LAKE PLACID -- When Lise Luckie and her husband Len need to flee the hustle and bustle of their advertising business in Montreal, they make a beeline for the Mirror Lake Inn.
“It’s so welcoming,” said Luckie. “The people here are so nice. Every time we walk in, it’s like they haven’t seen us in five years.” That’s saying a lot, because the Luckies have stayed at the inn more than 90 times since the early 1980s.
The inn’s reputation has resulted in many awards. Readers of Conde Nast Traveler rank it the No. 1 ski hotel in the East, and it’s on the magazine’s gold list for 2013. The inn has received AAA’s Four Diamond Award of Excellence for 28 consecutive years; its View Restaurant was honored with its fifth consecutive AAA Four Diamond Award, and Wine Spectator Magazine has given its Award of Excellence to the inn for 13 straight years.
Being meticulous helps. Ed and Lisa Weibrecht, who own the inn, are everywhere — Ed patrolling the grounds and conducting meetings, Lisa often in the dining room pouring coffee and greeting guests. It almost feels like a bed and breakfast instead of a 131-room hotel: You walk in and see the owners.
The inn opened in the mid-1920s and became known for fine food as well as hospitality. The original owners grew their own vegetables, raised their own pigs, cured their own bacon, and got other produce from local farmers.
Ed Weibrecht purchased the inn in 1976 and built on the emphasis on fresh, local food, inviting farms to truck produce in so executive chef Jarrad Lang can hand-pick what he wants.
A decade of hard work literally went up in smoke on Jan. 10, 1988 when fire destroyed the inn. Staff stayed up for 48 hours, sneaking inside without firefighters knowing in an effort to salvage what they could. A grandfather clock and grand piano, in the lobby today, were among the items saved. In the long run, the fire proved a blessing, allowing the Weibrechts to rebuild with state-of-the-art luxuries like a beauty salon; spa with exercise room, sauna, and whirlpool; and a 60-foot indoor lap pool bounded on one end by a waterfall that looks like an Adirondack Mountain stream.
The Weibrechts also expanded the once-tiny bar off the lobby into a larger bistro and renovated two lakeside buildings to offer luxury suites.
The inn’s lakeside Cottage Cafe is the most popular local apres ski spot, with its wood-burning fireplace and panoramic view. Once Mirror Lake freezes, the inn creates a skating rink for guests with music and lights. The inn also offers free snowshoes and trail recommendations. (It’s canoes and kayaks in the summer).
Even on days when Main Street, a block away, is jammed with people and cars, the inn is an island of serenity. Guests are reminded to refrain from using cellphones in common areas like the mahogany-trimmed lobby, where tea and cookies are served free to guests each afternoon.
On a recent day, Lee McAvoy of Rochester, N.Y., cuddled with a book in the inn’s library before a roaring fireplace and explained why she and her husband have come back for their anniversary each year since spending their honeymoon here four years ago.
“Of any place we’ve ever been,” said McAvoy, “this is the most peaceful and rejuvenating.”
• Mirror Lake Inn: 77 Mirror Lake Dr., Lake Placid; www.mirrorlakeinn.com; 518-523-2544. Rooms start at $350-$450.