Not your average Adirondacks lodge, Bluebird Lake Placid looks more like a swish alpine chalet you might find on the slopes of a Scandinavian ski resort. A deliberate departure from the region’s rugged style, this restful retreat is all clean lines, pine-wood panelling, and earthy textures – cleverly turning the classic cabin stay on its head, but still creating a cozy, cocooning atmosphere. Especially by the wood-burner in the mountain-guide-stocked library, or with a glass of bourbon on your balcony gazing out across the glittering (or frozen solid) waters of Mirror Lake.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £103.65 ($131), including tax at 13 per cent.
Rates do not include breakfast.
Bluebird Lake Placid’s communal areas are wheelchair-accessible, and there are five ADA-adapted king and queen room types.
At the hotel
Shuttle to ski slopes, library, lounge, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, air-conditioning, mini-fridge, microwave, and Ursa Major bath products.
Our favourite rooms
There’s just something about rooms with bunk beds which adds to the sense of adventure (we do love to indulge our inner-child where we can). There are king and queen bunk suites available for families and friends traveling together, and the Party Friends Suite is as fun as it sounds – with a private balcony and dining space to entertain any post-ski hangouts, it’s the hotels largest pad to book.
Whatever the season, come prepared to spend most of your time outdoors. No need to bring heavy equipment (there are some great local rentals in town for all your skiing, hiking, biking, and watersports needs), but lots of activewear will come in handy.
Winter visitors can slide down to the frozen waters of Mirror Lake on the town’s Toboggan Chute, just 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Sit as close to the wood-burner as possible in the winter; take in the leafy vistas from the glass-panelled lounge come summertime.
A quick internet search of Scandinavian outdoor brands should set you on the right track.
There’s currently no onsite restaurant, but a selection of snacks will soon be available to order in the Après Only lounge.
An exciting addition to Lake Placid’s post-piste party scene, Bluebird’s much-anticipated Après Only bar and tasting room will be an Eighties-themed watering hole for shot-skis, IPA on draft, and limited-batch bourbon. For a low-key evening, settle into a bouclé chair by the fire with a rustic charcuterie and cheese board, or some freshly baked Bavarian pretzels and cakes, looking out onto the forest-fringed views through the full-height windows.
Snuggled between the Adirondacks and Mirror Lake in Upstate New York, Bluebird Lake Placid is just a 10-minute drive from ski haven, White Face Mountain.
Saranac Lake is the closest airport to the hotel (around 25 minutes by car), which is served by daily flights to and from New York City and Boston. Alternatively, Plattsburgh International is around an hour’s drive from the hotel.
Bluebird is within walking distance of Lake Placid’s attractions, but all-out adventures in the Adirondacks ideally require a set of wheels – and you can make the most of the hotel’s free on-site parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
As the two-time host of the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980, Lake Placid is a snowsports paradise. Hop on the shuttle from outside Bluebird Lake Placid and ride straight to the slopes, for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tobogganing – stopping in at Cunningham’s (the oldest ski barn in America) for your equipment en route. Keen cross-country skiers should trek the Jack Rabbit Trail (which stretches for 50 kilometers from Keene to Paul Smiths), but most of the powdery action takes place on Whiteface Mountain. There’s a snowboard school and terrain park for boarders, and plenty of pistes from bunny hills (for beginners) to double-black-diamond wilderness for advanced mountaineers. Back in Lake Placid, head to the Herb Brooks Arena (the setting for the iconic US gold-medal victory over the USSR in the men’s ice-hockey) and rent some ice-skates for a historic spin. Summer visitors can make the most of the Adirondacks’ rugged mountain trails, cooling lakes, and tranquil forests by canoeing, paddle-boarding, boating, hiking, biking, fishing, and bird-watching in the vast backcountry beauty.
The Dancing Bears in downtown Lake Placid enjoys some of the best views over Mirror Lake, with an outdoor deck to soak up the summer sunshine – and a cozy fireplace to warm up beside in the winter. Expect pub-grub style plates, pizza, and burgers throughout the day, but it’s the American brunch menu which draws most of the locals each morning – the buttermilk pancakes are legendary, and the cinnamon-swirl French toast really hits the pre-ski sweet spot. Fuel up on buffalo wings, mac-and-cheese, and thin-crust pizzas at laidback Lisa G’s, which warms weary mountaineers by fire pits out on deck. Barbecue cravings are sated at Smoke Signals, a meaty eatery which pairs pulled-pork sliders, house-smoked brisket, and loaded nachos with moonshine margaritas, limited-release bourbon, and straight-barrel whiskey.
Pick up some sweet treats for the slopes from Cocoa & Dough Co.(known for their specialty donuts like the maple-frosted, bacon-sprinkled Adirondacker), or pop in to Origin Coffee Co. for a brewed-to-order caffeine hit before tackling some hiking trails.
If you’re serious about your pints, Big Slide Brewery changes its on-tap selection on a daily basis (and the farm-to-table bites are an added draw). The tasting room at family-run Goose Watch Winery is housed within a converted barn, with enchanting views across the vines and chestnut trees – or you can sip your way through a few flights from the outdoor deck overlooking Cayuga Lake.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this lakeside retreat in the Adirondacks and unpacked their hiking boots and ski salopettes, a full account of their adventure-filled break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Bluebird Lake Placid in Upstate New York…
It was only a matter of time before Japandi design made its way to the Adirondacks. Bluebird Lake Placid has all the rugged good looks of the mountainous region right outside its soaring windows, but has opted for a more refined take on the rustic aesthetic by blending Scandinavian and Japanese alpine influences for an elevated chalet experience. Like its New York State sister properties in the Catskills and Saratoga Springs, Elder & Ash are behind the Lake Placid outpost’s chalet-style interiors which are cool, calm, and connected to its steps-from-the-lake setting. This is exactly the sort of serene space you want to come back to (and collapse in) after shredding the nearby ski slopes and tearing up the surrounding hiking and biking trails – but there’s also an après bar scene (and Party Friends Suite) back at base should you wish to extend your evenings.