The BIN 189 restaurant at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa features rustic and seasonal dishes. // © 2015 Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa
Feature image (above): Natural rock fireplaces and warm, rugged pieces adorn the lobby. // © 2015 Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa
Located just 90 minutes from Los Angeles, Lake Arrowhead has long been a nature lover’s escape, offering a much-needed respite for weary city dwellers with its crisp mountain air and idyllic pine vistas. The privately owned lake is the centerpiece of the city and on its shores is the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, a recently renovated property that is part of Marriott International’s prestigious Autograph Collection.
In addition to its 173 guestrooms and suites, the resort has a full-service spa, a highly acclaimed restaurant, plenty of private function spaces, a heated pool and even its own private beach. My boyfriend and I found it to be a great place to celebrate our anniversary with a relaxing massage, a gourmet meal and even a bit of adventure.
First on our romantic agenda was a visit to the on-site Spa of the Pines. We booked a Swedish massage and arrived more than an hour early to enjoy the steam room, the sauna and the whirlpool. Sitting back by the fireplace in the relaxation area put me in the right mood for my massage. The therapist worked through all my stubborn knots before sending me off to join my boyfriend for a celebratory glass of champagne on the spa’s lakefront patio. Feeling utterly blissed out, we were ready for a decadent dinner.
Bin189 is Lake Arrowhead’s Resort and Spa’s highly-acclaimed restaurant. Guests will marvel at the floor-to-ceiling glass-walled wine racks in the Magnum private dining room at the front entry of the restaurant. Once inside, guests will find a cozy atmosphere with live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A local favorite is Steve Lawless, a longtime entertainer who creates an old-fashioned piano bar vibe for locals and guests staying on Friday nights.
While enjoying the music, guests can imbibe specialty cocktails, local wines and draft craft beers. However, they should leave plenty of room for the spectacular entrees, especially the filet mignon with forest mushrooms and a cabernet reduction.
The resort also set the right ambiance for our getaway.
“There is no cutesy cabin kitsch here, just modern tones and rugged sophisticated elegance,” said Gregory Roper, director of sales and marketing for the property.
Everything from the towering natural rock fireplaces in the lobby to the openness of the main meeting space underlined Roper’s statement.
Though we were on a romantic vacation, the resort is family-friendly and allows dogs.
Outdoor Activities in Lake Arrowhead
No matter your fitness level or activity preference, there are multiple ways to enjoy the natural surroundings of Lake Arrowhead while staying at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa.
In the summer and early fall, the resort offers mellow Fireside Chats at sunset on its private beach. There, guests can take in the sunset while roasting marshmallows over a roaring fire. Representatives from the San Bernardino National Forest Association tell stories about the area’s history, and furry friends are also welcome to play fetch along the sand or dip their paws into the gentle waves.
The resort also provide 90-minute guided walking tours along the private shores of Lake Arrowhead, or guests can book a ride on the resort’s private boat. Another alternative is the Arrowhead Queen, a paddleboat tour company that operates out of the downtown area, a short walk from the hotel. For thrill-seekers, McKenzie Water Ski School promises success in getting anyone up on the water.
Lake Arrowhead is set in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, and it would be a shame if guests did not explore the surrounding national forests. The property has teamed up with Enjoy The Mountain, and shuttle service from the property to the company’s activity site is available. Whether guests are looking to hike, fish or go off-roading on a mountain bike, all-terrain vehicle, quad bike or Jeep, Enjoy The Mountain gives guided tours and permits on-your-own riding experiences. In the winter months, the company offers sleds and snowmobile adventures.
My boyfriend and I enjoyed our solo, one-hour ride on an ATV. Enjoy The Mountain provided us with gloves, goggles, helmets and all the other gear we needed, as well as a map of the trails. With that, we were off and left to our own devices. It felt so freeing to be able to go at our own pace and pick our own route, stopping to take a picture here and there without having to worry about slowing down other riders (had we opted for a guided tour).
The trails were challenging — let’s just say this could have turned into a trust exercise for a very squeamish journalist and her much more experienced beau — but in the end, it was a truly memorable way to see the mountain trails together.
And to think, I had always thought of Lake Arrowhead as being a sleepy little lake town.