Now that spring is in full swing, it’s time to head to the water. But before you start searching Caribbean islands and beach getaways in Mexico, there are dozens of properties along gorgeous lakes that deserve travelers’ attention. Perfect for canoeing and boating, or simply relaxing adjacent to the water, lakes make a great escape for both romancing couples or vacationing families. From California to Italy, we’ve stayed at properties throughout the world that are ideal for a lakeside getaway. Take a look at 12 of our favorite hotels sitting alongside lakes that you need to visit this spring or summer.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is a 95-room, creme de la creme hotel situated on the banks of Lake Como, featuring five-star amenities, ornate decor, and panoramic vistas of the water and mountains. From the grand, three-story exterior with lakeside pool and dock to the neoclassical interior with its raved-about restaurants and spa, this hotel is a showstopper. Rooms have ornate detail and antique style, though some fabrics look a bit dated.
Deep in the Poconos, The Lodge at Woodloch is an upscale adult-only retreat whose spa aesthetic feels miles away from the area’s infamous gaudy honeymoon suites and heart-shaped hot tubs. It has all the usual perks of an all-inclusive resort in the region, with acres of woodland, a private lake, and an adjacent golf club, but the restaurant here is a grown up farm-to-table affair with some of its produce sourced from its own garden. Guests can spring for chef-curated dinners, with cocktails and a wine list worth exploring. On top of substantial rates for rooms that are somewhat dated, alcohol and extras don’t come cheap, but couples looking for a relaxing spa holiday should find what they seek here.
Located on Tal-y-llyn Lake’s northern shore, this tiny bed-and-breakfast offers a good base to explore scenic Snowdonia National Park. With only four rooms and a homey atmosphere, The Old Rectory on the Lake is popular with middle-age and older couples. There is nothing in the way of amenities aside from a tiny but renowned restaurant serving a seasonal dinner menu made with locally sourced produce, and an outdoor hot tub — but guests (most of whom visit several times a year) love it for its stunning views, secluded location, and personalized service. Rooms are all different but lovely and cozy, with fireplaces, nice bathrooms and modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Kids are not allowed in the main house, but small families can book the adjacent studio, which features a kitchen and a living area.
The historic, family-owned Mirror Lake Inn, with beautiful views of its namesake, has been around for nearly 90 years. This charming property is bigger than meets the eye, and the 131 carpeted, cozy rooms have lodge-y decor in varying degrees of elegance, and are located in several distinct sections of the resort. Suites might come with gas fireplaces, jetted tubs, and/or private balconies. There are three dining options, including The View (with an impressive wine list) and The Cottage (with an apres-ski atmosphere). Guests can walk to downtown Lake Placid for more choice. Meanwhile, the indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, fitness center, and seasonal skating rink provide opportunities to work off the trademark cookies in the lobby—just watch the bill for those pesky extra fees. Phone calls are not allowed in common areas, which enhances the relaxed vibe.
With an excellent location on Lake Maggiore, the 179-room Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees is an Art Nouveau, luxury property with spectacular lake views. Decor is ornate throughout the lobby and rooms, and the hotel grounds are gorgeous. The hotel has an outdoor pool with grassy sunbathing areas, a spa with an indoor pool, and a fitness center. The rooms are traditionally elegant, with patterned carpets, bedspreads, and drapes. Some guests find reception from the staff to be a bit on the cold side.
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains’ natural beauty, on a lake that’s been used as the setting for more than one movie, the Lodge on Lake Lure offers a quiet, romantic mountain retreat. The upscale inn has 17 cozy rooms, most offering unobstructed lake views, often best taken in from private rocking chairs on a shaded terrace. The restaurant serves an extensive free, Southern-inspired breakfast daily, as well as a prix fixe dinner (for a fee) four nights a week. A veranda overlooking the lake offers outdoor dining in good weather. The hotel is relatively self-contained, but there’s no pool or fitness center—though there is a lake, with canoes—and guests will have to venture out for dinner on the nights the restaurant is closed.
The 262-room, lower-middle-range Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe offers a reasonably priced lakeside location with a beach. The property includes a 1,000-foot pier, water-sports rentals, a beach bar, an on-site tavern, lakeside restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and a small gym. But it’s located at the southern entrance to South Lake Tahoe, meaning it’s closer to grocery store strip malls than the Heavenly gondola, and is not within walking distance of ski resorts, making it more suited to summertime than wintertime. Outdoor movies and luaus provide family-friendly entertainment, and indoor/outdoor event space is available. Basic sea-themed rooms have flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, and coffeemakers, but lack microwaves and not all have mini-fridges.
Everything about the upper-range Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is elegant. Situated in Lake District National Park, this family owned-and-operated property is built into two luxury country houses. Guest rooms are spacious with huge picture windows and exceptionally tasteful decor. Flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, Nespresso coffeemakers, and stocked minibars add modern conveniences to this country escape; private hot tubs and patios can be found in some suites, and an on-site spa is available as well. A made-to-order free breakfast is offered daily, but the highly-rated restaurant (open for dinner only) is pricey.
The Lakedale Resort is not your grandfather’s campground. In addition to a lakefront location with picnic spots, this 82-acre property offers everything from an airstream trailer to canvas cabins. The lodge rooms definitely have the most conveniences—bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries, TVs (albeit tube-style ones), and patios—but they are also the least outdoorsy. The Canvas Cabins are no-frills—but in a good way—sporting charming rustic decor and comfy beds. The property is best suited for visitors looking for an upscale camping experience, although poor cell phone reception may be a nuisance for some.
The 108-unit upscale Wildness on the Lake is the quietest, most removed property of the Wilderness Resort, a complex of three hotels, with multiple indoor and outdoor water parks, mini-golf, laser tag, zip lines, go-carts, arcades, and much more to keep families with children very busy. Set across Lake Delton from the main resort, Wilderness on the Lake is slightly more subdued than its sister properties, but still has its own indoor/outdoor water park, infinity pool, and private beach. Made up of two- and three-bedroom condos with cabin-chic decor and full kitchens, the Wilderness on the Lake offers a spacious yet cozy place to relax between water parks and other adventures.
The four-pearl Grand Geneva Resort is the jewel in the crown of Lake Geneva’s resorts. It was originally built in 1968 as a Playboy Resort. After a period of decline in the 1980’s, the property was restored and polished back to its original luster. The resort has expansive grounds, 355 guest rooms, and provides fancy amenities like riding stables, a separate spa building, water park, full-size indoor basketball and tennis courts, and a climbing-wall. The main building is surrounded by two 18-hole golf courses, and a lake surrounds the backlands of the property. The location is ideal for leisure travelers and for business conferences and meetings.
The 250-year-old Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa offers an idyllic setting on Lake Windermere with green lawns, private moorings, and scenic views from a terrace bar and restaurant. The hotel also has a spa with a nail salon, a cafe, treatment rooms, a heated pool, and gym. The 106 rooms have classic decor and flat-screen TVs; many feature superb lake views. Guests have complained that cocktails at the bar are pricey and that staff can be inconsistent.
This article was originally published by Oyster under the headline 12 Lakeside Hotels That Need to Be Part of Your Summer Plans. It is reprinted here with permission.
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