Are you rich? Do you have kids? Are you a bit pretentious? If you answered yes to all three questions, then this place is perfect for you.
First of all, with rooms starting at over $300 a night, this is not a place for people on a budget. This is a place where the men spend most of the day playing golf, the women are at the spa, and the kids are enjoying the different pools with the nanny. The golf courses are very well kept and are very lovely. The scenic vistas are gorgeous. The pools are plentiful and lots of fun.
My wife and I went for a getaway weekend and booked at the Grand Cascades Lodge. Neither of us golf, but we wanted somewhere close to NYC where we could unwind. This fit the bill nicely, and we had a very nice, relaxing three days at Crystal Springs.
However, there were some gripes. The beds have memory foam mattresses which we couldn't stand. We slept OK, but found it difficult to move around in bed. The food was mediocre at best (Crystal Tavern, Spring Bistro), bland and tasteless at worst (Kites). We passed on Restaurant Latour (I'm sure the food is delicious at over $100 per person). We just don't fall into the crowd that doesn't worry about money.
The friendliest, most "down to earth" people at the hotel were actually the workers. The other visitors we found a bit pretentious, or unsociable. You see, we're middle-class working folk. And striking up a friendly conversation with a total stranger while sitting around a fire pit is looked upon as a bit odd to the upper-class, I guess. Oh well, they're loss.
All-in-all, though, we had a pretty good time. We learned to keep mostly to ourselves and enjoyed the pools, the nature walks, the spas, some of the food, the views, and aside from the bed, the room was really first-class with a working fireplace and view of the mountains. On a first impression you would want to give Crystal Springs five stars. When you factor in the high price (for us), mediocre food, the lousy bed, and the unsociable clientele, you end up with three-and-a-half, maybe 3.6. So we round up to four stars.
Would I recommend it? Sure. But, again, it's not for everyone.
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