RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE
Rated by Guests
July 15, 2019
Story by: Cary Walker
Stonewater Cove: An All-Inclusive Lakeside Idyll in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains
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.
Stonewater Cove Resort Family-Friendly Review
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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Laid-Back Luxury Mountain Accommodations
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.
Casual Gourmet Food
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).
Families Should Know
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.
Read the full article: An All-Inclusive Lakeside Idyll in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains – (Ciao Bambino!, July 2019)
Stonewater Cove Resort and Spa – Rustic Meets Elegance
Set in the majestic woods of the Mark Twain National Forest along the shores of Tablerock Lake, Stonewater Cove Resort and Spa is sure to surpass your every expectation. It certainly did for me and quickly moved to the No. 1 spot on my list of favorite vacation destinations.
Upon arrival, the serene setting boasts pristine landscaping, gorgeous topography and the tranquil sound of trickling water from countless babbling brooks and waterfalls that immediately transports you to a world that feels isolated and exotic. This is not your typical Tablerock destination, folks, but instead makes you feel as if you are half a world away. There is a quiet peacefulness throughout the entire 471-acre wooded, handcrafted luxury resort property that invites guests to sit back, relax and truly unwind.
Whether guests are looking for a relaxing get-away or an action-packed adventure, Stonewater Cove Resort offers something for everyone. Lounge poolside with a breathtaking view overlooking the lake and unwind at the spa, or enjoy a game of miniature golf or one of the many games on site. This all-inclusive resort has countless activities available to guests and includes zip-lining, ATV riding, watersports, boating, fishing excursions, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, swimming and more. It is the perfect mix of luxury at its finest and outdoor adventure. The on-site guides are patient, highly skilled and knowledgeable, and safety is of utmost importance.
“One of the many things that made this vacation experience stand out to our family was the attention to detail from every single staff member,” explains Brad Guthery, a recent guest at Stonewater Cove. “They met each one of my children at the skill level they were at and helped them participate in the onsite activities comfortably. My teenagers felt challenged and loved the thrill of learning tricks from the guides on their adventures, and my youngest felt secure that they would have patience and keep her safe at the level she was comfortable with. The staff truly felt like family and got the vote as favorite vacation from every family member.”
This family-owned and operated resort was carefully crafted for more than 10 years by the Bond family, and that clearly shows the moment you enter the gates to the resort.
“The inspiration for Stonewater Cove came from emulating our favorite family vacations to create a destination that incorporated those fond memories. Boating, fishing, ATV rides, skiing, golfing, horseback-riding and playing board games were all activities we enjoyed as a family,” explains Ruth Bond. “We also appreciated fine dining, warm and comfortable lodging, spa treatments and interacting with friends.”
Everything is done with complete perfection, which is evident throughout the entire stay. The expansive property houses only 25 uniquely custom designed guest homes, which allows guests to feel as if they are the only ones staying at the property. “Rustic elegance” best describes the overall theme.
“The vast majority of our furniture was handcrafted by local artisans using cedar, juniper, oak, pine, hickory, walnut, sassafras and metal,” Bond says. “The bedding was custom-made, and every accent piece was found by scouring craft stores, antique shops, roadside stands and more in a seven-state area. The intent was to mimic the comforts of home but also incorporate the fun and whimsy of a vacation home.”
The lodge boasts a movie theater, workout facility and family game room filled with comfortable seating. Once the sun goes down, enjoy a sunset cruise and come back for smores at one of the many fire-pits. They cater to each guest, so the needs and desires for the duration of your stay consist of what you enjoy.
“We were so impressed with how the general manager, James Bond, catered to our individual family needs without us even asking,” Guthery says. “We decided to watch a movie in the theater late one night, and once he noticed, he quickly made gourmet popcorn and brought us drinks to enjoy. This was after he took my family out for long day boating for hours, teaching my kids how to ski and kneeboard. It was this attention to detail and extra care that was reflected during our entire vacation that made every single person in our family want to make this an annual trip. The icing on the cake was the gourmet to-go lunch that they made for us once they learned we would be traveling back home before lunch. They packed drinks and sides as well, and if that couldn’t be topped, they included a bag of car snacks for the kids just in case they were hungry after lunch on the drive. This consideration and care was consistent during our entire stay.”
Fine dining is of utmost importance at Stonewater Cove, and the renowned on-site chefs are sure to entice your taste buds with their four-course meals and five-star dining. Choose from an ever-changing menu of gourmet options for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, and I assure you, these meals do not disappoint as I savored every bite. The produce and fresh herbs come from their very own organic garden. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a happy hour at the clubhouse bar, and dine in the scenic dining room, poolside or take a boxed meal-to-go to enjoy on the boat or on a hike.
“It is hard to pinpoint my favorite part of our vacation at Stonewater Cove Resort, but the exquisite, gourmet food was at the top of the list,” Guthery says. “Each day we were presented with a new menu of delectable options, and after every meal I was sure that I could not have a meal that would top what I just enjoyed. And then the next meal would contend.”
