24-Hour Room Service: Lake Placid Lodge, New York

If you have ever yearned to get away from it all to a retreat by a lake in the woods, the Lake Placid Lodge could be the answer to your prayers. But this is no rustic shack by the water's edge; think glamorous log cabin if that's not an oxymoron. The hotel is in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack National Park, a vast wilderness of nearly 10,000 square miles, dotted with 3,000 lakes and ponds. The word Adirondack comes from the Iroquois Indians who referred to their Algonquin neighbours as "Ha-de-ron-dah" ("bark eaters").

If you have ever yearned to get away from it all to a retreat by a lake in the woods, the Lake Placid Lodge could be the answer to your prayers. But this is no rustic shack by the water's edge; think glamorous log cabin if that's not an oxymoron. The hotel is in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack National Park, a vast wilderness of nearly 10,000 square miles, dotted with 3,000 lakes and ponds. The word Adirondack comes from the Iroquois Indians who referred to their Algonquin neighbours as "Ha-de-ron-dah" ("bark eaters").

The lodge was built in 1882 as a private residence by a wealthy German family. It was constructed in a style that the region has become synonymous with the "Adirondack Great Camps".

Around that time, these quaintly named camps were built as retreats from the city by the wealthy families of New York: among them the Vanderbilts, Gettys and Rockefellers. They were anything but basic; lakeside mansions full of antiques and Adirondack-style furniture. In 1946, the camp became a hotel. Purchased in 1994 by its present owners, it has now been returned to its former great camp glory.

Location, location, location

The lodge is two miles outside Lake Placid town. It teeters on the edge of the serenely beautiful lake of the same name and is buried deep in woodland. Whiteface mountain towers in the distance. Whiteface Inn Road, Lake Placid, New York 12946 (001 518 523 2700, www.lakeplacidlodge.com).

Time to international airport: Continental Express operates a daily service from Newark to the Adirondack Regional Airport, 25 minutes away. Montreal is a two-hour drive to the north; New York is five hours south.

Are you lying comfortably?

There are 34 guest rooms; a combination of rooms, suites and lakefront cabins, scattered along the water's edge. All are individually decorated in the rustic Adirondack style. Our cabin, permeated by the aroma of balsam pine, had a huge stone fireplace with a romantic log fire.

Freebies: The minibar is stocked with complimentary juices and mineral water. Home-baked cookies are left on your pillow every night.

Activities: In winter you can ski at the nearby Whiteface Mountain, take a bobsleigh run and snowshoe or cross-country ski along the 25-mile Jack Rabbit Trail. In summer, launch yourself from the private jetty in a kayak and hike.

Keeping in touch: There is only one television on the property. For those who can't help themselves, direct-dial telephones, fax and e-mail are available.

The bottom line

Double rooms cost from $475 (£330), cabins from $640 (£445) per night including breakfast and tax. Drinks and meals are extra, but the hotel is discreet enough not to make you sign for every little thing.

I'm not paying that: The Adirondack Inn by the Lake (001 518 523 2424, www.adirondack-inn.com) has doubles from $75 (£52).

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