LAKE PLACID - On Thursday, June 19, AAA Northway President and CEO James Phelps presented the Weibrecht family and the Mirror Lake Inn staff their 30th consecutive AAA Four Diamond Award.
Only two hotels in New York state, the Mirror Lake Inn and the equally prestigious Hotel Carlyle in New York City, and 10 other hotels throughout AAA's vast network of hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have received that award for 30 years or more. In addition, only 2.5 percent have won the Four Diamond Award for their restaurants. The Mirror Lake is a member of that exclusive list as well.
AAA conducts on-site evaluations on all aspects of a hotel's property, management and service, the most rigorous review of any hospitality rating system. Hotels that receive a Four Diamond Award are considered, "refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes that reflect enhanced quality throughout. Fundamental hallmarks include extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail."
Senior staff of the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid show off their 30th consecutive AAA Four Diamond Awards for the hotel and the restaurant during a celebration Thursday, June 19.
(Photo — Naj Wikoff)
Four Diamond restaurants "provide a distinctive fine-dining experience that includes imaginative presentations, market-fresh ingredients, and upscale ambiance."
The Weibrechts and their staff were justifiably proud as everybody, from the dishwasher to the head chef, the maids to the front desk, the grounds and maintenance staff to the managers and the Weibrechts themselves contributed to the success. A Four Diamond Award reflects that kind of team effort.
"I am just really proud that we can say we have done it 30 consecutive years without missing a beat," said Carl Gronlund, general manager who has worked at the Inn for 25 years. "I am proud of the staff that's here currently but also all the people who have been here in the past as many people have contributed to it over the years. It is just an excellent accomplishment for all of them. You can't run a hotel like this without a good team and a lot of satisfied customers."
"I am really proud of my staff and what they have been able to accomplish," said Ed Weibrecht. "They believed and they worked hard to make this happen. It's a great tribute to them; it's a great tribute to Lisa and me, to the property, and to your grandmother Climena for that matter and your Uncle Dean. We have people who have easily have been working here for thirty years, some longer."
"Thirty years is a long time. I am pretty proud of it," said Lisa Weibrecht. "It's like what Ed was saying. It's the people. It's all about the people who work here. We've invested a lot into the property, but if we didn't have wonderful people none of it would mean anything. We have a great management team, managers have great supervisors, and then everybody who works beneath them are just ... we pride ourselves on the people that work for us."
"Back when I was a teenager, I did some weed whacking at the Mirror Lake Inn. No, we didn't have weed whackers. We trimmed the grass with clippers, and we had lawnmowers we would lower down the hillsides by rope," said Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall. "There is a lot of history associated with the Inn. The Inn has continued to grow and improve, even though it has had to overcome some disasters along the way, which Ed has turned into successes. Ed dug in and today we are looking at a Four Diamond resort. That's a good thing. The Mirror Lake Inn is hugely important to Lake Placid as is it receiving this prestigious award for now 30 years. Lake Placid is a destination resort. We have to have amenities that our visitors will enjoy when they are here and tell everybody else about when they go home. Jim McKenna will tell you that we have to continually increase the quality of our amenities to keep the traveling public interested in what we have here."
"The Inn receiving this award is a testament to the environment that I grew up in that they were always striving for excellence and that's something I have taken on into my life," said Olympic bronze and silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht, son of Ed and Lisa. "We are really proud of everything that my family has put into the hotel, and it's a great recognition of the hard work that has gone on here. I am very lucky to come from a family that strives for a very high level in everything, excellence in anything."
"It's the people that has kept me here 20 years and just wanting to make the guests feel the way I'd want to feel, the way I would want to be treated if I were going on vacation," said Katie Welch, dining room manager. "I like the challenge. I love my staff. They work hard for me because they want to. We are not static. We don't sit still. We have to keep up with the times. Renovations are important. New products, new beverages, that's all part of it."
"Working at the inn teaches you a lot about worth ethic, said Colin Coughlin, a member of the U.S. Bobsled Team. "There is a lot that goes into running this hotel and how successful it is, and there is a lot that goes into being a successful Olympic athlete. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice as well. I think there are things that you can relate to both."
"It's like what Ed Weibrecht said earlier, 'That people who work here put out a passion for what they do and they care for others,' so I think as passionate athletes we come here passionate about doing our best," said Meghan Dovell, a member of the U.S. Skeleton Team also employed at the inn. "Our name is on everything we do, the hotel's name is on everything that we do, so how we reflect ourselves reflects the hotel and we want that to be in the best manner possible."
"You always hear about the inn in the news," said ORDA President/CEO Ted Blazer. "It's promoted so well. It's got such a great look and following. It's one of the icons of the Adirondacks if not New York state. Everything is impeccable here. You can see why over and over it continues to get this prestigious award."
"I have been coming to the inn since 1972," said Bill Kissell. "Everything keeps me coming back, the ambience, the service, the food, and the people mainly. It's truly the flagship of Lake Placid."
"There is nothing better than the Mirror Lake Inn," said Pat Barrett, chairman of ORDA.