Discerning guests from throughout the east come to Crystal Springs Resort in northwest New Jersey for a variety of reasons. The scrumptious food is worth the trip itself. Then again, people flock to the resort for the endless array of activities that are available. Finally, travelers seeking a little R&R appreciate the leisurely pace that can be found at the resort.
The elegant 220-room Grand Cascades Lodge welcomes guests with high vaulted ceilings and striking wooden beams. Fireplaces are abundant throughout the lodge, including on the balcony of selected suites that overlook the pristine valley below. If so inclined, you can spend hours sipping wine by a cozy fire without a care in the world.
However, adventure is calling and guests can choose from a wide variety of resort activities, including golf, skeet shooting, archery, fishing, animal educators, and local farm tours. For some kids from urban areas, this is the first time they’ve gotten up close and personal with a farm animal.
Area attractions include Mountain Creek for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing and the excitement-filled Action Park in the summer. Also nearby are horseback riding, hiking, fishing, state parks, farmers’ markets, apple and pumpkin picking, mineral mines, wineries, antiquing, craft villages and boutiques.
The Grand Cascades Lodge feature a Biosphere, an indoor pool complex with an aquarium, vortex pools and caves, and lush tropical foliage, a year-round outdoor heated pool, a 140-foot waterslide, a Biosphere café serving light fare and creative cocktails and a unique glass enclosure that allows for year-round tanning.
Crystal Springs Resort is also home to Minerals Hotel, a recreation-rich hotel with 175 overnight accommodations including deluxe and luxury guest rooms, as well as presidential suites. Enjoy spectacular mountain, pool, or golf course views as well as fireplaces and newly upgraded décor.
Both serious and beginner golfers come to the resort to experience no less than six courses; Ballyowen, Black Bear, Cascades, Crystal Springs, Minerals and Wild Turkey, along with three driving ranges. The Crystal Springs Golf Academy offers a veteran staff of experienced instructors, a variety of schools, retreats, private sessions and improved performance programs.
Guests can indulge themselves at Elements Spa at Minerals Hotel where the healing powers of the earth have been incorporated into breathtaking design and rejuvenating services. Reflections Spa in the Grand Cascades Lodge is an oasis of well-being that will heal and renew guests with a range of facial and body treatments, including a post-treatment sensorial room for relaxation.
A foodie’s paradise, Crystal Springs Resort serves as one of the great culinary destinations in the east. Overseen by food and beverage director Anthony Bucco, who also holds the title of Executive Chef, the resort’s acclaimed cuisine has garnered praise from food media outlets throughout the country.
Chef Bucco knows his way around both the kitchen and chef’s garden that grows behind the lodge. The garden features a wide variety of produce that is both indigenous to New Jersey, including the state’s famed tomatoes, and food not normally grown locally, such as artichokes. According to Bucco, the garden’s main function – while also providing food for the menu – is to educate guests about the importance of sustainable food and its impact on one’s body.
Restaurant Latour at the Grand Cascades Lodge, a true culinary marvel, is headed by Executive Chef Bucco and Chef Martyna Krowicka. This combination of two extremely skilled chefs, supported by wine director Robby Younes and sommeliere Susanne Wagner, results in an exquisite, unique dining experience for those patrons fortunate enough to secure a reservation.
Utilizing flavors that reflect the tradition of haute cuisine, delectable entrees include Spanish octopus with heirloom carrot and black olive, veal with asparagus and mustard greens, or domestic lamb with garbanzo and fennel. Each bite explodes on your palate with a freshness that makes Restaurant Latour such a special place. Jackets are recommended for men and a reservation is required.
No visit to the resort is complete with a Wine Cellar tour that is conducted each day at 3 p.m. Home to 75,000 bottles, some of which are priced at $25,000 and up, the Wine Cellar’s collection is valued at $15 million and is among the finest collections in the world. Sommeliere Wagner knows every nook and cranny of the wine’s catacombs that lie beneath the Golf Club House.
Protected by a precise temperature and humidity controlled system, Wagner spends hours in the cellar each day to ensure that her precious bottles receive the tender loving care they deserve.
Crystal Springs Resort beckons guests who want to retreat to the countryside for a luxurious vacation, filled with both activities and leisurely options. It’s a true New Jersey oasis waiting to be discovered.