All About the Extras
From free Friday night pajama story times in Lobby Loft to complimentary board and card games to regular clown appearances, there are a number of fun activities offered at the resort. Check the hotel's calendar for details on what's available each day, from handy crafts in the lobby to S'mores around the campfire. Some are offered for free while others require a small payment. At holiday times, special activities like laser tag and bounce houses add kid appeal, while unique offerings like children's theater productions and junior lifeguard classes provide enrichment and boost occupancy. Staff is especially friendly and helpful, and depending on your family travel style, the welcoming atmosphere can easily elevate a guest experience from fun-filled to fantastic.
The Lodge issues wristbands to all guests, which gets you access to the water park and fitness center and even buzzes you into your rooms, which means you don't have to worry about losing a room key in the wave pool. You can also put money onto the wristband's RFID device, allowing it to be used for room purchases -- a boon if you want to give your teens a little freedom without giving them carte blanche to charge to your room. To charge, make sure your entire party is present at check-in time.
In Evergreen Gift Shop, guests can purchase their own "Brandy the Two-Tone Cinnamon Bear" footstool to take home, and themed gift baskets -- from "Movie Night" to "Fireside Treat" -- can be ordered in advance for in-room delivery. DVD rentals are available at the front desk and a coin-op laundry room is located on the first floor.
If you're looking to get a little more fit before you slip into your suit for a run down the slide, the hotel does offer a fitness center featuring a range of Precor equipment and is open 24-7 with a flick of the RFID wristband you receive at check-in. Kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Feng Shui design and a range of kid-friendly treatment options to soothe and revive at this European-style spa, which is located on the first floor and open to the public. Choices include preteen manicures and pedicures, as well as special "Mommy and Me" and "Daddy and Me" packages.
Planning and Tips
Conserve cash by bringing along snacks and a supply of water -- the latter is a necessity when visiting the indoor water park. Since all accommodations contain cooking facilities, it's easy to save money by preparing a few meals in your room. Limited groceries are available at Evergreen Gift Shop. For a wider selection, stop at P & C Foods or Tops Market in Cortland.
The Art of Smart Timing
Ski season is prime time at this four-season resort, with winter school breaks and weekends among the most popular times to visit. The water park is busiest from 5 p.m. to closing in the winter, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in summer. Be sure to note the water park schedule before planning a visit -- the facility is open later on Fridays and Saturdays, but closes early on Sundays. Other times you can find lots of company at the lodge, as well as during holidays when the resort expands its array of family-friendly activities.
Weatherwise, the summer and early fall are best, with temperatures often reaching into the 80s. To beat the crowds, consider a mid-week visit in late spring or fall. Try to avoid spring breaks and other days when the kids are out of school, as the resort (and the water park) can be bedlam. You might particularly enjoy the water park in winter when it will put a nice tropical vacation twist on your skiing vacation.
A popular drive-to destination from a number of metropolitan areas, the resort is around 200 miles from New York City and Philadelphia, 270 miles from Baltimore and Toronto and 310 miles from Washington, DC. If you're flying, Syracuse International Airport, about one-hour away, is the largest in the area, though Ithaca, only 18-miles away, has a small airport that may be an option. Parking and valet service are complimentary and free shuttles to Greek Peak are provided, but most likely you'll want a car to get you there.
For Mom and Dad
The Hope Lake Lodge's spa, Waterfalls, offers a slate of the typical massages and facials. Consider booking a suite for a few hours of pampering for you and your mate or take a soak in the indoor/outdoor hot tub with a frozen drink.
On property, the hotel's bar, Bobcat Lounge, provides the most "grown-up" dining potential, with a menu of cocktails and drinks, although it's located in the lobby where many kids' programs are also held. If you're looking for romantic dining, you'll likely need to head off of the hotel grounds. You might consider booking a wine tour to savor some of the local wineries' wares while your kids enjoy the activity center.