My family visited Grand Cascades Lodge, a world-class Adirondack-style resort and part of the Crystal Springs Resort community to enjoy some winter fun. Located about an hour from NYC and about 2 1/2 hours from Philadelphia, it is a luxurious retreat full of elegance and charm. My family (5 of us with kids ranging in age from 12 to 6) visited on a busy Friday in January.
Grand Cascades offers valet parking as well as bellmen to help you with your luggage. Our bellman offered us nice tips about the community and the lodge as we traveled to our room and was very pleasant to talk to. It was nice to get an insider's view and hear about the many activities that go on there.
Our room was a one-bedroom-suite. There was also a kitchenette so preparing breakfast or a baby's meal or child's special diet would not have been a problem. There was even a washer and dryer there as well in case they were needed, although you would need to bring your own supplies. The living area had a couch (which converted into a bed) and gas fireplace. There was plenty of room to sit and read or talk with your family. Outside was a balcony with table and chairs that would be a lovely spot in the summertime to read or do a quiet activity. The bedroom was well-furnished and connected to the large bathroom complete with shower stall, tub, sink and toilet. Everything was clean and elegant and we felt pampered, although for a family of five the one-bedroom was quite cramped sleeping-wise, so I would recommend a larger room or adjoining suites.
Grand Cascades has its own concierge, so if you were at a loss for things to do, these people are available in the lobby and have loads of information on how to make your stay complete, or offer assistance if you run into an issue or two. We found them most helpful when we had questions on things to do in the area.
There are wonderful restaurants located on-site. We had dinner at the Springs Bistro, which was quite good, and the staff was very accommodating. We had asked to have another couple and child join us and they quickly moved chairs around to allow us to eat together. This was on a busy night, so I appreciated their ability to assist us even when things were bustling. Our server was WONDERFUL and she made our meal so relaxing and enjoyable. I was definitely impressed with all of the staff at the Springs Bistro and would recommend eating there to anyone, although be prepared that although delicious, it is an expensive treat.
My family also ate breakfast the next morning in the Tavern which was also good, although there were not a whole lot of affordable kid-friendly options. The options that were available were a bit too fancy (and costly) for a child who would not really appreciate them, but I can see that they're trying to make this an upscale eatery with a classier feel. If your kids are picky or not big eaters you may want to bring along cereal and milk and fruit and eat in your in-room kitchenette. That being said, I was happy with my meal and my server, again, was top-notch.
One of the highlights of Grand Cascades Lodge is the pool! If your kids are like mine and ask about swimming as soon as we pull up to a hotel, they'll LOVE what they see here! Complete with plants, rocks, hot tub, indoor/outdoor pools, heated water and a huge water slide, the Biosphere pool is heaven! You cannot stay here and not experience this pool. While on busy weekends it does get crowded, and we were dismayed by how many parents and staff members allowed kids into the hot tub, it was otherwise a nice experience and great way to relax. There are no lifeguards, so just be aware. Towels are provided and there are changing rooms with showers, lockers, toilets, hairdryers and bags for your wet clothes. They were clean and close by and very comfortable to use. I was happy with the pool area and although crowded, was a very nice place to relax.
While at Grand Cascades you can have a free shuttle take you to nearby Mountain Creek for snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. While convenient and affordable, I was most disappointed with this offering. My family spent so much time waiting for this shuttle that we were angry and irritable by the time we either got to our destination or got back to the lodge. The drivers were very nice and seemed to be hustling and doing their best, but they simply could not handle the amount of shuttling that was demanded of them. I had heard this had been an issue with others in the past, and it seems to still be true. Leave yourself more than enough time to get where you need to go, and be prepared to wait. I wish this service could be improved because it is a great offering, it's just very, very slow and hard for young children (and their parents) to wait and wait. Hopefully in the future this will be addressed and improved, because it was nice to be dropped off at our destination and not have to drive.
Staying at Grand Cascades is a treat and a luxury experience I would recommend to anyone looking for an upscale escape. There is a two-night minimum stay required, but it is a mice opportunity to settle in and enjoy the finery. Whether you prefer the spa, a great meal, a relaxing dip in the pool or just some time away from the usual, Grand Cascades has something for everyone. Treat yourself!
**This review is based on a complimentary stay here. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions are entirely my own.