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The Most Beautiful Lakeside Resorts in the World

Forget the beach. These stunning lakeside resorts offer top-of-the-line luxury and a certain type of tranquility you can’t get anywhere else.

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beautiful lakeside resort chuckcollier/Getty Images

The very definition of heaven on Earth

Serene. Scenic. Relaxing. Effortless. If those are the words that pop to mind when you think about lounging by a lake, then you’re in the right place. It’s no wonder that lakeside resorts are so popular around the world. Guests can get out on the water without having to leave the resort, and they typically offer on-site amenities that complement your time on the water. Although oceanside beach resorts are often given the most attention, lakeside resorts can be just as beautiful and luxurious, as you’ll see momentarily. When should you visit? That’s up to you, of course, but you might want to check out the cheapest months of the year to visit all 50 states.

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The Osthoff Resortvia

The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

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As an AAA Four Diamond resort with 500 feet of sand beach on Elkhart Lake, the Osthoff Resort offers the right mix of coziness and grandeur. This lakeside resort is so large that you may be offered a map at check-in, yet the courteous staff will make it feel like you’re in a luxurious small town. Located in southeastern Wisconsin, the Osthoff is an integral part of the Elkhart Lake community. From Monday through Saturday, you can choose from two lake cruises each day to enjoy panoramic views of Elkhart Lake while learning about local history. The lakefront also has picnic areas, a playground, a volleyball court, and lots of places to sit and savor the views. During you’ll stay, you’ll also want to check out the world-class Aspira Spa, which offers a wide array of treatments that focus on the body, mind, and spirit. While you’re in Wisconsin, you might also want to check out this tiny, dreamy island of 700 people.

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imperial palacevia

Impérial Palace, Lake Annecy, France

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With its idyllic location in a lush park on the shores of Lake Annecy, the Impérial Palace offers a real sense of getting away from it all. A definite highlight of any stay here is the Crystal Spa, which is in a class of its own. It offers relaxing treatments in a haven dedicated to beauty and wellness that’s nestled between the lake and the mountains. The on-site casino may not be what you’d expect to find at an upscale resort, but it adds to the fun. If you find the luxurious lifestyle of the resort aspirational, you may be tempted to try some games and try your luck. If you’re thinking of heading overseas, first read up on the European travel experience most people don’t know about.

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The Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerlandvia

The Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Located on 10 acres of beautifully manicured gardens at the foot of the Swiss Alps, the Beau-Rivage Palace sits alongside Lake Geneva. Guests can enjoy the lake views on the terrace or take a ride on the hotel’s Montreux steamboat, which doubles as an eatery during the summer months. Other popular water activities include boating and paddle-boarding. But this elegant lakeside resort has something for every type of travelers—it also includes a “children’s paradise” area and an upscale spa. Here are more of the most luxurious spas in the world.

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Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet, Texasvia

Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet, Texas

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Canyon of the Eagles is a place of beauty and a treat to the senses. This nature-based resort in Burnet, Texas, overlooks Lake Buchanan and may offer you the chance to see wildlife such as deer and, of course, eagles. (Also, don’t miss the resident cat, Booberry!) You can enjoy a relaxing or active stay—or one that’s a mix of both. There aren’t any televisions in the guest cabins and rooms, which allows for a real back-to-nature experience, but don’t worry: There’s plenty of entertainment on the grounds to keep you busy. Canyon cruises, sunset hikes, and guided kayak tours are just some of the fun things that are part of this lakeside resort experience. You’ll definitely want to check out the Eagle Eye Observatory, which offers truly remarkable views since the resort is in a Dark Sky location.

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Ashford Castle, Cong, Irelandvia

Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

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Situated on the scenic shores of Lough Corrib, the largest lake in Ireland, Ashford Castle is a sight to behold. It is set on 350 acres and has the trifecta of gorgeous natural scenery, so you can enjoy views of the mountains, woodlands, and lake. The five-star luxury castle-hotel has a storied past that dates back to 1228 when it was originally built by the Angle-Norman de Burgo family. While the exterior will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, the inside is full of modern luxuries, including an on-site spa and movie theater. The Hideaway Cottage, which provides a 180-degree view of the lake, is particularly perfect for honeymooners. And a fun fact: The castle’s grounds were once used for the classic film The Quiet Man, starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne. These are another 65 movie and TV filming locations you can actually visit.

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Emerald Lake Lodge, British Columbia, Canadavia

Emerald Lake Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

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Nestled in the Yoho National Park in British Columbia, Canada, the Emerald Lake Lodge offers extraordinary views in all seasons. As its name suggests, it is located along Emerald Lake, and guests can enjoy such activities as white-water rafting and skiing nearby. It’s also just a short drive from the Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks World Heritage Site. Inside, it captures the magic of its history with fireplaces that date back at least a century and special antiques.

