When you visit The Point, you are in the Adirondack wilderness, driving a winding road with snow covered pines forming a narrow passageway. Ahead of you, an intricate gate fashioned from logs and branches and spelling out “The Point.” After punching in a code, the gate opens very slowly as if to say “Take a deep breath. Relax. Let the wonders of this very special place envelop you.”
You arrive at The Point Resort in Saranac Lake, New York – the last of the Great Camps of the Adirondacks considered by many to be the premiere resort in the country and Conde Nast Traveler’s highest-rated property. The Point is consistently honored with one of the hospitality industry’s top awards: the Forbes 5-Star designation for “…flawless service and the finest of amenities. Staff are intuitive, engaging and passionate; they eagerly deliver service above and beyond the guests’ expectations.”
From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the great depression, Gilded-age magnates built magnificent mansions made of logs and collectively called the Great Camps. The Point was built as a private retreat for the William Avery Rockefeller family between 1930-33 by the prominent Adirondack camp architect William Distin. It is situated on a 75-acre peninsula jutting into Upper Saranac Lake and today consists of a main lodge and 11 distinctive and delightfully decorated rooms for a handful of very lucky guests. The rooms have Adirondack twig furniture, huge stone fireplaces, down beds and each strikes a balance between being grand yet intimate. The most requested guestroom at The Point and typically the first to be booked is The Boathouse. It is an airy, open hall above the boats and water where a lofty, beamed ceiling vaults over a storybook canopied bed in the very center of the room. Here you have the romantic notion of “roughing it” in comfort, elegance and gentility.
Entering the grand log mansion, you’re greeted by the General Manager who ushers you into the Great Hall and offers a glass of Champagne. Everything about the Great Hall is great. It evokes the Adirondack camps of old with rough luxe, animal trophies lining the walls, massive native-cut stone fireplaces, vast sink-in sofas and a view of the frozen silver lake beyond. After a brief walk-about to acquaint you with the property, you’re shown to your room.
All is Calm, the Fire is Bright
The room has been prepared for your arrival – a carafe of wine, a roaring fire in the fieldstone fireplace that reaches up to the timbered ceiling, lamps softly glowing, candles flickering. You’ll be delighted by a cloud-soft bed made entirely from branches, its tree-trunk post giving the feel of a bed growing out of the floor. It is amusing fun, and Goldilocks herself would have pronounced it “just right!” Icicles four feet-long form a grid over our leaded glass windows like so many pieces of Swarovski crystal and the snow on our roof is deep and sumptuous as vanilla icing on a wedding cake. The warm comfort of your room beckons you to linger but the experience of dining en famille with fellow guests is too appealing to pass up.
The Great Hall is where meals are served, and you dine by candlelight, the table laid with fine china, crystal and silver. Everyone has individual menus at each place setting and when you turn your menu over, you see that all of the guests’ names are listed – first names only. Discretion and privacy at The Point is, well, the point. The extraordinary meal is enriched by lively conversation and generous amounts of fine wine, making for a true house-party atmosphere. The next day dawns sunny and bight, perfect for snowshoeing. A guide leads you over the frozen lake and into the woods, up hills and down dales; wonderment abounds as all is silent as snow.
Dinner at Eight
Each evening cocktails are served at seven, dinner at eight, and every Wednesday and Saturday, dinner is suggested black-tie, a bow to yesteryear’s tradition of elegant Great Camp dining. After dinner, a happy surprise awaits: a snow picnic by a bonfire in the woods. You’re led down a snowy path twinkling with tiny white lights to an all-out roaring bonfire. Around it, Adirondack chairs are piled high with warm woolen blankets and cushy pillows. Icing on the cake: a fully-stocked bar, long branches to spear marshmallows and the fixings for S’Mores. Who could ask for anything more?
Your Wish is Their Command
This phrase defines the level of service offered by the staff. Want breakfast in bed, lunch at a fairytale cottage in the woods, or a sumptuous dinner served by the fireplace in your room? Done. In fact, service is so amazing, it almost seems as though one has but to wish for it and –presto! As if by magic, it happens.
Visit The Point in summer and you’ll water ski, swim, and boat in one of The Point’s venerable mahogany cruisers. But oh, in winter – that’s when The Point is at its most seductive. All of the huge stone fireplaces in the 11 guest rooms in this Relais & Chateau property are blazing, and you can peek out from under your down comforter to see what has been brought, to your specific order for your breakfast in bed. You can snowshoe, cross-country ski, skate on the lake, cover up in blankets and sip a hot toddy around a campfire barbeque or curl up with a book by your bedroom fireplace…activities limited only by one’s imagination. Christmas here recalls a golden, days-of-yore affair and there’s a festive, blow-out New Year’s Eve – with fireworks! At The Point there’s nothing that one has to do but oh so much that one can do. It is simple, splendid, authentic – in short a perfect place.
As you prepare to depart, the ever-attentive staff has prepared box lunches for your journey. Nothing left to chance, nothing forgotten. No, wait…there is one thing they’ve overlooked: tissues to dab your eyes as you bid The Point adieu.
If You Go:
Address: 222 Beaverwood Rd., Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Phone: 800-255-3530; 518-891-5674