CANANDAIGUA — In an effort to attract visitors from the New York City area, the owners of the new Lake House on Canandaigua will experiment with bringing people from the Big Apple by seaplane.
The Lake House is being built by the Sands family from the ground up after the Inn on the Lake was demolished in 2018. The campus at the north end of Canandaigua Lake consists of five buildings, with the hotel, events barn, spa and restaurant scheduled to open July 1. The Sand Bar, on the same spot where its predecessor was located, will open Memorial Day weekend.
Doug Bennett, who is co-developer of the project, said the owners have made arrangements with a New York City-based seaplane charter company to board visitors from a dock on the East River for the 226-mile flight, which will take about one hour.
“We have no idea how this will go. It all depends on demand,” Bennett said. “If there is demand, we will offer it. If not, it won’t happen.”
The north end of the lake often is congested, especially in the summer, and even more so on weekends. Private boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboarders, anchored boats and The Canandaigua Lady tour rides compete for water space.
“Safety will be paramount,” Bennett said. “The pilot will make an initial pass over to see if it is safe to land. Landings may be in the middle of the lake and then the plane can taxi to the Lake House dock and boardwalk to discharge passengers.”
Seaplanes can land on regular, paved runways, meaning they could fly into the Canandaigua Airport and have visitors driven to The Lake House.
“It will be up to the pilot’s discretion,” Bennett said. “The plane could land at the airport if weather is bad or there is excessive traffic on the lake.”
The seaplanes can take up to eight people with luggage.
The Lake House, a project with a $48 million price tag, is planning to seek approval for a 40-slip dock off its south-facing seawall-boardwalk.
“The designers wanted to make it like a family house or estate with walking paths and landscaping to connect the buildings,” Bennett said. “You don’t need to be a hotel guest to use the spa, Sand Bar or the main restaurant. Boaters can use the docks and visit us.”
The Lake House has formed a partnership with nearby New York Kitchen, sharing a parking lot and having connecting walkways to allow visitors to attend cooking classes at there.
“Studio Tack is doing the design and they are known for their creative designs,” Bennett continued. “They are using a concept of a main house, with other buildings in a campus setting. We want them to have an at home feeling when they walk in the door, a comfortable feeling of interacting with nature and the water.”
In addition to the Lake House, visitors could arrange for Finger Lakes tours and winery visits.
“It seems like a crazy idea, but we talked about it and we want to see if there is interest,” Bennett said, adding that he doesn’t think any special permits or approvals are needed for the seaplanes.
Vogue magazine recently included the Lake House on its list of 18 most anticipated hotel openings in the world in 2020.