I’ve never met a Rockefeller and my last name is certainly not Carnegie or Vanderbilt, but during my stay at The Point I was given a taste of what it must be like to be a bold-named guest of one of America’s wealthiest and most hospitable families. Originally built in the early 1930s as Camp Wonundra—the mountain home of William Avery Rockefeller (John D.’s nephew)—The Point is now an exclusive 11 room Relais & Chateaux retreat where everything including all food, drink and activities is included and nothing is too much to expect, just as the Rockefellers hosted their friends here for years.
Dinner in the soaring dining room in the main lodge, with its twin walk-in fireplaces, massive furniture and menagerie of hunting trophies, is an event every night. On Wednesday and Sunday evenings, however, the meal goes formal (as in black tie). Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to arrive at The Point until 8pm after an exhausting day and while I was excited to take part in the famed Wednesday night affair, I honestly wasn’t sure if I had the energy to get dressed for it.
That’s when Jake, the evening’s white-gloved concierge who greeted me as I pulled up, gently suggested that I might prefer to dine in my room which, like each of the individually decorated accommodations at The Point, was constructed of native timer and stone and absolutely bursting with fascinating antiques—the stars in my room were the dresser crafted entirely out of wooden match sticks and the plush bed whose frame was built from tree trunks.
Jake was right, of course, and my private dinner—flawlessly delivered in three elegant courses with wine pairings and standouts like potato-wrapped squab with local fois gras and homemade DiSoranno ice-cream garnished curls of succulent and sweet home cured lemon rind—tasted even better in my slippers than it would have in my stilettos.
Black tie dinners aside, The Point is a surprisingly casual place where guests are encouraged to tailor their stays backed by a staff that’s talented and in-tune enough to make any request a reality. That expert informality extends to the kitchen as well, where guests are welcome to wander in and ask for anything from a peanut butter and banana sandwich to rack of lamb whenever a craving may strike.
Built on a private point that gently nudges its way into gorgeous Saranac Lake, the resort’s grounds are left natural and wild with the addition of just a few rustic nooks and crannies, including an unbelievably cozy lean-to piled high with richly upholstered mattresses, oversize throw pillows, brightly colored blankets and views of the lake. The lean-to even has its own fully stocked help-yourself outdoor bar should you decide its suddenly cocktail hour.
A true four season destination, guests at The Point have access to top-shelf outdoor gear, extensive trail networks and, of course, Saranac Lake so you can really enjoy everything the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains have to offer in any weather—that is if the comforts and temptations of your room don’t keep you inside all day.
Even if you don’t go water-skiing or spend the day fishing, be sure to take advantage of a gourmet picnic in The Point’s nearby cabin (in warm weather you hike to it, in cold weather you snowshoe or cross-country ski in). Like magic, your lunch will be waiting for you inside the basic but eclectically-appointed one-room private hideaway (fireplace, collection of vintage issues of Popular Mechanics, comfy sofa, rockers on the wide porch) where you can linger and relax until you’re ready for the return trip back to the resort.
At The Point guests aren’t simply pampered. You actually feel as if the resort’s staff is Rockefeller’s house staff, personally instructed to take care of his friends during their visit to Camp Wonundra. Service like that is part of what’s earned The Point nearly every hospitality award worth giving—though don’t go looking for plaques and statuettes all over the place. The Point keeps its growing cache of accolades in a private room behind the resort’s gallery and boutique where no one except employees ever sees them. Very classy.
And speaking of classy, when your stay at The Point comes to an end your car will be returned to you with a full tank of gas.
Rates: $1,350-$2,600 all-inclusive
222 Beaverwood Rd
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
In April, 2006 peripatetic journalist Karen Catchpole left her job as deputy editor of SHOP Etc. magazine in New York City and embarked on the Trans-Americas Journey, a three year, 100,000+ mile working road trip through North, Central and South America. When she's not reviewing luxury hotels, resorts, ranches and B&Bs, she can be found enjoying the nearest campground. .
Copyright 2008 iTravel iShop