Leaders in luxury

We’re no great judge of the high life – our tastes run pretty simple – but we do know New York is a big state with some pretty fancy vacation spots: Manhattan, Saratoga Springs and the Hamptons, for instance. So we were excited to learn this week that Adirondack resort hotels – especially three of them in Lake Placid – scored very high when upscale travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler asked its readers to name their favorites this year.

We thank the Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid Lodge and Whiteface Lodge of Lake Placid, and the Sagamore Resort on Lake George in Bolton Landing for working hard to make the Adirondacks proud among top-tier vacationers.

“Luxury creates discriminating critics,” the magazine said in introducing this year’s awards.

The Mirror Lake Inn’s score of 93.8 was the highest of any resort or other hotel in the state, including New York City. The Lake Placid Lodge’s 93.3 was the fourth highest, and the Whiteface Lodge’s 88.4 was 19th. The Sagamore edged into the top 25 at 86.8.

Outside of New York City, the only other New York resort or hotel on the list was the Mohonk Mountain House of New Paltz, in the Catskills, which scored 91.3.

We understand that lists like these are somewhat suspect. Magazines these days often use lists to replace space they once filled with articles. That’s partly to pander to people’s shortened attention spans, partly to grab the attention of non-readers and partly because making a list is cheaper than paying someone to actually go somewhere and write about it. On a less cynical note, lists are also practical and put a place in perspective – “news you can use,” to borrow a catchphrase.

Some magazine lists are worth more than others. With some, it looks like someone just scoured the Internet and picked what looked nice. A readers’ choice list, however, is more credible since it pools many people’s actual experience. Conde Nast Traveler says 80,000 people, more than ever before, voted for its Readers’ Choice Awards this year. Sure, not all 80,000 voted on the New York ones, but it’s a safe bet that a pretty solid number did. So this list seems pretty meaningful.

Lake Placid, with three of its lodging establishments named here, stands at the top of Northeast getaways. That draws people who read magazines like Conde Nast Traveler, but it also influences others in the travel industry, ultimately drawing vacationers of all income levels.

Few local residents will ever get to stay at a hotel that charges as much as these do, but nevertheless, luxury lodgings can really help a local economy. They’re not the only draw, but they help. Lake Placid has been mobbed with visitors lately, as was evident on Columbus Day weekend.

Hotelier Chris LaBarge hopes to build a high-end resort hotel of this caliber in Saranac Lake, which makes sense to us, given the scenic setting on Lake Flower and the amount of potential spillover from Lake Placid. Meanwhile, there’s a need for less expensive accommodations, too, which is one of many reasons we cheer the proposed renovation of the historic Hotel Saranac.

Let’s constantly build on the Adirondack region’s reputation as a leader in hospitality, from the decadent to the down-home.