Big Cedar Lodge is situated in the Ozark Mountains -- Ridgedale, Missouri, to be precise. The area is a nature lover’s paradise, replete with swaths of dense forest, overlooking 43,000-acres of Table Rock Lake's blue-green waters. It's is billed as “a wilderness resort,” founded by Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. It makes perfect sense that this would be a haven for the outdoor aficionados. We checked in at Big Cedar Lodge, and here's what we loved most.
What’s Hot: Top of the Rock, Big Cedar Lodge’s “lifestyle outpost” took five years to complete and includes a floating golf course, two restaurants, a bar, wine cellar, four-story cave, waterfalls, a natural history museum, chapel, and nature trails.
Best Feature: Hands-down, the spa. Cedar Creek Spa is an outdoor-inspired experience spanning 18,000-square feet. Like the resort, it combines luxury with an authentic sense of nature. Each treatment room features a fireplace and heated table. Bonus: our robes were warmed for us while we enjoyed a massage that used cocoa butter instead of oil. Post-treatment, we relaxed in the candle-lit grotto pool and ice room. This place is made for the ultimate spa getaway.
The Rooms: We stayed in a two-bedroom cabin (that you can snag for $185 on weeknights in December; they go up to $369 in June) with a wood-burning fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, and deck that overlooked the lake. There are a myriad of lodging options at Big Cedar that range from Adirondack-style lodge rooms to cozy cabins for two. What we loved the most is that the resort embodied the environment of the Ozarks, but offered complete luxury with amenities like high-thread-count bedding and upscale dining options.
The Food: Restaurants include casual dining at Devil’s Pool, where you can sample the smoked trout straight from the local spring, or more upscale options at Top of the Rock, where you can dine overlooking the golf course or sip a pre-dinner cocktail cozied up near one of the outdoor fire pits, which are especially stunning at sunset.
Who Will Love It: Everyone. There’s miniature golf and indoor pools for kids, but couples will feel completely secluded while holed-up in a rustic cabin with a private Jacuzzi and a roaring fire. We stayed at the lodge for a girls’ trip to pamper ourselves at the spa.
Who Might Not: A city slicker who thrives on noise and bustle.
Nearby: Dogwood Canyon Park, a 10,000-acre preserve with horseback riding, biking, and trout fishing.
Deals and Special Offers: Contact the hotel for deals. Off-season rates can often be found.
Getting There: Just 10 minutes south of Branson, Missouri at 612 Devil’s Pool Road, Ridgedale, Mo, 65739