by Andrea Guthmann
Most people come to Branson, Missouri, for the over-the-top entertainment, where some hundred different live shows can be playing at any one time. The neon-lit strip is quite a sight, but don’t forget the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake. That lake serves as the backdrop for the 301-room Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa. While it’s just a 15-minute drive outside of town, it seems like a world away from the lights and sequins of downtown Branson.
Opened in 1997, it’s sometimes referred to as the Castle of the Ozarks. While it is massive and perched on a hill, Chateau on the Lake does not resemble a castle. The 10-story lobby is lavish, with artificial cascading streams and waterfalls, along with plenty of seating to enjoy this faux natural setting. Chateau on the Lake is not a cozy, rustic lake resort; it’s really more of a business hotel and convention center.
Still, families will enjoy the many activities available for all ages. Several restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, live entertainment on the weekends, complimentary tennis courts and rackets, a drop-off kids’ club, a theatre showing complimentary kids’ movies, a spa, and of course, the lakefront, with its full service marina and boat rentals, are just a few of the highlights. Just be aware that there’s no actual beach for swimming — for that you need to drive to the state park just up the road.
Branson is the headquarters of Bass Pro Shops (in fact, the owner operates a hotel nearby — Big Cedar Lodge), one of the country’s leading outdoor outfitters. Not surprisingly, fishing is a popular pastime in this region. If you’re hooked on the hobby, you will not be disappointed at Chateau on the Lake. Its full-service marina rents a variety of boats, from canoes, kayaks and pedal boats to WaveRunners, pontoons and motor boats, and accommodates vessels up to 70 feet with overnight boat slips.
While this isn’t the place for a classic, laid-back lake vacation, there is an endless supply of activities to keep everyone entertained. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, this resort is bustling with excitement. If a large waterfront resort with an abundance of options and activities is what your family craves, you’ll be happy at Branson’s Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa.
Our Editor Loves
- Lakefront location
- Seasonal kids' club
- Pools, plus water sports on the lake
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 301-room property was extensively renovated in 2009. Guests will appreciate the elegant decor of the cherry wood desks and bed frames and leather furnishings, as well as the stone tile in the bathrooms, which all feature bathtubs. All rooms include HD 32-inch (or larger) flat-screen TVs with cable channels, two telephones with voice mail, iron and full-sized ironing boards, free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers with coffee and teas, hair dryers, in-room safes, and Serta Perfect Sleeper mattresses with triple sheeting and down comforters. There's daily maid service as well. A mini-fridge can be requested for an additional $20 per day. Cribs are provided free of charge.
Rooms come with lakefront views, partial lake views or mountain views. If you want to be staring out at the lake, request a lakefront room, though be aware -- they are the most sought-after of the accommodations and book up well in advance.
With 392 square feet of space, Standard Rooms have either one king or two queen beds. Standard rooms do not have great views though -- they all look out at either the parking lot or the adjacent convention center.
Rooms With Views
Mountain View rooms, Partial Lake View rooms and Lakefront King rooms all come with king or queen beds, except for the latter, which only offers one king. A majority of Partial Lake View and Lakefront King rooms have balconies, too.
These 518-square-feet suites feature a private bedroom with one king bed or two double beds and a sitting area with a sofa bed. Ambassador Suites feature two 37-inch flat-screen TVs and a wet bar with a microwave and mini-fridge. Another "suite" perk is complimentary use of plush robes.
Vice Presidential and Presidential Suites
These suites are larger (864 square feet) and have a balcony and elegant French doors separating the living and sleeping area. The living room area is more substantial with a dining room table, and the kitchen features a full size refrigerator. Bathrooms are also upgraded with Jacuzzi soaking tubs.
Although very much alike, only the Vice Presidential Suites can connect to other rooms (which have two queen beds) and the Presidential Suite bathrooms have a separate walk-in shower, in addition to the soaking Jacuzzi tub. Additionally, the two Presidential Suites also come with DVD players.
We were here for a conference and enjoyed our stay very much. The room was nice and clean and the bed was very comfortable. The restaurants in the hotel are very good and not too expensive. We enjoyed our stay
We had a great stay on 11/11/19- Our room was quiet, clean and comfortable and we enjoyed beautiful views of the sunset over the lake- Wonderful service- Victoria and Ashley gave great service while we dined at the bar and we enjoyed a great dinner and drinks on our 28 th anniversary! Victoria made sure we were well taken care of and we felt special all night! The seafood soup, calamari and fried avacados were delicious! We will definitely be returning!
There's a seemingly endless array of activities at Chateau on the Lake. Just be aware that many of them run seasonally, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Younger kids will enjoy the outdoor castle playground, while their parents will find the drop-off kids' club convenient. The Sassafras Theater shows daily complimentary G-rated movies. There are complimentary tennis courts and rackets, and a large selection of boats to rent at the lake, too.
Crawdaddies Kids' Club
Open during the summer and busier holidays, this drop-off club is available for children ages 4 to 12 for an additional fee. Crawdaddies has crafts, board games, computer games and a Nintendo 64. Parents can choose to pay hourly rates, half-day rates or full-day rates. Next to the kids' club is a small arcade area with two coin-operated arcade games.
