Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Harrison Resort Fan

Our room was in the tower on your left. In the 6x3 grid of windows facing the lake, we were three up from the bottom, middle window.

We are back from our brief sojourn in Harrison, and I’ll tell you right off: it was too brief. We could happily have stayed another day or two. I have learned from this that reading online reviews is in fact not a fair or dependable way to judge a place.

Our room was beautiful. The staff were warm, friendly and efficient. The food was great. The hot mineral pools were bliss. The beach was clean and not at all crowded (although I wouldn’t care to be there this weekend). We did not leave the hotel grounds the entire time; there was no need to.

I had not been to Harrison in decades and I had forgotten what a splendid spot it is. We were lucky enough to have a lake-facing room on the fifth floor, so our view was beautiful. We spent hours just relaxing on our balcony, watching the quiet lake, the forested hills, the snow-capped mountains. It was idyllic.

The lake was remarkably quiet because although the resort rents sea-doos, the riders thereof are required to go some distance out past a certain marked point in the lake before revving them up. Closer in were only pedal-boats and silent, electric-powered bumper boats (very popular!).

Now, I would recommend that if you’re going there, to book a room (as we did, just by luck) in the East Tower. It is the newest, and farthest from the pools, and so keeps you well away from the noise therein. Some rooms in the main building and West Tower are directly overlooking the pools; in fact some ground-floor rooms are mere feet from them and their patio chairs easily mistaken for public pool furniture. You would not want one of those rooms -- well, I wouldn’t! If you like the idea of being able to just step out your door into the pool area, then of course such rooms would be ideal.

One of the complaints I read online was that children freely used the pool designated as Quiet Adult Only and no one policed this. We only saw a child in this pool once: a (quiet!) toddler in its mother’s arms, for about five minutes. It is indeed a lovely peaceful oasis, isolated from the other pools by a wooden walkway and surrounding trees. It is about four feet deep with a cement bench all around that you can sit on so the water would come up to your shoulders, and just soak.

The East Tower is also the building where the breakfast buffet restaurant resides, so that’s handy.

As part of our package deal at the resort, we got a dinner at their Copper Room restaurant. The d├ęcor and ambiance of this venue is little changed from its inception some 80 years ago. You could just picture flappers and their beaux come out from Town on the train to “take the waters” and dine and dance. The little round tables boasted fine linens, silver and china. The waiters were tuxedoed. A live jazz combo played what they called cocktail music and many people made use of the large dance floor: older people who actually know how to dance; younger couples shuffling from one foot to another; merry children. The food was imaginative, beautifully-presented and delicious, and this from RH and I, who are not easily impressed in this regard. We went back the second night, and the maitre d’ remembered our name.

So there is my review of the Harrison Resort. As long as you are not hurting for money, I highly recommend it. (Our room lists at $250 a night and the Copper Room is extremely expensive.) And don’t take on-line reviews as gospel! (Except mine, of course.)

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