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Weekend Luxury Away From The Strip

Weekend Luxury Away From The Strip

  • Photos by Lana Eklund
  • This story originally appeared in the December 2023 food and drink issue of COMO Magazine.
One bedroom Lakeview Deluxe Villa View from the balcony
One bedroom Lakeview Deluxe Villa View from the balcony
One bedroom lakeview deluxe villa
One bedroom lakeview deluxe villa living room
Overhead view of the lake coast +7
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One bedroom Lakeview Deluxe Villa View from the balcony

Westgate Branson Resorts offers country and lakeview villas at Table Rock Lake.

If you’ve lived in Missouri for a while, there’s a good chance you have visited Branson. Whether to have fun at Silver Dollar City, take in a live show, go shopping, or enjoy the outdoor living that the Ozarks offer, there’s something for everyone in Branson.

The strip in Branson is what many think of — that’s where the action is — the theaters, the wax museum, the aquarium, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. But if you haven’t made your way to Table Rock Lake, just north of the Arkansas border, you’ve been missing out. Discover a rustic oasis at Westgate Branson Woods Resort, or a gorgeous lake view from Westgate Branson Lakes Resort, both on the east side of Table Rock Lake and each just fifteen to twenty minutes from the strip.

Family-friendly with onsite recreation access to the lake and popular trails, the Westgate Branson resorts invite you to come make memories any time of year.

Not the Only Man Made Wonder in the Ozarks

About thirty years after the Lake of the Ozarks was created by damming the Osage River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a dam on the White River, which snakes its way through Arkansas up into southern Missouri. The dam was built in the 1950s, under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1938 for flood control and generating hydroelectric power. Lake Taneycomo near Forsyth, Missouri, and Table Rock Lake are both the result of dams on the White River.  Table Rock Lake gets its name from a table-like rock formation in the former village of Table Rock (annexed by Branson in 2004), not far from the dam.

The lake sees more than half a million visitors each year to go boating, swimming, water skiing, camping, hiking, and let’s not forget the fishing. The lake is well-stocked with smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, and, according to the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce, it annually lands on national lists as being among the country’s top 100 bass lakes. And with nearly 800 miles of shoreline, a boat isn’t a necessity to enjoy some fishing. As you might imagine, tourism is a big part of the economy at Table Rock Lake, which includes the Woods and Lakes resorts.

Both resorts were acquired by Westgate in 2004 from GrandVistaResorts. Since then, both have undergone extensive changes and renovations. 

Lakehouse or Cabin in the Woods?

“Situated in the Ozarks, we offer a picturesque and serene backdrop for a visit to Branson, setting the scene for a true country getaway,” explains Westgate Branson Woods Resort general manager Brian Grabowski about the resort, which is nestled on 145 wooded acres in the Ozarks. 

“Westgate Branson Woods villas can feel more like a cozy log cabin than a traditional hotel room,” Grabowski continues. His description emphasizes the rustic design and each villa comes stocked with a full kitchen and dining area, a living room complete with a fireplace, a separate bedroom, washer and dryer, and a terrace overlooking the sweeping Ozark Mountains.

In 2021, the Woods Resort underwent a $3.2 million renovation, bringing fresh, new decor to its villas.

The updated accommodations feature freshly painted walls and décor in light, airy tones and textures; stunning new flooring; updated kitchen appliances; and luxury bathroom fixtures, including bright vanities and countertops with added back-lit mirrors. The multi-million-dollar upgrade also brought an all-new spa to the outdoor heated pool, allowing visitors to enjoy a relaxing dip with a breathtaking view no matter the time of year.

“We often find November and December are some of our busiest months due to Branson being such a vibrant city during the holidays, as well as the summers when families are on summer break,” Grabowski says.

In 2020, the Lakes Resort completed an $8.2 million renovation to its 152 guest villas, lobby, marketplace (food and souvenirs), fitness center, pool, and more. 

“Our sister property (Lakes) offers stunning views of Table Rock Lake and feels akin to staying at a relative’s lake house,” Grabowski says.

Jana Abernathy is an account manager with the Zimmerman Agency, a Florida-based firm that handles public relations for the Branson resorts. Westgate Resorts is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

“The Nantucket-inspired villa fixtures, including beautiful shiplap accent walls, are clean in design, featuring soft, neutral tones with a splash of aqua that creates a calming, lakeside-chic atmosphere,” Abernathy explains. “Comfortable lounge seating was added to the lobby and Marketplace, as well as new reception and concierge desks, retail fixtures, and new flooring throughout the property.”

Both resorts are known for their luxury villas that are ideal for a family of four or more who wants room to spread out. At Woods, options include studio and one- and two-bedroom villas, including deluxe/grand villas, ranging in square feet from 240 to 1,400. Accommodations at the Lakes include one- and two-bedroom villas (as well as deluxe lake-view villas) that range in square feet from 515 to 1,040. And the lake views will have you coming back year after year.

Things to Eat, Stuff to Do

Another thing to love about each resort is the loads of activities that ensure a great day of vacation even if it’s a rainout. At Woods, head over to the Wilderness Lodge to find snacks, treats, and light groceries, along with Starbucks coffee at The Marketplace — the perfect pit stop before heading out on one of the nearby hiking trails. Want something more substantial? Cordovano Joe’s Authentic New York Style Pizza onsite will have you coming back again and again for a pie, breadsticks, subs, salads, wings, pasta, and sandwiches delivered to your villa or even poolside.

The Woods is just fifteen minutes from Silver Dollar City and the strip, but if you need a day inside, the resort has loads to do.

There are three pools — two outdoor and one indoor — at Woods, Abernathy says. Activities include mini golf, sand volleyball, two half-court basketball spaces, shuffleboard, games, picnic areas, fireplaces, and grilling areas. One of Branson’s most visited walking trails, the Waterfall Trail, starts at the entrance of the resort at the security gate.

Over at Lakes, take in a show without leaving the resort. Each Tuesday, Lakes hosts an “extravaganza show” where several of Branson’s most popular shows come to the property and perform for guests while they enjoy a dinner prepared by the resort — giving guests a taste of Branson entertainment without having to leave the property, Brian says. While there is no onsite dining at the Lakes, you’re not more than fifteen minutes away from some of the area’s most popular restaurants.

Whether you want a rustic, country getaway, or lakehouse vacation that rivals any ocean-front vacation, you can’t go wrong with either Westgate Branson Woods Resort or Westgate Branson Lakes Resort. 

Westgate Branson Woods Resort
2201 Roark Valley Road
Branson, MO

Westgate Branson Lakes Resort
750 Emerald Pointe Drive
Hollister, MO

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