The first time we saw the Mirror Lake Inn, it was decorated like a Christmas storybook for the annual Lake Placid Holiday Stroll. Decadent trees shrouded in ribbons, lights and pinecones, all unique in their execution — one for each common room and restaurant throughout the property. The effect? Dickens on overdrive.
And I’ve been wanting to stay in this iconic Lake Placid hotel ever since.
It is the epitome of elegant charm and has the Small Luxury Hotels of the World designation to prove it. But as gorgeous as it is, my recent stay at the Mirror Lake Inn helped me conclude that “luxury” has as much to do with impeccable service as it does with decor and amenities.
Mirror Lake Inn: a brief history
Owned by just two families since the 1920s, its current ownership belongs to two-time Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht. Andrew, his wife and one of his brothers are heavily involved with the resort’s day-to-day operations, so your visit may also coincide with meeting an Olympian.
In 1976, Ed Weibrecht and his wife, Lisa (Andrew’s parents), moved to Lake Placid and agreed to manage the Inn for a year with the intention of taking over and purchasing the property from the original owners.
Until 1978, the Mirror Lake Inn was made up of a bunch of private cottages around the main building. Then construction began to create more lodging and connect some of the buildings. This is part of the labyrinthian feel you get when wandering the halls. It’s a bit of an Arts & Crafts mashup and don’t be surprised if it takes more than a day to get the lay of the land as a result.
Since 1984, the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa has been a AAA Four Diamond-rated resort. It boasts a number of other awards, too — too numerous to list here but you can click here to read more.
Mirror Lake Inn rooms
Every room at the Inn faces the lake, and there are two buildings with 11 rooms in each that sit right at the edge of Mirror Lake. If you’re staying during the warmest months, I’d suggest staying in either of those to take advantage of their close proximity to the beach and other water activities offered in summer.
The rooms follow suit decor-wise with the rest of the property: warm colours, rich wood tones and typical Adirondack style adorn even the hallways, which are also filled with local memorabilia and artifacts. Old wooden skis and snowshoes invite guests to imagine what it may have been like to roam the property in its early days.
Even the least expensive “Classic Rooms” are roomy and sport beautiful lake views with a sitting area to enjoy sunrises and sunsets, offering the perfect book nook for those who’d rather spend time in their own space rather than one of the busier (but still quiet) common rooms. These have either one king bed (with an extra sitting area thanks to a couch) or two queen beds. There are Family Rooms with two and three bedrooms as well, but these are on the pricier side and much harder to book because there are so few of them. Classic Rooms have plenty of space for families who plan to spend time in their rooms primarily to sleep.
There are many different suites available, some that are more than one floor and some with Jacuzzis. Each room on property seems to have its own individual style, making subsequent stays even more interesting.
Housekeeping is just lovely here. We had the nicest woman servicing our floor and although I prefer not to have my room made up most days, she would often chat as I was coming and going and ensured I had enough towels — and wine glasses! — for my stay.
Interestingly, there are no high- or low-season room rates at the Mirror Lake Inn. Keep that in mind if you’re booking during shoulder or traditional low seasons thinking you’re going to score a deal. Starting at around US$239 per night for a family of four, staying midweek rather than during a weekend is the best way to get the best price.
Take a closer look at the Mirror Lake Inn rooms and grounds in this video (shot and edited entirely on the iPhone 11, by the way!):
There are several common areas in the main building that are perfect for quiet conversation, reading or totally zoning out. From small sitting rooms to grand living spaces (complete with a harp!) to cozy nooks with furniture wrapped in a red mountain-inspired pattern, there’s always somewhere to sit and relax beyond your bedroom.
Sitting in front of this fire quickly became one of my favourite daily rituals at the Mirror Lake Inn. If I didn’t think it would be entirely uncouth, I’d have gladly taken a nap there, too.
Mirror Lake Inn restaurants
The Mirror Lake Inn has three restaurants, but will soon have two restaurants plus a lounge. By May 2020, renovations to Taste Bistro and The View should be complete and will see The View’s footprint and menu expand and become a bit more casual. Taste Bistro’s space will turn into a bar and lounge with a more limited menu. Then there’s The Cottage, across the street from the main building.
