My husband and I have been fortunate to have stayed at The Point (a Relais & Chateaux property) many times over the past thirty years, just about thirty times in fact!. We were there for the first time in 1991 to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and almost every year since. This past weekend we celebrated our 30th, and there was no question that we were going to head up north to the Adirondacks to commemorate the milestone.
The Point is located in Saranac Lake New York, approximately 5 hours from the Metro NY area. There are options for flights to either nearby Lake Placid, or alternatively if you are coming from Boston, you can fly directly to Saranac Lake on Cape Air (or privately). If you choose to fly, a staff member from The Point will come and meet you. We have always made the journey by car. It is exceptionally beautiful to work your way through the Adirondacks, and with a good book on tape or Podcast the time goes quickly.
We always time our drive so that we arrive by 1 pm, lunchtime! The Point was originally a Rockefeller Great Camp, built by William Avery Rockefeller as a family compound in the 1930’s. The resort boasts just 11 rooms, all unique and in keeping with the original design, just updated a bit; especially the bathrooms. The main intention of the resort and its owners is to keep the authentic Great Camp experience, combined with todays luxuries. One of the best parts of the Point is being forced (to a degree) to unplug. There is no wifi, there are no televisions or phones in the rooms (there is a large TV in the Pub perfect for movies and sporting events). If you have Verizon as a service provider your phone will work, but if you have any other provider you are out of luck.
Having left our house at 7:30 am, we drove through the gates at exactly 12:45.
We had the benefit of spectacular weather for our trip, so our first glimpse of the property was stunning As soon as you are buzzed through the gate and greeted by one of the staff, your relaxation begins. The staff pride themselves on catering to your every whim. No request is too difficult (within reason of course!) Upon entry you are handed a glass of Champagne, and the stage is set.
The fire in the Great Hall is always roaring.
There is no better spot to sit and read the paper.
All the dining at the Point is at communal tables, which enables new friendships to form and fosters lively exchanges at every meal. In addition, Wednesday and Saturday nights are always Black Tie, which is a treat. There is the option of taking a meal in one’s room, or the Pub, or in summer months outside in a romantic spot in case you don’t want to socialize. We enjoyed a lovely, relatively light lunch before we set out to explore and check out any changes to the property since our last visit. The Chef will accommodate absolutely any dietary restriction or taste preference you might have.
Our first stop after lunch was at the Pub, which truly is a gathering place.
It is home not only to one of the many open bars on property (hence the no children on property rule), but also to the pool table, dart board, television, and most importantly…. the safe filled with the very addictive Stave Puzzles. The puzzles are on rotation at The Point, so there are sure to be new challenges that you have never tried before. We started one in the pub, and brought one back to our room.
Once we had our puzzle, we headed down to the Boathouse, the largest room at The Point. This room had only been available in the summer months until the current owners decided to winterize it about three years ago, a major development, as it truly is a special spot. Below you can see the view as you approach the Boathouse.
Here is the backside of the Boathouse from the (very frozen) lakeside. While you can tell the room is going to be special, it is only when you enter that you get the full effect.
The decor just makes me smile.
There is no shortage of space, with loads of nooks to get cozy in.
There is also the all important bar set up for any desire that may strike.
There is plenty of wood to keep the fire going 24/7.
It is photogenic from every angle!
Most importantly, there is a table in the corner for puzzling.
The glassed in entry way ensures no draft gets in from the outside.
The bathroom was redone when the Boathouse was winterized, it can accommodate a crowd.
The Boathouse is in close proximity to the actual “Point”, the end of the property that juts out in to the lake. There one can find a bonfire burning after dark, as well as a special place to just sit and reflect.
The staff will bring you whatever you need to make this a Lean-to a special hideaway.
After our exploring, it was time to get ready for cocktails, and then on to dinner. If you are staying in the Boathouse in the winter, be prepared to wear your snow boots to dinner along with a footwear change (of course they will pick you up in a car for the short drive as well). The main lodge is so inviting on a cold winters night.
Each meal is served alongside beautiful centerpieces and dinnerware. The kitchen is innovative and the Chefs are talented. We were fortunate to have truffles feature prominently throughout the weekend.
Once dinner is over you place your request for morning coffee (or a whole breakfast order if you prefer) to be delivered at an appointed time. We requested a big pot of coffee along with a smaller pot of hot chocolate to make our own mochas.
