Eco-friendly systems in place, and a focus on using local vendors
Free valet service or self-parking close to the entrance
A paved trail and small lake behind the resort
A kids' club with babysitting services and activities (fees apply)
Ample event and meeting space in multiple locations
Access to the full water park is an extra fee
The paved road leading up to the resort does have some potholes
No iPod docks
Romantics may find the environs too family-friendly
The 106-room Hope Lake Lodge is practically a town unto itself. Guests have access to an attached water park (for a fee), and free access to a pool and Jacuzzis. Ample activities in the area abound, as the property sits next to the highest point in the county -- the ski resort -- which is attached to a year-round adventure center for zip lining and snow tubing, to name a few. While it's easy for kids to stay entertained, adult activities include signature cocktails next to the lobby's cozy fireplace and spa treatments. The property has a Northwoods decor throughout, and many details were crafted from vendors in the area. The staff is made up of family members, students, and long-time locals, and the resort exudes a relaxed home-away-from-home environment.
A cozy but modern resort, attracting families who like to congregate in the impressive lobby
Hope Lake Lodge, located across the road from Greek Peak (a ski resort, adventure center, and conference center), is a modern, woodsy structure. The driveway leading up to the property has a few potholes, and guests can either drive directly to the entrance for luggage service, or park in the nearby lot and walk up.
The lobby, aptly dubbed the "Great Room", makes a grand first impression, with its vaulted wood beamed ceilings and enormous stone fireplace. A restaurant and bar are located on the left, and a small front desk area is situated on the right. Guests -- mostly families with kids -- can be found congregating here.
Though the resort is mostly family oriented, adults can have their fun, too. During the evenings, the Bobcat Lounge, adjacent to the lobby, attracts a fun mix of locals and visitors. In addition, the impressive spa has a range of treatments.
The Northwoods decor is attractive and authentic, and some details were crafted by local vendors or with local materials. For example, an aging cherry tree on the property was reused for several pieces of furniture in the lobby.
An all-season destination close to Cortland, Ithaca, and the Finger Lakes
Cortland is a small city located in a scenic area of central New York, surrounded by winding roads and valleys. The highest spot in the county is found at Greek Peak Resort, just across the road from Hope Lake Lodge. Local skiers have been hitting the slopes on this mountain for decades, but it was the development of Hope Lake Lodge -- the first full-service resort in this rural area -- that brought in the overnight vacationers.
Guests will find themselves within driving distance to Cortland, downtown Ithaca (home to Cornell University), and the Finger Lakes for boating and wine tasting.
18-minute drive to downtown Cortland
33-minute drive to Ithaca, home of Cornell University
40-minute drive to the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
56-minute drive to Syracuse
1-hour-7-minute drive to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Rooms have cozy, lodge-like decor, and most are suites with kitchens and gas fireplaces
Rooms have lodge-like decor inspired by the Great North Woods (a massive forest across New York and several other states). They are clean and relatively free of wear and tear. The smallest and most basic of the units is the Traditional Room (no fireplace or kitchen), but most units are suites with fully equipped kitchens, gas fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and DVD players. Some units have Murphy beds in the living room that pull down to create extra sleeping space.
Local vendors were sought out and used for many aspects throughout the property, including the rooms. In fact, the owners made every attempt to use vendors within a 500-mile radius from the resort. The mattresses, for instance, were not chosen lightly. The owners wanted spa quality, similar to a bed they had experienced once at another hotel. After numerous setbacks in obtaining these (the mattress company went out of business), the owners ran into a mattress salesman for a company in Buffalo, who said he could duplicate the look and feel.
A water park open year-round and a heated outdoor pool
Conveniently located adjacent to the hotel is a kid-friendly water park staffed by lifeguards (access is an additional fee). The modern structure is kept at a constant 84 degrees, and can be enjoyed year-round. It features 500 feet of water slides, as well as a large wave pool with three revolving settings to keep kids and adults entertained.
Guests do get free access to the heated outdoor pool and indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis at the water park complex. The pool overlooks the natural landscape, and lounge chairs and sunshine make this an appealing place to kick back and relax.
The Edgewater Cafe near the entrance is available for snacks and casual lunches. Adults can order grown-up beverages here such as wine, beer and frozen cocktails.
A spectacular Feng Shui-inspired spa with spacious suites and modern technology
Next to the main elevator is the entrance to Waterfalls Spa, owned by Aspen Spa Management -- it's arguably the best spa in central New York.