I’ve eaten at all three restaurants and it’s clear that the Mirror Lake Inn prioritizes foodie experiences like I do. Eating is serious business here, and every dish was a winner.
There is a distinct farm-to-table commitment at many Lake Placid restaurants, and the Mirror Lake Inn is no stranger to this. The resort harvests fresh herbs from its own garden and has relationships with about 10 local farms. They were doing farm-to-table before it was trendy.
The Mirror Lake Inn is home to excellent food. Read this post about Lake Placid restaurants for more great food in the area.
We found each restaurant was able to manage substitutions (for both personal preference and allergen prevention) with ease — and some days we really tested the limits of this.
Each day, there were specials at all of the restaurants and these were noted in the daily newsletter delivered by housekeeping, listed in the elevators, printed at the front desk and shared by servers. There’s a lot of creativity among the chefs and kitchen staff, and fine dining service is carried out from breakfast through dinner.
Mirror Lake Inn Spa
You’d never know there’s a large swimming pool, nature-inspired hot tub, steam room and sauna lurking in the belly of the Mirror Lake Inn. Unless you venture downstairs!
As a hotel guest, you don’t even need to book a spa service to use the water therapies — just ask the ladies at the spa desk for a key and let yourself in. But if you can find the time, pair it with a spa service or two to round out your stay.
Our group raved about the custom facial and deep-tissue massage.
I enjoyed the Pure Placid Cleansing Ritual, which started with a light dusting of organic cornmeal all over my body. Then the aesthetician added scented oil (from local skincare success story Pure Placid) to her hands and it created a body scrub effect. After both my front and back were scrubbed, I was invited to have a hot multi-directional shower to wash it all off before she applied a soothing and hydrating moisturizer with a Swedish massage effect. Having my feet wrapped in hot towels while she performed a light neck massage was a beautiful way to end this 50-minute service.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I would spend the morning in the pool and hot tub, break it up with a steam bath, read a book in the red Adirondack (cough, cough…Muskoka) chairs that sit alongside the pool and then finish it off with the Pure Placid Cleansing Ritual. Next time…
Mirror Lake Inn resort activities
We were visiting Lake Placid primarily to ski at Whiteface, so other than the spa, we didn’t take advantage of the many activities available around the property.
We did, however, do a half-day “Ski with Andrew” guided experience around Whiteface. Exclusively for hotel guests, people can ski with Andrew for anywhere from one to seven hours individually or as a group of up to five. Although Andrew is a qualified ski instructor, don’t expect a lesson; this is purely a levelled-up guided ski experience geared toward intermediate skiers and above. Find the most up-to-date Ski with Andrew pricing here.
Part of the draw, of course, is that you get to ride the chair lifts with an Olympian and U.S. Skiing Hall of Famer — and try to keep up as he glides down the runs with more finesse than you’ll ever have. I tried to stay in his tracks a few times, which worked out fine on flatter terrain but as soon as we dipped into the steep stuff, Andrew’s turns are just way too tight.
We loved getting to know Andrew and found him easy to talk to and open to our many, many questions.
If you didn’t bring your own ski equipment, Andrew and his brother also operate a small rental operation at the Mirror Lake Inn and they’ll lend you their expertise to get you fitted into high-performance gear.
While you’ve got skiing on the brain, read about my favourite ski gadgets.
And if you decide that skiing with Olympian Andrew Weibrecht isn’t for you, at least go and get a selfie with his medals, which are in shadow boxes behind the front desk.
All of the other Mirror Lake Inn experiences are listed in the daily newsletter, and include activities like snowshoeing and ice skating. The property is also located near the local Toboggan Chute, loads of other restaurants and shopping.
There’s a large and well-equipped fitness centre at the Mirror Lake Inn and treadmill users get a real treat: views of the lake.
Every afternoon from 3:30-4:30pm in the main living room, the Mirror Lake Inn hosts Afternoon Tea with its famous chocolate chip cookies. But don’t worry if you miss it, because the cookies are always available at the front desk, too!