Bushkill Inn & Conference Center – Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

REVIEW:

The Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania has long been a vacation hot spot that stems back to the early 1900’s when well-to-do New Yorkers targeted the beauty and tranquility of the area as the ideal weekend retreat.  Since then, tourism has soared in the Poconos with the addition of several hotels, resorts, attractions and more.

One of those additions is Bushkill Inn and Conference Center, a privately-owned, massive and multifaceted resort that’s just 2 minutes from the natural beauty of Bushkill Falls.  Conveniently located, the resort is also just minutes from the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center and the Pocono Indian Museum. For sports, Shawnee Ski Mountain and Shawnee Golf Course are within 11 miles, Mount Pocono is also just 11 miles away for shopping and dining. Mount Airy Casino is within 26 miles, and Pocono Raceway is only 43 miles away with quick drive on the highway.

No doubt, it’s imperative to have a car at your disposal when staying at Bushkill Inn, and if you do, the options for dining and entertainment are endless.

Set on the Pocmont Loop in a very scenic and quiet area of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, this hotel features an adjacent pond with a fountain and a raised deck seating area for guests wishing to kick back for a while.  Of all the resorts in the region, Bushkill Inn is among the most modern with an expansive lobby that features a waterfall wall in tribute to Bushkill Falls just down the road.

The property includes 2 dining facilities (a steakhouse aptly named The Steakhouse, and a lounge serving typical pub food).  Guests can also find 2 bars; and a spa offering massages, body wraps, aromatherapy, and facials. There is also a kid’s arcade, indoor and outdoor pools, a tennis court, a small fitness center open round the clock, and a compact 2-computer ‘business center’ set into an alcove off the lobby. Complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel is a handy bonus, as is complimentary self-parking.

Considering the status as a conference center, it goes without saying that Bushkill also offers spacious meeting and event space.

Accommodations include 124 rooms consisting of 3 different configurations – Premiere Queen (essentially a regular hotel room with 2 queen beds), a Junior Queen Suite (2 Queen beds and sitting area) and a King Suite (a one bedroom suite with a king bed and a separate living room with a sofa bed. Also in the suite is a desk/work area, 2 TVs, and a bar with a coffee maker and fridge). All rooms contain pillowtop beds, iPod docks, terry robes, and flat-screen TVs. These rooms are also available as Handicapped Accessible.

In addition to room rates that span from $150-$275 per night (US funds, peak season) Bushkill Inn charges a daily resort fee of $10 per accommodation. Rental cottages are also on site, allowing large families to stay together.

With so very much going for it, one would think that Bushkill Inn is a 5-star resort. Unfortunately, it’s not. Most hotel booking sites designate it as a 3-star, and there are just as many bad reviews as there are good ones. We wondered about the 50/50 split in opinion, and our recent experience at the resort revealed why.

For the purpose of our review, we opted for a King Suite. We found the unit to be relatively clean, well appointed, and surprisingly spacious. A walkout to a private patio area with a small garden is a nice touch. But being on the main floor of the resort, it was unnerving that the lock on the sliding door was broken, requiring a call to maintenance.  A heating/AC unit is located in the sitting area as well as in the bedroom so guests have control of the temperature in all areas of the suite. Unfortunately, cool quickly escalates to cold so its difficult to regulate and remain comfortable. The bar area contains two mini fridges and lots of counter space.

The bedroom is stylish and comfortable with plenty of storage and the mattress felt new.  And with double couches in the living area plus two chairs, there is plenty of seating.  To our surprise, both couches converted to sofa beds; however, in our particular unit, they were sorely in need of replacing.  Mattresses on both sofa beds were so worn they sagged in the middle with springs pushing through. Not to mention that when opened to a bed, it was easy to see under the sofa where clearly it had not been vacuumed in quite a while.

So it would seem this pattern of negatives offsetting the positives would continue.  For example, the bathroom is large and modern, with access on either side, from the living area or bedroom. Upscale bath products are offered on the counter, an abundance of fluffy towels are provided, a lighted make-up mirror is handily on a swivel allowing it to be pulled closer, and there is a small TV screen built into the main mirror.  Sadly, our TV did not work.  The separate shower stall is a nice touch but the water pressure is severely lacking and the all-glass door allows water to seep out the bottom and down the sloped tile onto the bathroom floor, which is slippery when wet. Extra caution is needed when stepping out of the shower.

Our key cards stopped working shortly after we arrived due to a low battery on the system.  However, maintenance did not bother to tend to the matter despite having us to return to the front desk numerous times to have the cards repeatedly reset. Eventually, we were given a regular key to bypass the system.

The outdoor pool area is pretty but plain, with only a few black lounges on either side. However, upon closer inspection, there were clumps of dirt on the bottom of the pool as though it had not been cleaned in a while.

A stroll through the resort revealed a very beautiful, modern, and well laid out property but with sporadic water damage to hallway ceilings, incidents of ripped wallpaper, and areas of soiled carpet. Amenities, including restaurants, were randomly closed without notice and front desk staffers were few and far between to answer phones or address problems…. like the one we had the night before we were due to check in and suddenly received an email informing us that our reservations had been canceled.

As it turned out, management had rescinded a multitude of reservations for that weekend in order to clear the way for a massive wedding for a friend of the owner. Since the wedding party and its multitude of guests were coming from NYC, the owner wanted all rooms freed up to give everyone a place to stay. Unfortunately, that decision was not made until 18 hours before we were due to check in, and since the staff is unable to make long distance calls to guests outside the USA, we learned of the abrupt change via an email from management who tried to convince us to rebook for another time.  When we explained that our 3-day weekend entailed reservations at several Pocono attractions and restaurants, none of which could be changed, Bushkill finally decided to honor our reservations along with a few other disgruntled travelers, some of which were relocated to the rental cottages.

It didn’t become clear as to how all of us would be affected by the owner’s decision to host a private event until we discovered that ALL amenities/facilities had been closed in favor of catering to the wedding guests. We also discovered that housekeeping staff had been given the weekend off, opting to clean up the rooms and resort after the wedding guests checked out.  This left regular guests without housekeeping services for the entire weekend.  No clean towels or sheets; no replenishing of toilet paper or tissues, bath products, glasses, or coffee making supplies.  Not even the trash cans were emptied.

We later learned via several hotel staffers, as well as some locals that are familiar with the resort, that last minute reservation cancelations are happening sporadically at the hands of the new owner, who is known to use the resort and its facilities for personal entertainment.

We now understand how Bushkill Inn reviews run the gamut between excellent and terrible, good and bad, and everything in between.  It likely has to do with which unit people are assigned to as their accommodations and whether that particular unit has issues, whether amenities are open or closed at the time of their stay, whether there was enough staff on hand to tend to needs during their stay, and if they’ve had to fight to keep their reservations.

 

PROS:  Reasonable Rates. Several Accommodation Options. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Lots of Amenities (unfortunately; however, due to their closure, we have no knowledge of how they rate). Beautiful surroundings. Great location for hiking and visits to Bushkill Falls. For the most part, the resort is clean and definitely more modern than many others in the area.  

CONS:  Some areas of the property are in need of repair or at least a little TLC. Cable TV reception has a tendency to fail during rain and storms.  Resort is understaffed. Reservations have the potential to be canceled without much notice or explanation.

 

Lead Photo courtesy of Bushkill Inn

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