Placid Pleasures

Lake Placid, NY, is perhaps best known as the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Thirty years later, this charming Adirondack village is still a mecca for lovers of an active lifestyle. The city hosts an annual Ironman triathlon, and visitors can partake in Olympic-style sports like ice skating, bobsledding, and more at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, and snoeshoeing opportunities abound, while summer sees an influx of hikers, bikers, kayakers, canoers, and rock climbers. Needless to say, after all of this activity, visitors to Lake Placid are often in need of a little R&R. Thankfully, two area spas—The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn and The Spa at Whiteface Lodge—offer the perfect antidote for action-packed days.

Design-wise, both spas take inspiration from their Adirondack locale. "The vibe in Lake Placid is laid-back and friendly, and that is how the spa functions," says Mary Jane Lawrence, Mirror Lake Inn's spa director. "It is a very warm and comfortable environment offering a relaxed, yet professional, atmosphere." The 5,000-square-foot, seven-treatment-room spa is infused with the scent of balsam, which can be found throughout the surrounding woods. The spa is also accented in local marble and mahogany and is peppered with cozy fireplaces. "The indoor lap pool and oversized Jacuzzi area have Adirondack features that work toward connecting guests to the gorgeous outdoor environment that surrounds the Inn," says Lawrence. "There are outdoor details throughout the pool area, as well as a wall of French doors offering sweeping views of the lake and Adirondack Mountains."

According to Diana Lagana, spa director at The Spa at Whiteface Lodge, which is a Leading Spa of the World, the lodge itself embraces the rustic and elegant aesthetic of the famous camps of the Adirondacks, as does the 5,800-square-foot, seven-treatment-room spa. "The spa blends the rustic beauty of its setting with a classic Zen ambience," says Lagana. "The goal was to capture and reflect this architecture and mood." The treatment rooms are all named after a mountain or important geographical landmark in the Adirondack region, boasting such names as Saddleback, Lookout, and Owls Head. The spa also features a rustic central lounge, complete with Adirondack-style seating, timbered ledges, and an antler chandelier, where guests can sip on refreshments from the tea bar before and after services.

Each spa offers treatments designed to ease the ails of the active spa-goer. Unsurprisingly, massage is the guest favorite at both spas. Deep Tissue Massage ($125, 50 minutes; $170, 80 minutes) and the Mirror Lake Classic ($110, 50 minutes; $155, 80 minutes) Swedish massage are the top picks at Mirror Lake Inn. Another popular option is The Signature Water Massage ($120, 50 minutes; $165, 80 minutes), which begins with relaxation time on the spa's dry float European Soft Pack System and is followed by a massage that is tailor-made to address clients' specific problem areas. A variety of massages are also available at The Whiteface Lodge. The Whiteface Aroma-Sensory Massage ($180, 80 minutes), using Red Flower products, is one of the signature—and most popular—choices. During the service, depending on their needs and preferences, guests can choose from a variety of exotic oils to be used, each of which helps ease a specific ailment. Maple syrup, a popular local treat, is also incorporated into both spa menus. Mirror Lake Inn guests enjoy the Adirondack Sugar Maple Scrub ($125, 50 minutes) using local maple sugar. The Whiteface Lodge, meanwhile, offers several maple-themed services, all of which use B. Kamins Chemist products infused with the hydrating Bio-Maple compound. Among the highlights are the Great Outdoors Maple Facial ($120, 50 minutes), Maple and Juniper Eye Therapy ($40, 25 minutes), and the Maple Butter Body Wrap ($145, 50 minutes).

Lawrence and Lagana agree that marketing their spas, both to local and out-of-town guests, is integral to their success. Lawrence says approximately 25 percent of the spa's clientele includes local guests, 25 percent is made up of tourists staying at other hotels, and the rest are hotel guests. As such, she offers a variety of enticing packages and promotions. Lake Placid residents can participate in the Spa Club, which includes spa credits and special pricing on products and services to locals. Spa cards are given to hotel guests upon check-in that highlight featured specials, and spa packages and other promotions are featured in monthly emails, advertisements, and press releases. This winter, Mirror Lake Inn is featuring the "Three for Two" spa package (starting at $820 per couple). When guests stay two nights and schedule one 50-minute spa service per person each day, they receive the third night and spa services for free.

At Whiteface Lodge, daily specials are offered to resort guests who make up 65 percent of the spa's clientele, while residence owners, who comprise 10 percent of the clientele, receive a discount on treatments. Spa coordinators contact each of these clients upon arrival to alert them to special offers and to encourage them to schedule a spa appointment during their stay. As for the 25 percent of spa-goers who are drawn from the local market, a discount is offered, and a series of spa offers are promoted via email. The spa team volunteers in the community, as well, which helps spread the word about the spa. Area clients can also take advantage of a $79 Spa Day-cation treatment featuring a selection of 50-minutes services.

Retail is also an important component to the success of both spas. All products used in the services at Mirror Lake Inn are available in the spa store, as is a collection of yoga wear, bathing suits, candles, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and other sundries. "The Mirror Lake Inn enjoys a certain landmark status in Lake Placid, so our logo items are very popular," says Lawrence. "Items featuring the Inn's logo include jackets, sweaters, bathrobes, and a bath line. The store has been filled by paying attention and responding to what people are asking for." The products used in the treatment room are also available for retail at the Whiteface Lodge, as is Edison Jewelry, a crystal jewelry line created by one of the massage therapists who mines the crystals and uses recycled copper to create the one-of-a-kind pieces.

Both spa directors credit much of their spas' successes to their talented teams. The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn employs 30 staff members, all of whom are licensed in New York and many of whom have been with the spa since its inception in 1999. To maintain the service standards, all employees undergo continuing education, out-of-house and in-house training, and attend related seminars. At The Spa at Whiteface Lodge, the staff is composed of 19 full-time and 15 part-time employees. There, all of the team members are licensed in either massage or esthetics. One esthetician is qualified to do permanent makeup, and one of the cosmetologists is qualified to do hair replacement and extensions.

Looking toward the future, Lagana says she plans to take advantage of the popularity of the Olympic Training Center and expand the spa's fitness and nutrition programs with boot camps and more healthy eating options (spa cuisine is currently available in the resort's restaurants). "The resort is such a spectacular place, and we already have the amenities in place for a savvy and smart nutritional program," she says.

Lawrence, meanwhile, says she and her team are committed to being the best at what they do. Moving forward, "we plan to make a difference in people's lives and make sure our customers always know how much they are appreciated and valued," she says. "As the first spa in the area, and now the longest running, we have cultivated a loyal local clientele as well as a loyal hotel guest following. Relationships are created, and people are remembered."

Suggested Articles

Love animals? Then Sunrise Springs Resort is perfect for you.

Enjoy treatments designed to take in the sights, smells, and sounds of Italy while overlooking the Tuscan Hills.

Join global industry leaders this fall in Chicago for seminars, discussions, and workshops.