Published on: March 11, 2020

Hotel or vacation rental?


By Chris Jarvis, Mirror Lake Inn Director of Rooms

Lake Placid – In recent years, traveling families have been faced with this option: do we stay in a hotel like Mirror Lake Inn, and have all our needs attended to by others? Or do we try to recreate home in a vacation rental by shopping for groceries, cooking our own meals, washing the dishes and removing the garbage? Sure, we might save money, but what does this cost us in real vacation and fun times together? Is there a cost to that?

A woman inside the steaming room with a hot tube beside the room lighted with candles at Mirror Lake Inn's spa.

What to consider when choosing where to stay on vacation?

Going further, which of those options says “vacation” to you? While a property rental may enable you to hold on to some money, it also removes you from the reason you went away in the first place – to not be at home, to relax and let others do the work, and enjoy new or different activities. Having to be back at the house at 5:00 to prepare and serve dinner, not to mention the clean-up afterwards is closer to our home lives, not so much the vacation life, and cuts into the free time you were so anticipating.

Mirror Lake Inn's outdoor swimming pool on a sunny day with a mountain view.

What kinds of “what if” scenarios could happen on a vacation rental?

There are countless and dreaded “what if” scenarios…. What happens when the tub doesn’t drain like it should? What happens when someone spills something on the sheets? What happens when the bed isn’t to your liking and you can’t sleep well? What happens when the smoke alarm beeps at night? What happens when your car is buried under a foot or two of fresh snow that fell overnight? If you’re at a private rental, there’s a good chance you will be handling these types of things (and countless others) yourself, or worse yet. You’re forced to live with it throughout your entire stay. We think it’s much easier and frankly much more enjoyable to simply dial “0” and let the staff take care of it for you.

Beautiful and peaceful indoor swimming pool at Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa.

What kind of experience could I have between a hotel and a rental place?

You’re an avid skier, and we got the aforementioned dump overnight. You plan to make a thousand fluffy powder turns first thing in the morning when the lifts open. At the hotel, you’ll rest assured that the staff was there before daybreak and your path to the highway is clear! Just load your vehicle and go! At the house, will the owner be so considerate of your outdoor desires?

What can happen by staying at a vacation rental place?

Among the worst: you never know what your neighbors will be like. The rental house next door might look like a parking lot, and with that comes NOISE!

In other words, the idea of a vacation is to be pampered by others, to be waited on hand and foot, to not have one care in the world. Is anything to the contrary a true vacation? In the vacation rental, who’s waiting on whom? In the hotel, someone else is always waiting on you – the front desk, a server, a bartender, a housekeeper, a maintenance person. In the rental, you are all those things. When it gets to that point, is it a real vacation?