I think I like lake people better than beach people. At least the people I meet at The Point in Lake Saranac. They are so relaxed and genuine. Nobody puts on airs and there are no louche displays of wealth or artificial body parts. With so few people here, you tend to get to know the other guests, although it’s perfectly ok to keep to yourself too.
Everyone comes together for supper each night after a leisurely cocktail hour. Wednesday and Saturday evenings the dress code is black tie. Of course, there’s always the option to dine in the privacy of your cabin. The whole point of The Point is the affable staff will satisfy your every whim and with pleasure.
There’s an open door policy in the kitchen, so I waltz in before dinner to say hello and spot them sorting through locally foraged mushrooms. I inquire as to whether they could whip up a special dessert for me with dark chocolate (they only use Valrhona) and chanterelles, because why not? It’s an interesting combination that I’ve never tried before and it sounds delicious in my mind.
The next day at lunch, I’m presented with one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted in my life. A 75% dark chocolate fondant with a molten chanterelle chocolate ganache accompanied by chanterelle ice cream and pecans.
The food here is beyond reproach. Every protein is impeccably cooked and food and wine arrive like clockwork. Chef Loic Leperlier, executive chef since 2013, has a long history with Relais & Chateaux and at three-star Michelin restaurants. His experiences bring a sophisticated international flair to dishes like lamb with dukkah and paprika custard and beet tartare accented with puffed wild rice, fried capers and wasabi.
Mohawk, one of four rooms in the main lodge, is my home. It used to be Mr. Rockefeller’s master bedroom and is conveniently located just next to the dining room. In other words, perfect for stumbling tipsily into bed after an indulgent dinner without worrying about the weather outside.
It was storming mightily the night of my stay, so we didn’t get to have s’mores by the fire pit, but there are four fully stocked bars on property – at the boathouse, pub, fire pit and main lodge – that you can help yourself to at any time. They certainly don’t skimp on the alcohol here and won me over right away with a glass of Pol Roger champagne upon arrival.
There’s no WiFi in any of the cabins or the main lodge. The only place you’ll be able to connect is the front office. At first that gives me anxiety, but digital detox is a good thing. Predictably, detaching from my phone allows me to focus on the lovely company and absorb the verdant forest landscape. There are a dozen or more easily accessible hikes on and around the property for all fitness levels and you’re free to take one of the Budsin Wood Craft lightning bug boats out for a spin on Upper Saranac Lake. We join the assistant general manager and a handful of other guests to visit some of the other former robber baron Great Camps around the lake. Along the way, we learn about former residents and spot aptly named Chapel Island and Doctor’s Island.
If it’s stormy out, like during my stay, you can play billiards or darts in the pub or work on a wooden stave puzzle while drying off next to a roaring fire. Regardless of how active you feel like being, it’s impossible not to have a good time. There’s no ennui that comes from sunning yourself on the beach. Rather, stay a few days and the sense of relaxation will seep into your bones. This is one resort I definitely hope to return to and for a longer stay.
Opened: 1983, as the first Relais & Chateaux property in the United States
Rooms: 11 rooms, including The Boathouse, which has just been winterized with radiant heat and new floor and wall insulation. For the first time, it is available for booking year-round.
Unique amenity: Black truffle popcorn with generous shavings of fresh black truffles, available 24 hours a day
Vibe: Classy but comfy, cruise ship meets adult summer camp.
Design: Originally built by William Avery Rockefeller as a log mansion Great Camp, a Gilded Age upstate escape from the city. The original buildings remain intact and the 1929 General Electric refrigerator is still used in the kitchen.