Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains' natural beauty, on a lake that’s been used as the setting for more than one movie, theLodge on Lake Lure offers a quiet, romantic mountain retreat. The upscale inn has 17 cozy rooms, most offering unobstructed lake views, often best taken in from private rocking chairs on a shaded terrace. The restaurant serves an extensive free, Southern-inspired breakfast daily, as well as a prix fixe dinner (for a fee) four nights a week.
The 250-year-old Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa offers an idyllic setting on Lake Windermere with green lawns, private moorings, and scenic views from a terrace bar and restaurant. The hotel also has a spa with a nail salon, a cafe, treatment rooms, aheated pool, and gym. The 106 rooms have classic decor and flat-screen TVs; many feature superb lake views. Guests have complained that cocktails at the bar are pricey and that staff can be inconsistent.
The four-pearl Grand Geneva Resort is the jewel in the crown of Lake Geneva's resorts. It was originally built in 1968 as a Playboy Resort. After a period of decline in the 1980's, the property was restored and polished back to its original luster. The resort has expansive grounds, 355 guest rooms, and provides fancy amenities like riding stables, a separate spa building, water park, full-size indoor basketball and tennis courts, and a climbing-wall.
The 108-unit upscale Wildness on the Lakeis the quietest, most removed property of the Wilderness Resort, a complex of three hotels, with multiple indoor and outdoor water parks, mini-golf, laser tag, zip lines, go-carts, arcades, and much more to keep families with children very busy. Set across Lake Delton from the main resort, Wilderness on the Lake is slightly more subdued than its sister properties, but still has its own indoor/outdoor water park, infinity pool, and private beach.
The Lakedale Resort is not your grandfather's campground. In addition to a lakefront location with picnic spots, this 82-acre property offers everything from an airstream trailer to canvas cabins. The lodge rooms definitely have the most conveniences -- bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries, TVs (albeit tube-style ones), and patios -- but they are also the least outdoorsy. The Canvas Cabins are no-frills -- but in a good way -- sporting charming rustic decor and comfy beds.
Everything about the upper-range Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is elegant. Situated in Lake District National Park, this family owned-and-operated property is built into two luxury country houses. Guest rooms are spacious with huge picture windows and exceptionally tasteful decor.
The 262-room, lower-middle-range Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe offers a reasonably priced lakeside location with a beach. The property includes a 1,000-foot pier, water-sports rentals, a beach bar, an on-site tavern, lakeside restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and a small gym.
With an excellent location on Lake Maggiore, the 179-room Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees is an Art Nouveau, luxury property with spectacular lake views. Decor is ornate throughout the lobby and rooms, and the hotel grounds are gorgeous. The hotel has an outdoor pool with grassy sunbathing areas, a spa with an indoor pool, and a fitness center. The rooms are traditionally elegant, with patterned carpets, bedspreads, and drapes.
The historic, family-owned Mirror Lake Inn, with beautiful views of its namesake, has been around for nearly 90 years. This charming property is bigger than meets the eye, and the 131 carpeted, cozy rooms have lodge-y decor in varying degrees of elegance, and are located in several distinct sections of the resort. Suites might come with gas fireplaces, jetted tubs, and/or private balconies.
Located on Tal-y-llyn Lake’s northern shore, this tiny bed-and-breakfast offers a good base to explore scenic Snowdonia National Park. There is nothing in the way of amenities aside from a tiny but renowned restaurantserving a seasonal dinner menu made with locally sourced produce, and an outdoor hot tub -- but guests (most of whom visit several times a year) love it for its stunning views, secluded location, and personalized service.
Deep in the Poconos, The Lodge at Woodloch is an upscale adult-only retreat whose spa aesthetic feels miles away from the area's infamous gaudy honeymoon suites and heart-shaped hot tubs. It has all the usual perks of an all-inclusive resort in the region, with acres of woodland, a private lake, and an adjacent golf club, but the restaurant here is a grown up farm-to-table affair with some of its produce sourced from its own garden.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is a 95-room, crème de la crème hotel situated on the banks of Lake Como, featuring five-star amenities, ornate decor, and panoramic vistas of the water and mountains. From the grand, three-story exterior with lakeside pool and dock to the neoclassical interior with its raved-about restaurants and spa, this hotel is a showstopper. Roomshave ornate detail and antique style, though some fabrics look a bit dated.