For anyone who has lived in New York, one of the city’s great pleasures is that there are so many choices for an escape, from the beaches to woods to lakes and mountains, from grand estates to small sailing hamlets. All within driving distance or a short train journey.
Of all the beautiful places to choose from, there was one that has been high atop my list for years. My desire for a beautiful vista, lush greenery, cosy rooms, stellar food and an intimate setting all came together in one amazing place- The Point Resort on Upper Lake Saranac.
Nestled in the Adirondack mountain range a few hours north of New-York , the Point is the former estate of the Rockefeller Family, hailing back to the early 1900’s when all the great families of the Gilded Age (The Vanderbilts, Astors, Guggenheims, Rockefellers) built their grand log cabins (Adirondack Great Camps) along the shores of those vast lakes in upstate New York. Driving up to The Point feels like a step back in time, entering the vast estate is oddly like a homecoming, which is testament to the grace, charm, warmth and kindness of the impeccable staff.
Set on seventy five private acres on Upper Lake Saranac, it consists of just 11 cabins scattered through the estate, a massive lake and acres and acres of woods and trees.
Add to that the warm luxury of the rooms, with their roaring fireplaces, deep bathtubs, plush four poster beds and beautiful wooden walls. And the details…I always feel the mark of a top tier hotel is not their public spaces but the finer details in their private spaces. Extra long matches for their fireplaces, a petite crystal decanter of port by ones bedside every night, a gleaming bucket of champagne every morning, beautiful toiletteries, small sachets of painkillers (for that pesky hangover) in every bathroom, a lit fire every evening before bed… every detail transported me to a former time of grand house parties deep in the woods, the crème of society ensconced in the great hall, or the boat house…cocktail in hand, in all their finery. As were we!
The Point has a policy of formal attire for the evening, with all the guests gathering for a cocktail – one evening at the Boat house with its beautiful wooden boats and its Electric boat with a fully stocked bar. We sailed out to the lake at sunset, in our gowns and tuxedos, drinks served by white coated barmen on a warm evening, the setting sun turning the sky golden, the lake silver, and making us all feel like we had stepped into a more glamorous, genteel and sophisticated version of ourselves.
" We sailed out to the lake at sunset on a warm evening, the sky was turning golden and the lake silver. "
That feeling extended well into dinner, where everyone gathered in the great hall to eat together, under a massive wooden roof, with the fireplace crackling, silver on mantlepieces sparkling, and great mounted deer heads looking down on us. There is a cosy luxury that is perfected at this Great Camp, which feels like a private home opened up to its favourite guests.
We were invited to walk through the kitchens (a beautiful space unto itself with a majestic floor to ceiling fridge from the 1930s) and meet the chefs, to look at the days menus, to smell the fresh vegetables gathered from the local farms and to have a glass of wine and watch the action. Headed by the super talented Chef Loic Leperlier, every single meal is a delight; fresh, inventive and absolutely delicious. Being an adult only- all inclusive- resort gives it the advantage of being able to seduce their guests with the finest wines, the finest cuisine and the ease of a quiet moment spent reading the paper, or going for a hike or just simply finding oneself at one of the four full bars scattered around the property.
There is a lot to do here, cycling, hiking, sailing, swimming, tennis, croquet, fishing, canoeing and in the winter ice skating on the lake. Oddly, given the wealth of choices, I somehow constantly found myself in front of one of the numerous fireplaces, book in one hand, drink in another. Perfectly content to let the comfort of the place lull me into a state of bliss.
One of the best things about this experience is that it is a perfect combination of the outdoors (views, water, trees, outdoor fireplaces, sky) and the indoors (plush rooms, warm sofas, cosy nooks, a beautiful collection of oils and watercolours) with all the trappings of high luxury wrapped up in the great outdoors. To have this a mere hop and skip from the city is a secret I would love to preserve, and simultaneously share. A perfect escape in every way.