Travel To Wellness

The Lake House on Canandaigua: An Upscale Retreat in Upstate New York

by Lynn Burshtein

There are few outdoor settings as beautiful as the multi-hued fall foliage that engulfs the northeastern region of the US and Canada in late September and October. During these precious few weeks, visitors fortunate to spend time in the area will feel like they won the landscape lottery. But my love for this time of year was taken up several notches recently when I visited the luxurious Lake House on Canandaigua situated on Finger Lakes, upstate New York (about 40 minutes outside of Rochester). Within moments of my arrival, I felt like I had been transported to a vacation home straight out of the pages of Town and Country magazine.  Eight wellness things to do in New York City

The Lake House on Canandaigua New York
Photo courtesy of The Lake House on Canandaigua

To be sure, creating an environment where guests can sleep, dine and bask in a glorious setting while feeling like they don’t have a care in the world, doesn’t happen without painstaking attention to detail behind the scenes. The Lake House on Canandaigua is a family-owned and designed property whose members are up to the task. The property was a beleaguered motor hotel until it was purchased a few years ago by brothers Robert and Richard Sands (their father, Marvin, founded the Fortune 500 spirits company, Constellation Brands and the family has a longstanding reputation as benefactors of Canandaigua County and the Greater Rochester Area). These investors took on a massive renovation of the property to create an upscale retreat that is an absolute love letter to the region. 

There are 124 suites spread across two buildings, and three quarters of them boast a breathtaking view of the lake, not to mention the swanky outdoor swimming pool and event barn. The rooms are adorned with nautical touches here and there, along with modern amenities such an updated walk-in shower and flat screen TV. My favorite accessory, though, was the set of binoculars perched on the Adirondack chair set on my balcony, also facing the lake. 

Restaurants at The Lake House on Canandaigua

There are two restaurants on-site which offer distinct dining experiences. The Rose Tavern is a rustic yet upscale dining room featuring New American cuisine – I really liked the Beet Salad with braised beets, plums, parmesan crisps and microgreens and a vegetarian version of the Po Valley Risotto – made with cannellini beans, baby kale and watercress. Breakfast at Rose Tavern also had a delicious Mexican fusion avocado toast. The more casual Sand Bar is a seafood lovers delight with a Maine lobster roll or Land Shore fish fry with fries and slaw. The kitchen’s signature Brussels Sprouts and Smores kits to use over the fire pits are also not to be missed. Inventive cocktails and a comprehensive local wine list are also available. 

In terms of recreational activities, there is a wide range of seasonal excursions. Our group took the fall foliage boat tour where we learned about the history of the region; we also took a tour of local wineries. Lake House GM Chris Pulito told us that the property offers memorable experiences year-round: winters provide access to Bristol Mountain, one of the region’s biggest ski hills (which has spawned several Olympic hopefuls), while the summers allow for outdoor water activities, hikes and local outdoor music festivals.

Last but, of course, not least, wellness-minded folks must make a visit to the property’s Willowbrook Spa – the newly-opened building has already received notable media attention. I was treated there to a restorative facial using the premium Swiss skincare line, Luzern, and was de-stressed and detoxified by the spa’s signature barrel sauna treatment. This hour-long session involved sitting in an outdoor wine barrel-sized sauna alternating with cold showers outdoors for the best purification ritual. There is also daily yoga, meditation classes and other fitness classes; and the spa’s director, Victoria Lindsey, told us that there are many additions to the spa in the works.

The Finger Lakes region has sometimes been called New York’s best-kept secret, but after having experienced all that is on offer at the Lake House at Canandaigua, this surely will not be the case for long. 

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A long-time contributor to Travel to Wellness, Lynn was a guest of the Lake House at Canandaigua in October 2022.

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