Stonewater Cove holds the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure and is truly a place for anyone. Whether you are looking to sit back and enjoy beauty and nature in a luxurious atmosphere that truly makes you feel half a world away, or if you want to explore and have an action-packed vacation full of adventure, Stonewater Cove Resort has it all and is only a short drive away.
Read the full article: “Rustic Meets Elegance” (Johnson County Lifestyle – September, 2019)
Check out Stonewater Cove Resort in Elite Traveler – The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine!
Story by: Susan Gimotty
Stonewater Cove Does It ALL for You!
Managing the busy schedules of teenagers keeps this family on the go—too often in different directions—and we cherish those rare hours when we all can be together. So when we had the opportunity to visit an all-inclusive resort in the middle of the lush Mark Twain National Forest, we grabbed it. Even though we are not a truly outdoorsy family (our camping record includes a number of semi-fails), we do really enjoy adventure and outdoor sports, and the promise of resort luxuries lured us.
The three-and-a-half-hour drive from Kansas City delivered us to Stonewater Cove Resort’s beautiful 500 acres and a luxurious three-day adventure. The warm staff greeted us upon our arrival and led the way to our spacious three-bedroom cabin overlooking Table Rock Lake. Our youngest daughter made sure our unpacking was quick, because she was eager to hop in the awaiting pool, complete with waterfalls!
Dinner that evening was a gourmet experience in the lodge’s western-facing dining room. The resort offers four- and five-course dinners nightly, and for little ones, they offer freshly prepared children’s entrees or smaller portions of adult menu items. To top off our first day, our family embarked on a sunset boat ride to enjoy the starlit evening.
The next day we packed full with outdoor adventures, including zip lining, kayaking and riding on ATVs. Stonewater Cove’s knowledgeable staff escorted us in their six-person ATV out to the zip-lining site, which contains five zip lines, all unique. We then spent time driving our own ATV, a brand new experience for me. Riding through Stonewater Cove’s expansive property and taking in the lake views were exhilarating. Our guides made us feel confident and safe in both zip lining and riding ATVs—something this mom appreciates!
In the afternoon, we had some free time and enjoyed leisurely kayaking on the river. Unwinding with our teenagers and sampling adventurous activities city life doesn’t typically provide made this get-away so worthwhile.
Water-skiing and tubing on the lake filled several hours of our final day at Stonewater Cove. Our kids have water-skied only a few times, and watching them tackle new challenges was so fun for my husband and me. Some of our kids needed more coaching than others, and the staff provided precisely what each needed—very patiently!
As a matter of fact, the way the staff did all the prep work for our activities and attended to all our needs made us feel like royalty. Thanks to their service, adrenalin-fueled outdoor adventures were thrilling and relaxing! Winding down that last vacation day, we played horseshoes and mini golf, and then chose from three delectable main dishes for our dining finale.
Stonewater Cove is truly a hidden gem sparkling in the Ozarks of Missouri. We felt like we were on a private retreat away from the hustle and bustle of real life. I was not exactly sure to what degree “all-inclusive” would be when we first learned about this resort, but now I know: At Stonewater Cove, all-inclusive means they do it ALL for you. The staff knew us by name, catered to our needs and allowed us to customize our days, enabling us to make family memories easily. This rustic but elegant resort provided us with the perfect balance of adventurous activities and times of total relaxation to unplug from our busy lives—together!
Read the full article: “Stonewater Cove Does It ALL for You!” (KC Parent – September, 2018)
Story by: Joy Pecknold
Better Lake Than Never
Craving a lake escape? Make a break for one of these seven picturesque properties right by fresh bodies of water that offer refreshing activities to match.
Stonewater Cove Resort | Table Rock Lake, Missouri
The Ozarks offer all kinds of family-friendly adventures, and Stonewater Cove Resort makes it extra easy with all-inclusive meals, valet parking, Wi-Fi, kayaking and fishing. On-site, take advantage of the pool, hot tub, bocce ball courts and swim dock. Go beyond by booking a guided ATV ride, zip-line tour or wake boarding excursion. In other words, the phrase “I’m bored” has likely never been uttered here.
Read the full article: “Better Lake Than Never” (Kiwi Collection-Passport-August,2018)
Story by: Katie Pollock Estes
12 Scenic Getaways to Make the Most of Your Fall
Stellar vacations don’t have to be exhausting, and they don’t have to be halfway across the globe. Sometimes, the best fall escape is one that’s easy-breezy, and 417-land is the perfect jumping-off point for a nearby trip that lets you sit back, relax and just enjoy the view.
Both luxurious and wild, Stonewater Cove Resort offers a ton of adventures at Table Rock Lake. Photo courtesy Stonewater Cove Resort
A Trip into the Wild
Play hard and relax hard—that’s what defines your days at Stonewater Cove Resort. Set in the forest on the edge of Table Rock Lake, this spot offers outdoorsy options for adrenaline junkies who want to connect with the wild Ozarks but rest in luxury. Trails that weave through the woods are available for ATV rides, and there are zip lines you can ride to sail through the trees. After a day spent out in the sun, you can relax at the spa with a hot stone massage before you indulge in a gourmet meal from a menu that changes daily. Dining is included in the rate. The activities at Stonewater Cove can be guided (fishing, ATV tours, wakeboarding, cruises, helicopter tours and more) or can be done solo (hiking, swimming in the pool, mini golf, lawn games and more), and there are even kids programs for the little ones in your crew.