Each of the treatment rooms offers a private shower with Aveda products, as well as the ability to choose music and color schemes. Two suites -- designed for couples' treatments -- have a two-person balneotherapy tub from Germany that incorporates chromotherapy. One of the two suites has a two-person infrared sauna to detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system.
Individual treatments and packages can be chosen directly from the menu, or guests can meet with a spa manager to learn more about services.
A classic restaurant next to the lobby, and a number of gourmet options nearby
Acorn Grill -- open for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- offers an American menu, with traditional entrees such as filet mignon, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Maple Nut Salmon, as well as sandwiches, pizzas, and salads.
Local specialties, such as elk meat, are farmed within miles of the resort.
Breakfast is not included with the cost of the room, there are made-to-order items as well as a buffet option.
Hope Lake Lodge is in close proximity to Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, and therefore, there are a number of quality restaurants within driving distance of the resort. Ask the front desk for suggestions.
Adult beverages at the water park, and a lobby bar that's popular with both guests and locals
There is an undeniable family-friendly vibe at Hope Lake Lodge, but the Bobcat Lounge in the lobby -- thanks in part to its popular bartenders -- receives a steady crowd of locals and tourists. The bar features seasonally inspired cocktails and draft beer from local breweries. Specialty drinks concocted by the bartenders are offered, such as the pomegranate blueberry martini and upside-down pineapple cake.
The Edgewater Cafe, which serves casual food in the kid-friendly water park also serves wine, beer and a small selection of frozen cocktails.
A decent wine list -- with selections from nearby Finger Lakes wineries -- is offered at Acorn Grill, as well as in the in-room dining menu.
Guided winery tours can be arranged through the concierge.
Two ballrooms and a conference center at Greek Peak
For group events, Hope Lake Lodge has two meeting rooms on-site: the Adirondack Room (1,519 square feet) and Charles Baker Room (837 square feet). Both have the same lodge-like decor as the rest of the resort, as well as Tiffany chandeliers and granite countertops, and are equipped with modern technology for business meetings. The rooms can be used for social functions such as sit-down meals.
The adjacent Greek Peak Resort operates The Acropolis, a multi-functional space that can accommodate groups as large as 1,000 people (shuttle service from Hope Lake Lodge is provided). The largest room is 4,100 square feet, and there are six other meeting rooms.
Activities for team building sessions, such as the multi-level ropes courses taught by a professional team at the Adventure Center, are also offered.
Though the resort appeals to families, touches of romance can be found
Hope Lake Lodge is clearly geared toward families. Certain features will also appeal to couples, however, such as couples spa treatments and cozy gas fireplaces in the suites.
Parents who want a night out on the town at one of the nearby restaurants (on-site dining options are better suited for families) have the option to drop kids off off at the Bearfoot Den kids' club, which is open every evening (fees apply).
The rolling hills of central New York create scenic backdrops for the big day
The picturesque setting surrounding Hope Lake Lodge attracts couples looking to have their wedding in the rural countryside. Event planners can make preparations for bridal showers, ceremonies, receptions and post-wedding breakfasts in a number of unique indoor or outdoor venues on-site, and across the road at The Acropolis.
Special arrangements, such as having a bottle of local Finger Lakes wine delivered to each guest room of the wedding party, are also possible.
Waterfalls Spa is able to accommodate wedding parties for a range of treatments.
A number of sustainable practices throughout this modern property
The hotel has a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system that takes the heat and the cold out of the ambient air. In addition, the computer system removes the heated air from rooms and areas where it is not needed and delivers to another area that is calling for heat or cooler air. The system is tied into the reservations system to regulate the heat and cooling in the rooms as guests check in and out.
A high-tech ionization air purification system in the water park, grand lobby, and hallways spreads ionized oxygen clusters which attach to airborne pollutants such as mold bacteria, pollen, chemicals, and odor causing organic compounds and rapidly drop them from the breathable air.
The developer has been a businessman in the area for several decades
Though Hope Lake Lodge opened in December 2009, the vision for the resort had been in the making for years. As a young boy, Al Kryger used to visit this scenic valley and could feel potential in its surroundings. He opened Greek Peak across the road many decades ago, and always planned to one day evolve the ski resort into a year-round destination. This dream came to fruition with the development of chalets and condos, as well as a full-service hotel, water park, and spa. More projects are slated for the future, including the addition of an 18-hole golf course.
The resort is located in a scenic area of central New York with access to downtown Cortland, a few miles away. Managers and staff members are available 24 hours a day for security concerns. In the water park, lifeguards are trained in safety and first aid. Greek Peak has ski patrol and a volunteer doctor on duty on weekends during the winter season.