It’s time for a staycation— and there’s no better place to take one than at the Deer Path Inn (thedeerpathinn.com). And now, a new face awaits at the whimsical half-timber Tudor house. Meet Patrick Lacassagne, the newest general manager at Travel + Leisure’s No. 1 hotel in the Midwest. Since opening in 1929, the inn has been known for its impeccable English innkeeping on the North Shore, as well as its attention to detail, and Lacassagne plans on keeping the bar high. “The Inn being a boutique hotel allows me to spend more time with the community,” he says. “The Deer Path Inn is such a unique place, and preserving its culture of service is one of my top priorities.” Lacassagne has worked with familiar names like The Knickerbocker, The Westin, Waldorf Astoria and Sofitel Luxury Hotels—where he stayed for nearly eight years and helped with the openings of Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan in Egypt and Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa in Morocco, and the renovation of the Sofitel Washington DC.
New general manager Patrick Lacassagne.
When the Deer Path Inn came knocking, he knew it was time for a change. And so, in December 2020, he moved to Lake Forest and took over for previous innkeeper Matt Barba. Of course, guests can still expect five-star luxury and family-friendly service, and Lacassagne is bringing in a strong international luxury experience as well as knowledge of multicultural cuisines. “We implemented some new specials, new cocktails,” he says, pointing out bites like whole roasted branzino and a Strawberry Field spring cocktail. “We are aiming for a seasonal trend right now.”
Of course, when the inn reopened in January, safety protocols from the pandemic were put into place, but Lacassagne knew that he had to implement special activities and accommodations to keep the inn in high regard. So he designed a staycation. Prior to arrival, each guest is called to figure out the details of their stay and why they are visiting. From there, Lacassagne and his team try to plan activities accordingly. “We had a family who came two weeks ago, and it was really about the child, so we created some amenities for them,” he says. “We did a little scavenger hunt in downtown Lake Forest with some little tricks for them to make it attractive, and then we organized a picnic basket with a bicycle by Lake Forest Beach for them to just escape as a family of four.” A picnic by the lake? Sign us up.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DEER PATH INN