Check-in at The Point, a grand estate on Saranac Lake in Upstate New York, begins with a glass of champagne. Before I’ve taken a proper sip, my bags (and the car I drove up in) are seamlessly whisked away. It’s the first glimpse of the level of service to expect here — and a welcome distraction from the fact that my mobile phone lost signal about an hour ago. (R.I.P., cell reception.) My bedroom, one of just 11 at this intimate wooded resort, has no Wi-Fi, telephone or television (gasp) but is full of books and antiques and has a sunlit deck overlooking the lake, a giant stone fireplace and a tall hand-built bed fit for a movie star.
Before the Hamptons, the Adirondacks was the preferred destination of the rich and fabulous. (See: the Vanderbilts, Astors and Guggenheims.) Here, New York’s old-money elite built “great camps” — rustic luxury getaways (complete with staff, of course) on pristine lakes. The Point, originally built in the late 19th century, was William Rockefeller’s gift to his wife.
The Point is a 30-hectare private estate. Guests are asked to treat it like their own homes-- sitting with an aperitif at the chef's table in the kitchen while he prepares dinner is encouraged. Image by: The Point
Although the activities available are many, from boating and hiking to tennis and even retro games like croquet, I got over the lack of technology mainly by partaking in the most popular things to do here: eat and drink. Well-stocked wet bars with s’mores supplies and truffle popcorn are dotted all over the property, including inside a tricked-out lean-to filled with cozy pillows and blankets and set atop a hill that is perfect for stargazing.
Guests eat communally in the great hall of the main lodge; you could be seated next to a former president, a business mogul or return visitors Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. Twice a week, dinner is a black-tie affair with a decadent seven-course meal. There are no children here, but well-behaved pets are welcome. (One dog visiting during my stay had its own naturopath.) The discreet staff seem to anticipate what you need and have a rule to “never say no” to a request — the only thing you’ll do without here is cell service.
The Boathouse, one of 11 uniquely decorated rooms spread across four original log buildings, has been winterized and is available year-round.
This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.