Crawdaddies Kids' Club is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $12 per hour.
Guests have access to a 24-hour, year-round indoor pool and a heated outdoor pool, which is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. The outdoor pool, perched high above Table Rock Lake, offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding Ozark Mountains, and is open for everyone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The 24-hour indoor pool and hot tub have an adults-only policy after 10 p.m.
Food and beverage service at the outdoor pool adds to the leisurely resort feel of the pool and lakefront area.
A castle-themed playground by the outdoor pool allows kids to play within safe and watchable distance of their parents relaxing by the pool.
Chateau on the Lake's full service marina rents a variety of boats, from kayaks and canoes, to WaveRunners, water ski powerboats and pontoons. Guests can also book an excursion on the 48-foot sailing catamaran, the Spirit of America, which seats 49 passengers.
The marina's boathouse store sells provisions including drinks, snacks, sunscreen, clothing, fuel, bait, tackle and other fishing equipment, as well as souvenirs. Scuba and snorkeling gear can also be rented here.
Each morning, children are invited to join the staff in feeding the fish at the hotel's koi fish pond, located on the lower level near the pool.
If looking for some outdoor fun and exercise, there are complimentary tennis courts and rackets on a first-come, first-served basis. The courts are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and are lit at night.
Chateau on the Lake has four different restaurants to choose from for family meals.
Atrium CafÃ© & Wine Bar
This casual restaurant, located in the main lobby, has tables for dining next to the atrium waterfall or stream. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as evening cocktails. Menu items include soup, hamburgers, chicken quesadillas and a cobb salad. Kids are given crayons and can color the kids' menu, which includes breakfast (pancakes, waffles or French toast), as well standard kids' menu fare like chicken fingers, hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese. High chairs are available. The Atrium CafÃ© & Wine Bar is open for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m.; lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
This classic soda fountain cafe offers baked goods, ice cream and coffee. You can enjoy them inside the charming little cafe, or at one of the patio tables overlooking the outdoor pool and Table Rock Lake. The Sweet Shoppe is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Grab-and-go sandwiches, pizza and lunchboxes can be purchased at this stand adjacent to the pool. The nearby koi pond will entertain kids while parents pick up the food. The Downstairs Deli is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This is the resort's upscale dining option, known for its lavish Sunday brunch and picturesque floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Table Rock Lake. It's a wonderful choice for a romantic meal or special occasion event. Menu items include filet mignon, duck, salmon and lobster. The Chateau Grille is open daily for breakfast, from 7 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Chateau on the Lake offers free Wi-Fi throughout the resort. Two complimentary computers and a printer for guest use are in the business center off of the lobby, and front desk staff will also gladly fax or make copies for free.
There's a small 24-hour complimentary fitness center with three treadmills, two elliptical machines and weights.
A nice perk for families is the complimentary washer and dryer unit located on the 10th floor. Laundry soap can be purchased there as well.
If you seek serenity, head for the elegantly furnished library lounge, just off the lobby. Overlooking Table Rock Lake, the library is the perfect place to bring your morning coffee and read a newspaper or book, or bring along your laptop.
Chateau on the Lake has a luxurious and quite large (14,000 square feet) spa. With a wide selection of services, including manicures and pedicures, massages, facials and haircuts, spa guests can also take advantage of the sauna, steam room and outdoor plunge pool with a peaceful waterfall. Spa guests are given a locker, plush robe and slippers upon arrival. Enjoy the complimentary tea, fruit and dried snacks available while you wait for your treatment. You can also order lunch from the spa menu.
Chateau on the Lake has two gift shops. One offers typical souvenirs and a variety of items you may have forgotten, like contact solution, aspirin, sunscreen and toothpaste, as well as snacks and magazines and newspapers.
The other gift shop, Simply Majestic, is more upscale and offers boutique-style clothing, jewelry and luxurious gift items.
The Art of Smart Timing
Chateau on the Lake is open year-round, with Memorial Day through Labor Day being the busiest time of year, especially on the weekends. Although it can get pretty cold in the winter on the Missouri/Arkansas state line, it's usually still nice enough to enjoy hiking in the surrounding Ozark Mountains, and January and February offer less crowds and more bargains. At Christmastime, the resort gets all decked out for the holidays, with a dazzling array of gingerbread house masterpieces in the lobby.
If your children's school schedule allows, September is a beautiful time to visit; you'll have the lake all to yourself, and by the end of September, you'll already be getting some fall color.
As with most of Branson's visitors, the majority of guests drive to Chateau on the Lake. For those coming from farther away, the Springfield-Branson National Airport is one hour away. Closer by is Branson Airport, but it has very limited service.
A car is a necessity for when you're ready to take a break from the lake. Parking at the hotel is complimentary.
For Mom and Dad
Branson's entertainment district is a 15-minute drive away and offers a seemingly endless selection of live shows. The front desk has information on the live performance calendar.
If you want to stay at the resort, a couples' massage in the spa's candlelit couples suite is a romantic escape. The resort's Chateau Grille is also a wonderful choice for a romantic date-night meal.