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Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve, Guatemalavia

Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve, Guatemala

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The Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve is located along the shores of Lake Atitlan. It overlooks Volcán San Pedro and is situated in its own nature reserve. Inspired by nature, this posh lakeside resort was actually created from adobe, palm, and volcanic stone. It features classic candelabras and a large stone fireplace, but the splendor outside is hard, with the surrounding black volcanoes and crystal-blue water. The resort’s Hummingbird Spa offers full-body treatments, massages, and the ultimate in relaxation.

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The Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness, New Hampshirevia

The Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness, New Hampshire

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Just south of the White Mountains in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, The Manor on Golden Pond overlooks Squam Lake. The charming resort was the filming location for the Oscar-winning movie On Golden Pond. Its splendor is evident throughout the property, and you can enjoy special touches like luxury robes in themed rooms. Some accommodations offer a private deck and whirlpool, and the on-site spa helps make this lakeside resort a retreat for the body, mind, and soul. Also, the lake is not to be missed! Guests can swim in it or explore it by boat.

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Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italyvia

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy

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Situated in the town of Bellagio, which is known as the Pearl of Lake Como, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni just might be the area’s crown jewel. It is a regal 19th-century villa with elaborate decor, marble columns, gilded walls, and vaulted ceilings. No matter where your eye goes, you’ll see something beautiful. And you just have to step outside for amazing views of Lake Como, the Alps, and the Italian gardens. This five-star hotel has a Gatsby-like, upscale ambiance, but it’s comfortable and inviting to all guests.

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esperanza mansionvia

Esperanza Mansion, Keuka Park, New York

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Overlooking Lake Keuka, one of the 11 beautiful Finger Lakes, Esperanza Mansion is a stately, historic place to stay that offers the look and feel of another era. After all, the mansion is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, and it’s decked out with period artwork and other vintage decor. The luxury is distinctly modern, though, and it also has a modern offshoot building. Both buildings offer pristine views of the lake. Look for fun touches throughout the property, including the fact that each room is named after a specific wine that is produced in the Finger Lakes region. If wine is your thing, don’t miss this list of the most gorgeous wineries everyone should visit at least once, especially these wineries in the Finger Lakes region.

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The Baur au Lac, Zurich, Switzerlandvia

The Baur au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland

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As a resort with incredible views of the Swiss Alps at a distance, the Baur au Lac is located along Lake Zurich in the midst of its own park. It has a rich history that goes back more than 175 years, and it continues to be an innovative property. Due to its location, this lakeside resort offers both the convenience of a city vacation and the natural beauty of a serene lakeside setting. Biking around the lake and standing on a paddleboard are some popular activities here, but you can also go on a short walk to check out some fabulous shops in Zurich.

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The Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsinvia

The Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Directly located on majestic Lake Michigan with direct access to its sandy beaches, the Blue Harbor Resort has a relaxed atmosphere and places a high priority on a customized guest experience. Its eco-friendly lakeside trails offer resort visitors the chance to take in stunning views that make Sheboygan so special. Families are welcome, and the resort’s own indoor water park, where it’s always balmy, is a popular area attraction. Kid-friendly, themed activities are also planned for resort guests throughout the year. But there’s plenty that’s strictly for grown-ups, too. The Blue Harbor Resort’s spa, for example, offers plenty of amazing treatments, which use vegan SpaRitual products. If money is tight, opt for one of these 41 mini family vacations that won’t break the bank.

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Denali Backcountry Lodge, Denali, Alaskavia

Denali Backcountry Lodge, Denali, Alaska

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After adventuring in the awe-inspiring Denali National Park, your stay at the Denali Backcountry Lodge can be as relaxing or as adventurous as you want it to be. Near the Wonder Lake Area, which offers incredible views of Denali and other mountains in the Alaska Range when the sky is clear, the resort is located directly on the banks of Moose Creek. In many of the cabins, you can sit at your open window and watch the water flow. The Denali Backcountry Lodge is rustic in style and luxurious in service, with three meals per day included in your stay. Activities like guided hikes and panning for gold are also included, though of course, you’ll have to pay extra for the restorative massages and other treatments at the resort’s Nest Spa & Wellness Center. Next, check out more of the most peaceful places on Earth.

Robin Raven
Robin Raven is a travel, lifestyle, vegan food, and entertainment writer. She is also a consumer products expert covering product reviews and gift guides. Additionally, she has expertise in spas, luxury travel, and all things Disney. She has an MFA from California State University, Northridge. As an author, her latest books are Santa's First Vegan Christmas and The Kindness Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Creating Compassion in Yourself and the World.