Located in southwestern Missouri on Table Rock Lake, Stonewater Cove makes for a great long weekend for those based in the southern U.S. Upon arrival at this all-inclusive lakeside resort, you feel the pace of life slow down as the peaceful sounds of nature encircle you like a cozy blanket.
Stonewater Cove is a hidden gem and a great destination for extended family and friends looking to travel together stress-free. The small boutique feel differentiates it from larger resorts and makes it the perfect place for the kids to roam on their own in the heart of Mark Twain National Forest. This is a place where children, and children at heart, can come to explore and immerse themselves in endless activities or nothing at all.
A family run feel permeates this property and you can’t go too far without running into a member of the Bond family, who all take great pride in every detail. Their mission is to provide the independence of a private lake house with the service of a concierge and a private chef so that, once onsite, you don’t have to worry about a thing.
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Accommodations are tastefully decorated and vary from luxury rooms (for up to four people) to one-, two- and three-bedroom suites complete with a kitchenette and plenty of space for families to spread out. Much of the furniture is handmade by local craftsmen, and two- and three-bedroom suites feature wooden bunk beds perfect for kids. Bathrooms are spacious and include a rainfall shower and a Champagne bubble tub. The outdoor spaces at Stonewater Cove are just as important as the interior ones: Gazebos, firepits and picnic tables are positioned among trickling waterfalls and well-manicured grounds, just calling you to relax and stay for a while.
Food is a huge part of the experience at Stonewater Cove. The engaging husband-and-wife chef team offer daily selections and go out of their way to cater to picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions. Flavors are plentiful, dishes are beautifully plated and selections are surprisingly gourmet for this wilderness retreat tucked into the Ozark Mountains.
All meals are included and served in the main lodge at specific times each day. Alcohol is additional and can be purchased at mealtimes or at the poolside bar throughout the day. A daily happy hour encourages guests to mingle before dinner. Kids are encouraged to eat with their families, but when the resort gets particularly busy, the staff sometimes offers kids the opportunity to eat outside so adults can eat kid free.
Stonewater Cove is paradise for kids looking to explore the outdoors. Perfectly positioned on Table Rock Lake, it offers plenty of guided and unguided water activities. Early risers will enjoy a glassy lake perfect for a kayak or canoe ride to explore waterfalls in the nearby coves. Waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing are offered once a day as well as guided kayak and canoe tours. Professionally guided fishing trips are extra and need to be booked in advance. Those looking to escape the sun can opt for a relaxing sunset cruise in the evening.
Land activities are just as plentiful and are strategically placed throughout the resort. From mini golf to bocce ball, they’ve thought of everything and have taken great care in the aesthetics. Guided activities are offered once a day and include ziplines, ATV tours and guided nature hikes. A ranger tour is a great way to start your first full day and try to wrap your head around the expanse of this 500-acre property.
There is a swimming dock, but the beautiful pool and hot tub just behind the lodge take center stage. A cozy media room chock full of movies and a Wii come in handy on days when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Most people don’t associate Missouri’s Ozark Mountains with luxury, but there are many things that differentiate this property from others in the surrounding area. They’ve literally thought of everything, down to the flashlights attached to each key ring. Spa services are available in two nearby treehouses and should be booked prior to arrival. Other amenities include a fitness center, valet parking and a car service (for an extra charge).
Stonewater Cove is closed from early November to late April and has a minimum stay requirement of two nights. I recommend at least three to four nights to fully experience all the property has to offer, but you may still have trouble fitting it all in. Roads are winding in this part of the country and nearby airports in Branson, Springfield and Fayetteville, AR are all roughly 90 minutes away. A private airstrip is located just a few minutes from the resort.
Peak summer months are busy with families, but off-season is a bit quieter and provides a more colorful landscape. Rates are quoted per person and vary based on the day of the week and the number of guided activities. Families are likely to choose the wilderness adventure package, which includes unlimited participation in guided activities — kids under four are free and children between four and eleven will receive a $125 credit per night.
It may seem expensive upon first glance, but once you’re on-property, it doesn’t take long to understand the value of a truly stress-free vacation.
Editor’s Note: Ciao Bambino received a media package in order to review Stonewater Cove for families. As always, all opinions are our own. Photos by Cary Walker.
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