Whether you're planning a bachelorette weekend with the girls, a destination wedding, a corporate retreat, a golf getaway with your buddies, or a high-end family vacation, Crystal Springs Resort in northwest New Jersey will not disappoint! We were provided a night's accommodation in exchange for our honest review, and we loved it so much we're now looking into purchasing a unit! HA! Watch our YouTube highlights video here and keep reading for more details on their beautiful rooms, delicious dining options, amazing indoor and outdoor pools, and more!
Located on a spectacularly beautiful 4,000 acre piece of land with a mountainous backdrop, just 47 miles from Manhattan, it's no doubt Crystal Springs Resort has been named New Jersey's #1 four-season resort. Featuring 2 hotels, 2 spas, 9 dining options, 6 golf courses, a sports club, indoor and outdoor pools, horseback riding, an adventure center, and meeting & event venues, as well as ski-slopes nearby! So whether you arrive by car or book a private plane with Jettly, you are sure to have a great time here!!
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!
We were provided a suite and an adjoining room in the Grand Cascades Lodge, where overnight accommodations include complimentary use of the Biosphere Pool Complex as well as facilities at the Minterals Sports Club, just 3 miles away by free shuttle at Minerals Hotel, with 7 indoor/outdoor heated pools, sauna, steam room, indoor running track / tennis / raquetball / basketball, a 6,000 sqft fitness center, and more. Alternatively you can book a (cheaper) room at the Minerals Hotel, but you won't have access to the Biosphere Pool Complex over at Grand Cascades Lodge in that case.
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!
If you take a left out of the Biosphere, less than a 5 minute walk away you'll find two more pools in the Vista 180 Pool Complex. One is very luxurious with infinity pool edges and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. There's a cafe next to it, offering a selection of quick eats and yummy cocktails!
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.
Over at Minerals Hotel Pool Complex, you'll find heated indoor and outdoor pools, a 12 foot cliff jump (don't miss my husband doing this in our video!!), underground aquarium, steam room & sauna, jacuzzis and cold dip, moonshine bar and twisted treat ice cream bar! Unfortunately, neither location had a "kiddy pool" per se, the pools were all 3-4 feet in the shallowest areas, though Minerals does have a large "splash yard" near their outdoor pools.
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!
For dinner, we went to Springs Bistro, cuz the kids had a hankerin' for some pizza and I was intrigued by the authentic Italian cuisine Tuscan-inspired menu. The littles devoured a couple of baskets of complimentary warm bread and rosemary salted butter while hubby and I indulged in some delicious wine ($12/glass), before the main course arrived. We got 2 "personal pizzas" ($13 each) for the kids to share, I had a "pizzetta" topped with prosciutto, fig, red onion, and pecorino romano ($18 and possibly the best pizza I've ever had in my life, opinion only partially influenced by extreme hunger and Riesling-induced buzz), and Ryoji had the tagliatelle ($28, with littleneck clams, pancetta, and crushed tomato - as delicious as it was beautiful). The Bistro is located on the first floor, beyond the lobby and at the exit to the patio, which meant we could take turns bringing the kids outside to get out some energy, leaving the other to enjoy some quiet alone time with their wine! Bonus: they boxed up our leftover pizza which the kids chowed on the next morning while watching TV in the living room, letting us sleep in a bit!
For breakfast, we headed to the Crystal Tavern, a short walk down the corridor to the Clubhouse, where I found a list of SEVEN corporations scheduled to host events at Crystal Springs that day! WHOA! We peaked into a few ballrooms and other spaces, some were decked out for what looked like would be amazing rehearsal dinner or wedding reception venues, others great for business meetings and conferences. The view from Crystal Tavern was beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast there. My son was begging to order Fruit Loops, and was shocked that he loved what I ordered even more! To share, we got pancakes with whipped vanilla butter and berry capote ($12), açaí bowl ($12), and pork belly lardons and aged cheddar omelet with fried potatoes ($12). Breakfast of champions, if you ask me!
We took our last meal (lunch) at Kite's American Grille, located within Minerals Hotel. It is a great spot to grab a casual meal after spending the day at the pool! My husband got their vegan Beyond Burger ($16), I got the short rib grilled cheese ($16), and the kids shared their kid's pizza ($12) and hot dog ($12). As was the case with the other restaurants - service, food, and ambiance were all on point and we had a great final meal to fill our bellies and allow the kids to sleep the entire drive home (which was 2 hours thanks to heavy rain and rush hour traffic).
Amazing easy relaxing luxurious vacation for New Yorkers, am I right!? It's hard to include the "relaxing" part when you have young kids on vacation, but husband and I both agreed this was the most relaxing hotel stay we've had since having kids, and we really can't wait to go back!!
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!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!