Shack
  • A barrel sauna session at Eastwind
Whiteface Lodge Fall Exterior
The Whiteface Lodge is an inviting home base from which to
explore Lake Placid.
Whiteface Lodge

Years ago, I visited The Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid, NY) in the middle of winter. Lake Placid was a snowy wonderland, and I recall loving the cozy lodge setting. During a recent visit timed to coincide with fall foliage season, I was equally enamored with the lodge. It didn’t hurt that my partner and I were upgraded to a 1,873-square-foot, three-bedroom suite with a kitchenette, three fireplaces, and multiple bathrooms. Of course, what truly made it feel over the top was the washer/dryer I found in a closet in one of the bathrooms. As someone who must routinely send her laundry out or spend hours in a laundromat, it felt truly luxurious to be able to throw in a load at will. Of course, that’s just me. Not everyone gets excited by a washer/dryer. Offering broader appeal is the property’s rustic splendor. It’s hard not to feel spoiled when you find yourself staying in a beautiful lodge reminiscent of a grand Adirondack Camp from the Gilded Age.

Completed a bit more recently in 2005, it was made primarily with local hand-made timber and features a wood-beamed exterior, cast-iron fireplaces, and handcrafted Adirondack furnishings. The resort also has two restaurants, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a skating rink, a full-service spa, and more. It’s no surprise that people flock here to enjoy themselves.

Whiteface Lodge Suite Interior
The suites are expansive with multiple fireplaces.
Guest Rooms

In sync with the rustic feel of the lodge, the guest rooms are yet another example of the Adirondack-inspired decor. Our three-bedroom suite felt like an upscale cabin with comfy beds and blackout curtains that made it easy to sleep late. Another highlight was the gas fireplaces that could be set to turn off after guests fall asleep.

I especially loved the vintage snowshoes hung on the wall, while my partner was taken with bear cub bookends. Although the suite provided much more space than we needed, it would be perfect for a family or a group of friends. Living in New York City, we appreciated the extra space and quickly made ourselves at home. It also provided the perfect setting for working remotely. The beautiful pine tree views never let us forget that nature was within easy reach. 

Spa at Whiteface Lodge
The Spa at Whiteface Lodge features a host of treatments to help guests relax or rejuvenate.
Spa and Fitness Facilities

For the ultimate reset, The Spa at Whiteface Lodge is a welcoming retreat with a host of nurturing treatments. The 5,700-square-foot spa sports antler chandeliers and other forest-inspired accents that bring the outdoors in. Eminence Organic Skin Care, HydraFacial, and Naturopathica are just some of the product lines carried.

I opted for the Great Outdoors Facial, which is designed to rejuvenate environmentally damaged skin with a boost of antioxidants and botanical extracts. Many of the skincare services are intended to treat specific issues, such as acne or fine lines and wrinkles. The menu also focuses on massage offerings that enhance relaxation and address any underlying tension in the body. No matter what the season, the spa is an ideal place to recover from all of Lake Placid’s outdoor pursuits.  

Lean To
The lean-tos provide an ideal spot to enjoy the great outdoors.
Programming

Like Lake Placid itself, The Whiteface Lodge offers a wealth of activities, both inside and out. We’re talking indoor and outdoor pools; courts for tennis, pickleball, and basketball; a catch-and-release fishing pond for a more meditative experience; and more. The family-friendly resort also offers Kamp Kanu, a complimentary day-time kids’ camp, and Sunset Club, an evening program for children. Kids can enjoy scheduled activities, including scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, obstacle courses, and other exciting adventures.

Adults, too, can indulge in playtime with hiking and biking nearby trails, golfing, white-water rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and other activities that let them take advantage of the great outdoors. And in the evening when they’re ready to slow down, they can gather in one of the rustic lean-tos to enjoy a cocktail, stargaze, and reflect on the day’s adventures.   

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The lushnas are ideal for those who want a glamping experience.
Photo: Lawrence Braun
Eastwind Lake Placid

One of the newest hotel offerings in the area is the recently opened Eastwind Lake Placid. A former motor lodge, the property recently underwent a renovation and now features a bar and lounge, a vintage library, a barrel sauna, and an inviting fire pit. A short walk from town, the hotel is the result of an idea stemming from three friends—Bjorn Boyer, Julija Stoliarova, and Dan Cipriani—each with a background in hospitality. The boutique brand got its start with an Eastwind location in the Catskills. The hygge-designed properties are Scandinavian inspired, with a minimalist style. They provide a luxury experience without the excess.

What really sets Eastwind Lake Placid apart is its unique accommodations, including its lushnas (think: tiny houses). It’s an elevated take on glamping with a Scandinavian twist. My partner and I soon found ourselves cozied up in 170-square-foot cabin with a lovely deck, fire pit, and two Adirondack chairs. Fortunately, surviving the pandemic in a small New York City apartment had prepared us for the Petite Lushna’s close quarters. Plus, because Lake Placid is such a mecca for adventure, we didn’t expect to spend much time in our lushna.

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The property features two Petite Lushnas and two Lushna Suites.
Photo: Lawrence Braun
Guest Rooms

As much as we loved the design and decor of our cozy Petite Lushna, I must admit it did reveal how much we both love our space. It probably didn’t help that we had just come from staying in a three-bedroom suite. I think the 400-square-foot Lushna Suite would have been perfect.

The Petite Lushnas come with a bigger than expected bathroom and a king bed that takes up most of the room, which means if you want to sit anywhere other than in bed, you must make use of the Adirondack chairs outside. If it’s raining, like it was for us, you might be out of luck. Because I didn’t like the idea of eating in bed and outside wasn’t always an option, we found ourselves spending a fair amount of time in the stylish bar and lounge area, which also served double duty as hotel reception. It was a great place to indulge in good conversation with other guests or the friendly staff.

The Lushna Suites feature a queen-size loft bed, a sofa, a writer’s nook, and private deck. Both lushnas come with a mini fridge and electric kettle with coffee and tea kits. The property also offers a variety of suites with fireplaces and some with free-standing cast-iron tubs. The overall vibe is of clean, cozy comfort.

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The barrel sauna is an option for wellness seekers.
Photo: Lawrence Braun
Amenities

While the hotel was still somewhat of a work in progress, my favorite part was the sense of community found there. Even though the lushnas each came with their own fire pit, we instead gravitated to the communal fire pit to mix and mingle with other guests and enjoy the provided s’mores kit. We also loved the breakfast picnic basket that came with coffee or tea, orange juice, yogurt, granola, and pastries.

There wasn’t a spa, but the barrel sauna would certainly be a draw, especially in the cold winter months. Here, wellness is to be found in nature and in the great outdoors.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.