What’s the Point?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the Great Depression, William Avery Rockefeller II commissioned a vacation compound, Camp Wonundra, three log-clad buildings on a rocky 75-acre peninsula jutting into Upper Saranac Lake, designed for refined upper-class relaxation. In 1986, it became The Point, an uber-luxury retreat of 11 rooms. Sold in 2007, it fell victim to the Great Recession, but last year, longtime patrons bought it out of foreclosure, and after a subtle refresh, reopened it this summer.

Remote control

Getting away is the point, and the five-and-half-hour drive from the city lets you unwind before reaching the log gate and gatehouse, home to the resort’s office and the only internet point on the property, which requests that you disconnect digitally and imagine you’re a house party guest. The 2:1 staff-to-guest ratio makes it easy.

Indulgent doesn’t mean lazy, necessarily

In keeping with the posh house party conceit, Wednesday and Saturday dinners are formal. The food is so copious and sophisticated (think foie gras with cherries, black truffle risotto, roast wild boar with hen of the wood mushrooms), you’ll need to work it off. Choose from lake swims, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, hiking, croquet, horseshoes, fishing, tennis, badminton and boating in canoes, kayaks, a speedboat and several Budsin mahogany electric boats in summer, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.

But lazy works, too. 

Join your fellow guests on The Point’s glass enclosed electric Elco launch for a cocktail cruise. Or ask boathouse majordomo Dion Neese, who delivered mail by boat to the lake’s camps for 25 years, for a tour on a replica of a 1933 mahogany Hacker-Craft. You’ll see camps built for (and in some cases still owned by descendants of) politician Levi Morton, comic actor Oliver Hardy, and the Lewisohn, Seligman, and Colgate families.

Your money is no good here

Abandon your wallet along with your mobile. Rooms are $1,600 to $3,500 a night, but everything is included, including cocktails, gourmet meals (by executive chef Chef Loic Leperlier, who started at Lucas Carton in Paris), drinks and fine wines, activities, and even tips. Pets are welcome. But if you want your kids along, you’ll have to rent the whole property at $25,650 a night.

Privacy matters

Guests use first names only, but in vino, there is veritas, so over dinner we learned our house party included real estate and energy investors, a media COO and a philanthropic matchmaker. And we couldn’t help but notice the Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Maserati in the parking lot. One guest had flown in but had his million-dollar Pugani Huayra roadster shipped north for his stay. But ultimately nature trumped social voyeurism. And that’s the point. 


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