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Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, is just as much a summer town as it is a beloved ski destination. In summer, the sparkling waters of Mirror Lake and Lake Placid are irresistible (swimming, boating, and kayaking are big draws here) and outdoor enthusiasts can hike the mountain trails of the Adirondacks’ 46 peaks, including Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in New York State. The town is quaint – its main drag lined with shops, restaurants, and a few wine shops stocked with vintages from local Hudson Valley wineries. There’s also the Olympic Center which pays homage to sport sensations (this is where the US hockey team beat the Soviet Union and figure-skater Sonja Henie received one of her three gold medals) and houses four ice rinks. And you can’t miss the Olympic Jumping Complex where 90- and 120-meter ski jumps tower above the aspen trees; you can see professional skiers jumping even in summer.
I stayed at two great hotels there last weekend: The Whiteface Lodge and the High Peaks Resort. Read on for my reviews and to watch two video previews.
The Whiteface Lodge is hard to beat for families. The all-suite timber-and-stone beauty has got everything, from an outdoor ice rink (usually open from October through April), an indoor/outdoor pool, game room with bowling alley and ice cream shop, tennis courts, a 56-seat movie theater, and spa. Large 1- to 3-bedroom suites feature Adirondack wood furniture, full kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, cedar balconies, cast-iron fireplaces, radiant heat flooring, and bathrooms with jetted tubs and separate showers (in most). Though not on the lake, the resort provides shuttle service to a private section of lakefront, complete with loungers, towels, kayaks, and paddleboats.
The High Peaks Resort overlooks Mirror Lake with a prime location right on Main Street in Lake Placid’s charming town. The dog-friendly resort (see Wraef in video) offers lakefront accommodations in a smaller building across the street with the bulk of its rooms in the main building, also home to the Dancing Bears restaurant and Reflections lounge with outdoor terrace. Formerly a Hilton Hotel, the new High Peaks underwent massive renovations to spiff up their interiors. Rooms now feature handsome bathrooms with stoned-tiled floors, walk-in showers with large rain shower heads, and Molton Brown amenities. In most units, one wall is completely covered in an abstract autumn scene, and all rooms have a pull-out leather sofa and either a terrace or balcony with lake views.