Read the full article: “12 Scenic Getaways to Make the Most of Your Fall” (417 Magazine – October,2017)
Story by: Kayla Branstetter
The Great Escape
What is the thrall of a vacation or a romantic get-away? I have experienced a long line of trips that opened my eyes to not only culture, food, people, and sights, but exhaustion, indecisiveness, and frustrations. When my husband and I return home from a trip, I feel I need a vacation from my vacation.
Finally, I know the perfect place for vacation and relaxation for couples and families alike, and this place is local. Imagine erasing long security lines, flight delays, traffic jams, long lines, waiting lists, and decisions; instead, imagine being surrounded by the tranquility of nature, lake, comfort, and better yet, no hassle or hidden costs. After a visit to this magical place, I think back over my past trips, they suddenly seem preposterously stressed, as if for all these years, my family and I vacationed wrong.
So, what changed my mind about my previous trips? The resort, Stonewater Cove, located outside of Shell Knob, Missouri. After one visit, I realized what I missed from my past trips, true relaxation and solitude.
As I drove to Stonewater Cove, I endured slow drivers and construction work that resulted in one-lane traffic—in other words, I surrendered to the feelings of frustration, annoyance, and aggravation. However, the moment I turned onto Stallion Bluff Road, a new feeling crept into my emotions—peace as I discovered an old friend, nature. With the turn of each corner, the stress of society disappeared into a memory as the trees wrapped their limbs around me and the mountains smiled as if to welcome me back from civilization.
When I arrived and exited my vehicle, I listened to the trickling of water and noticed nature encircling my husband and me. I turned to my husband and whispered, “This place is gorgeous. I already feel relaxed.” We opened the wooden-carved doors to the lodge, where Adam greeted us with a warm and welcoming smile. As he gave us a tour of the grounds and introduced us to the staff, I began to feel like family for the staff mirrored Adam’s hospitality.
After our tour, my husband and I strolled through the resort’s grounds, admiring the beauty, the seclusion, and tranquility before returning to the lodge for dinner. All meals are served in the main lodge, with the main show centered on witnessing the sunset over Table Rock Lake.
Chef Singyn Hunter enhances one’s experience at Stonewater Cove, for everything he creates is made from scratch and beautifully placed on display for guests. His international experience brings culture, flavor, and a uniqueness to every plate. His culinary skills matches those of the most skilled chefs around the world, without the top chef price, for three meals per day are included with the resort’s nightly rate, and I promise, no guest ever goes hungry with Singyn Hunter’s cooking.
At the conclusion of dinner, and in the sweet silence of the sun set, my husband and I sat on a rocking chair, watching the sun’s final good-bye as it slowly faded into the lake, with the light blue sky vanishing into the pink reflecting off the tranquility of the water, to form a perfect silhouette of the Ozark Mountains. Soon the sun disappeared and the stars awaken. For the first time in a long time, we found pleasure in simply observing one of nature’s most perfect gift, the sunset. During this moment, I agreed with writer and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “In the woods, we return to reason and faith.”
The journey to this place began in 2000, when the Bond family purchased the land, with the hopes of one day opening a resort. After the purchase, they spent from 2000 until 2004 building roads and preparing the area for construction—with official construction beginning in 2004. This endeavor was a family decision for the Bond family always enjoyed visiting Table Rock Lake and desired to design the perfect vacation. They pulled from their own various experiences to create a rugged, luxurious getaway for couples, families, friends, weddings, or anyone interested in a flexible schedule complete with activities for everyone—spa services, ATVs, zip-lining, hiking, sunset cruises, pool, miniature golf, canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking, fishing trips, seasonal horseback riding, and more. With the beauty of nature coupled with the activities and friendly staff, the area forces one to disconnect from phones and create memories.
Words and pictures will never truly capture the heart and ambience of the resort for the Bond family placed much care, love, and personality into their resort, and they continue to place much care, love, and personality into their resort. Overall, this resort is not a corporation looking for numbers, but a family and staff who truly go above and beyond to make one’s experience as relaxing and hassle-free as possible. In other words, they strive to spoil their guests.
I love to travel to create new memories, meet new people, and experience a new culture, but I have never experienced anything like Stonewater Cove, and as a local, I am proud to discover such a special place exist within our hills and hollows of the region.
Read the full article: “The Great Escape” (Hills and Hollows Magazine)
Story by Katherine Teel for Best Things Missouri
11. Stonewater Cove, Shell Knob, MO
Something about water soothes and comforts us, and that’s even more true when we share it with someone we love. Stonewater Cove on Table Rock Lake takes advantage of its stunning natural location, and adds to its luxury, privacy, and the hospitality of a family-owned resort. When you add the in-house adventure offerings, and access to Branson and other regional destinations, this will be a vacation you and your sweetheart will never forget.