Upon entering the Grand Cascades Lodge for the first time, as you can see in our video, we were completely overwhelmed with how beautiful and luxurious the Adirondack-inspired facilities were. With three young children, we were a tad intimidated, initially thinking this place must be too nice for our crazy kids, and we would spend the entire stay fretting over their noise and behavior. Thankfully it wasn't the case, and we were happily surprised to see the number of families with young children there! We quickly relaxed with the understanding that guests there for a quiet spa retreat, business meetings, or other kid-free indulgences would find themselves at one of the many places for adults only - such as Latour restaurant (kids must be 12 years or older), the pool hot tub areas, spa, bars, etc. While I would say this isn't a hotel made FOR kids, it is most certainly family-friendly, so don't let their AAA 4-diamond award and grandness of the resort scare you away! They have some family activities here and there, including a nightly fire pit marshmallow roasting, Saturday daytime shows, animal educators, pony rides, summer movies on the lawn, free putting course and evening glow golf, life-size chess, mountaintop adventure experience (approximately $50 per adult, $30 per child; with paddle boarding, archery, fishing, hiking, and a lake with white sand beach), KidSole (learn to fly trapeze & circus ninja warrier training), to name a few!!
Our room was absolutely fabulous, with a full kitchen, grandfather clock, huge balcony, Jacuzzi tub and full shower, indoor and outdoor dining, flat panel TVs, indoor and outdoor gas fireplaces, washer & dryer, it felt more like a beautifully furnished rental home than a hotel room! In fact, both Grand Cascades Lodge and Minerals Hotel are what they call "condo hotel", meaning you can buy a unit (which are shockingly affordable, especially compared to prices here in NYC) and the management company will rent it out on your behalf when you aren't there, leaving you with a full-service luxury vacation home that potentially pays for itself. I'm currently obsessed with this idea and figuring out how to make it happen for my own family!
The pools at Grand Cascades Lodge (GCL from here on out) and Minerals Hotel (MH) are everything you could ask for and more! Each place has a large amazing indoor pool, so you'll have a splashing good time no matter what time of year. They also have outdoor pools, some were heated to wonderfully warm bath temp and others were cool but not uncomfortably so. GCL's 10,000 square foot indoor Tropical Biosphere was of course, the most impressive, with its massive palm trees, it will certainly be a standout on your Instagram feed! The ambience is magical, you feel you've been transported to the jungle, not northwestern New Jersey! It also features a 140' waterslide (min 48" to ride), grotto-like jacuzzi (age 16+), underground aquarium, and cave-themed sauna & steam room. I didn't realize at the time, but keep in mind the retractable roof is made of "advanced German Foiltec roofing material, allowing nearly 100% light transmission for year-round tanning"... so don't forget the sunblock!
The other pool out that way was my son's favorite, with a water slide and a really unique "rotational current vortex pool" (we dubbed it the washing machine), where the jets cycle swimmers around and around. I've never seen anything like it and it was really fun!! Even our 3 year olds in their puddle jumper floaties were loving it. They have life guards all around, but stay close to little ones or children who aren't strong swimmers because those jets are strong and our toddlers ended up getting dunked quickly a couple of times.
There were 9 dining options to choose from, so whether you wanted a pool-side burger and Frosé, a gourmet pizza and bottle of wine, or an adult-only award-winning fine dining experience, you'll find it all right on the premises! You can find menus (and kids' menus), hours, and locations all on the website, making it easy to plan ahead or research quickly just before each meal. Reservations are recommended at most, but we didn't bother and had no issue (but keep in mind we were there mid-week). We arrived super hungry at around noon on Tuesday and our room wasn't ready for us until 4pm, so we had a quick casual lunch at the Biosphere Cafe, the only thing we could find open. The food was good, a smoked salmon sandwich ($15) for myself, the Gardener sandwich for my husband ($13), and a chicken finger basket ($14) for the kids, however it was uncomfortably warm and humid in there, it's like a greenhouse basically, which is great for swimmers but not so much for hot and sweaty fully-clothed travelers trying to down some food! Still, it got the job done and we were off to the pools!
Head to their website to book your next getaway!! Room rates start from $199/night in Minerals Hotel and $299/night in Grand Cascades Lodge (more for the suites, of course), with special packages and deals popping up from time to time!