Imagine falling to sleep with slowly fading embers of a fire crackling softly into its own slumber at the foot of your bed, the sound of a loon’s tremolo still echoing in your ear. Then picture morning’s call in the form of sunlight dancing through the windows of your cabin, a warm breakfast tray waiting at your door.
This is no ordinary morning, but, then again, this is no ordinary vacation. When you’re staying at The Point—the intimate, all-inclusive, adults-only private Adirondack estate nestled on a secluded 75-acre peninsula stretching into Upper Saranac Lake—you are staying in another time and place, one created by a man of consummate vision and taste. The Point, built between 1930 and 1933 by William G. Distin as one of the Great Camps of the Great North Woods, was conceived by William Avery Rockefeller as his family’s private home. It is a grand yet understated romantic log mansion of the Gilded Age, tucked along the rugged lakeshores of upstate New York.
Today The Point is a resort like few others, a magnificent retreat full of fine art and antiques where guests have access to a seemingly boundless Eden of the great outdoors, where the days unfold at leisure and the staff anticipates one’s every need. Each meal is an event, each day an adventure, each night a celebration. When you arrive, you pass through the private gate and are meant to feel as if you’re being welcomed back home, from the chilled glasses of Champagne that greet you to the personal walk-through of the grounds (during which time your bags will be unpacked in your room, with all items neatly arranged). There are no front reception desks, no papers to review, no credit cards to be swiped (that’s all been handled prior to your arrival). Room rates are all-inclusive, with carte-blanche use of the equipment and facilities as well as three meals per day, afternoon tea, and unlimited wine, liquor, and liqueurs from the help-yourself bars that are open 24 hours a day.The Point’s 11 distinctive guest rooms are spread among the property’s original four log buildings. Each has a broad lake view, custom-made beds, sumptuous private baths, and wood-burning stone fireplaces. Walls of native pine, spruce, and fir have been hand-waxed to a glowing, honeyed hue. Though you’re encouraged to partake in any of the warm- or cold-weather sports on offer—from water-skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and tennis to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, curling, and ice-fishing—a book is all you ever really need, no matter what the season. Take that good book, along with your room’s crackling fire, a glass of wine, and the surrounding views of the lake and woods, and serenity never felt so fine.
This year, thanks to a multi-million-dollar renovation that was completed in late spring, The Point is offering a refreshed and even more luxurious atmosphere of rustic elegance. The renovation was overseen by new owners Laurie and Pierre Lapeyre, longtime regulars who purchased the property in June 2016. Along with the Lake Placid–based architecture firm Andrew Chary Architect and Connecticut-based Westport Interiors, the Lapeyres have elevated The Point’s rustic grandeur to the pinnacle of Great Camp style. “It’s a blessing to have the Lapeyres as owners,” general manager Cameron Karger tells me. “They’ve invested an enormous amount of time, energy, and money into this renovation, but never wanted to change the style or feel of The Point. Instead, we’ve rolled it back to what you might have found when the Rockefellers originally owned it.” In addition to upgrading the rooms, bathrooms, and the Great Hall, they’ve also winterized The Boathouse—the largest and most requested guest room that’s more of an open, airy hall above the boats and water, where a lofty, beamed ceiling vaults over a central canopied bed—making it available year-round.There’s no TV and no Wi-Fi at The Point. “If you don’t have it, you can’t use it,” Karger says, noting how the property encourages guests to experience the natural splendor of the Adirondacks. And it works. This feels like one of the few places left in the world where you can truly disconnect and relax. “So many times,” Karger tells me, “I have guests come up and say, ‘This is the first time I’ve had a real vacation in a long time.’ And it feels good to be able to offer that to people.”
Karger and his highly skilled team, including executive chef Loic Leperlier, go the extra mile to indulge guests. Meals are momentous, from casual breakfasts and picnics to the more elaborate evenings in the Great Hall. Dinner attire is worn every night, and the tradition of elegant Great Camp dining is kept alive with black tie on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Fine wines are served from the private cellars, and don’t be surprised if you’re treated to perks like cocktails on the house Elco, the glass-enclosed electric boat, or a private dîner à deux on the docks. Indeed, if you’re ever going to crack open that copy of Walden that’s been sitting on your bookshelf—or just want to stop and smell the rugged yet refined roses—make it a point to do so with a vacation at The Point.