Drinking our coffee and watching the snow fall was a perfect way to start the day. At around 9 we set out to join others for breakfast in the great hall. They can whip up pretty much anything your heart desires.
Its an achievement to have your breakfast brought on three plates. The corned beef hash, pancakes and super crispy “tater tots” are perennial favorites.
There is definitely a need to burn some calories over the weekend, and there is no shortage of activities to pursue. There are some lovely trails right on property that are quite strenuous, including the blue trail which is perfect for snowshoeing.
The blue trail takes you right to a cabin called Camp David on property that can be booked for a cozy lunch, or just an opportunity for a hot beverage to help you warm up. The staff pops in and out like elves to ensure the fire is going, and the cocoa is ready.
Saturdays are customarily reserved for BBQ’s, either inside or out. Ours was served inside because the snow was coming down pretty heavily. It was no less delicious.
After a very hearty lunch we were ready for a Curling Tournament, with the competition fueled by the Ice Bar set up near by. There was also the opportunity to go ice fishing. The guests divided up in to teams and the inner Olympians shined through.
Its hard to beat these drinks served… on ice.
After several fierce matches, everyone retired inside to relax and get dressed for the highlight of the weekend, the Black Tie dinner.
The dinner table as well as the guests were decked out, and everyone got in the spirit. The wines are paired to each course, and all is included, but there is a proprietors list of special wines that is available (at a very fair price) if you want to up the game a little. We did so, not during one of the main meals, but rather when we dined on our own.
I couldn’t help but take a picture of the (elevated) S’mores dessert. It was delectable.
After dinner there was the option to go tubing right outside the back of the Great Hall on to the frozen lake. We chose not to participate, but plenty did. All changed out of their Black Tie before hitting the snow.
Sunday came and several couples went home. We took advantage of the quiet by taking another long walk, followed by lunch in the pub.
My husband can always be counted on to enjoy a bacon cheese burger, truffle fries, along with a great bottle of Brunello (it was in this case that we ordered off the proprietors list). I opted for a salad, but splurged on the chocolate mousse.
Our afternoon was reserved for reading and massages. The Point can arrange for massage therapists to come and carry out treatments in your room.
As there were just three couples staying on Sunday evening, we decided to eat in the kitchen, which affords a unique glimpse into the inner workings of the food preparation. It was no less glamorous to dine at the “Kitchen Table”
The napkin artistry is really impressive!
The Executive Chef (Loic Leperlier) was off for the weekend, as his wife had just given birth, so we were left in the incredibly able hands of Chef D’Anthony Foster.
The citrus infused dessert was just the thing to end our meal with.
Following our dinner we decided to retire to the pub to watch some football and compete in a casual darts tournament. Strangely enough the gang decided that they were in the mood for pizza, wings and truffle fries; so just about an hour after dinner we rang the kitchen and before you knew it, we received a delivery.
I did not participate in this feast, but the rest of the group made a real effort to polish it off, washed down with a seemingly endless supply of wine.
It was off to bed for us, but I believe one couple closed down the pub at about 2:30 am.
We were greeted in the morning by another glorious day, so we took our time with our coffee and packing, and headed up for a late breakfast.
It was hard to motivate to go, so we spent some time lingering with new friends and put in our request for our box lunches.
The Point does not like to contemplate anyone going hungry, so you are sent off with a yummy picnic to ease your transition back to real life.
Having visited the Point so many times over the years we have witnessed different owners as well as managers. The current owners have made an investment updating not only the the inner workings of The Point, but the decor of the club as well. Everything is running smoothly as far as we could see. It is not the heady days of the early 90s when the extravagance was truly over the top, there seems to be some actual responsibility as far as spending is concerned. The truly golden age of The Point will live on in our memories, but it is still a unique and incredibly indulgent experience. Witnessing the magic through the eyes of guests who had never visited before gives a perspective on just how special it is.
If you are hoping to celebrate a special occasion, or just want to be pampered beyond your imagination, try and book a visit to this incredible place, you won’t regret it! The staff, particularly Hollie who has been making our stays wonderful for the past 20 years, Adam who seems to be everywhere at once, GM Joe and his dynamic son Tony, the ever cheerful Grace, as well as the attentive dining room servers are the key to making the resort run so seamlessly. It is pricy, but a weekend here brings more relaxation and indulgence than anywhere I can think of.