Within the last year, Lake Placid Lodge was hailed as a top Adirondack hotel by Architectural Digest. Why? Luxury and service aside, the hotel serves as an amazing reproduction of an Adirondack Great Camp.
In the 1870s, the son of a railroad tycoon – William West Durant – decided to bring the rustic style of a Swiss chalet to the Adirondacks, and the area was never the same. In no time, industry tycoon like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt flocked to the mountains and lakes to build their expansive summer estates in Durant’s iconic style, called Great Camps, characterized by multiple buildings housing dining halls, libraries, game rooms, playrooms, icehouses, boathouses, and guest quarters; whimsical fairy tale– inspired details; sprawling porches; and more.
While Lake Placid Lodge is actually entirely new construction (rebuilt after a fire burned down its previous iteration in 2005), you’d think it was built by the hands of William West Durant himself, intentionally mimicking several of his signature Great Camp trademarks. So much so, Architectural Digest called it one of the “7 Most Beautiful Hotels in the Adirondacks” in 2018, pointing out details like its “ceilings layered in white birch bark and artfully twiggy cornices” that recall “one-of-a-kind details from Great Camp architecture.” But that’s just the start of the similarities.
The Great Camps were designed to blend into their surroundings by keeping both the interiors and exteriors rough and rugged, a tradition kept alive at Lake Placid Lodge. From the birch bark–clad ceiling to the live edge beams, both the rooms of the lodge and the private lakeside cabins have a rustic charm that you won’t find in most luxury hotels. Each room features a hand-built fireplace made of locally sourced field stones which brings the outside in. The whole property blurs the line between inside and out including the balconies, whose banisters are made from branches. Each detail was specifically picked to mirror the majesty of the forests surrounding the property.
Adirondack Art around Every Corner
The Great Camps shared a distinct style, but each estate was custom built for a particular family so no two are truly alike. Lake Placid Lodge shares that dedication to one-of-a-kind design through the décor. Each piece of furniture and adornments – from the dining chairs made from branches to the four-poster beds bedecked with climbing vines to the bronze animal sculptures – was created by local artisans specifically for the resort. Even at the local boutiques and antique shops, you won’t find any of these pieces.
Many Great Camps were used as hunting lodges, and Lake Placid Lodge purposely employs reminders of local game. You’ll find intricate chandeliers made from collected antlers and trophy heads hanging in the stairwells. Less expected are the leopard and zebra prints sprinkled across the property that is actually a nod to the big game hunters of the time like President Theodore Roosevelt who famously bagged 296 animals in one safari and who had a love of the Adirondacks.
Along with the reproductions and custom-made pieces that fill the resort, you’ll find authentic décor from the time as well. Be on the lookout for antique books, lights, maps, and more all collected from local shops to make sure the resort remained connected to its Lake Placid roots. What is most impressive are the 25 Hudson Valley School paintings around the property.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge