Pocono Manor Resort and Spa – Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania

REVIEW:

The Inn at Pocono Manor, which was recently rebranded as Pocono Manor Resort & Spa was birthed by inhabitant Quakers in 1902 when they laid the stonework for the original section of the lodge as well as several outer buildings that now help to form the resort and several of its onsite amenities. Although the property has undergone several additions and upgrades over the years, including extensions to the lodge itself, the antiquity of the original section has earned Pocono Manor a place on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Owned by Highgate Hotels, Pocono Manor is the sister property to Split Rock Resort, approximately 30 minutes (22 miles) away.

Today, this well-regarded property is a self-contained community and a full-fledged resort that includes 4 restaurants in the main lodge: The Mountainview Dining Room for a well-varied and tasty buffet breakfast among picture windows that feature stunning mountain scenery; The Exchange for an upscale dining experience with a unique, gourmet menu; The Lamplighter Bar & Grill with a limited menu of chicken wings, hamburgers, and hot dogs, etc; and Little Pocono Pizzeria for cheesy pizzas made with hand rolled dough. They also carry 6 flavors of homemade ice cream made extra sweet and flavorful with a bit of additional butter fat.  As the staff will tell you, it looks like hell on the hips but tastes great on the tongue.  They are NOT wrong.

Both the Lamplighter and Little Pocono Pizzeria allow guests to eat in or take out. The pizzeria is quite small with only 3 tables for seating, but it is undeniably charming and is built into an area of the main floor that originally served as a library.  To conserve some of the early look and feel, the bookcases on the far wall have been retained along with the books.  Be forewarned – the ooey-gooey pizza here serves up a LOT of cheese and no other toppings, and it takes approximately 40 minutes to be made and served.  But the surroundings help to keep guests occupied, and the taste is well worth it in the end.  It’s delicious.

Also on site is a children’s playground, and a modern and well-equipped fitness complex occupying 2 floors of a building just up the street from the lodge.  A full-size tennis/volleyball court is incorporated into the back of the building. Afterward, guests can unwind at Laurel Spa located across from the main lodge.

Golfers can enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course that has been played by such greats as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, and celebrities like Bob Hope and former President Gerald Ford.  Attached to the expansive course are a well-stocked Pro Shop and The 19th Hole bar and grill, where the walls are lined with autographed photos of the aforementioned celebrities. There are 2 courses – East and West, with the East course built in 1929 by architect Donald Ross.  The course stays true to its early roots with British inspiration, favoring grass bunkers and natural hazards such as the many trees and the hilly lay of the land.  So don’t expect a modern, landscaped club full of gardens and fountains. As a matter of fact, cart paths are showing signs of wear and tear with cracking on the outer edges. That said, it’s really quite scenic and refreshing, and its immense popularity keeps enthusiastic golfers on the course from dawn to dusk. For a visual tour of the historic course, click HERE.

A lobby gift shop boasts plenty of Pocono Manor merchandise, and an outdoor pool and patio area feature live entertainment on a Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer months.

The fenced-in pool is located just outside the main entrance, between the main lodge and outlying lodges. A tad small considering the size of the resort, but it is clean and inviting with plenty of chaise lounges and tables with umbrellas. Just beyond the fence is an outdoor bar and entertainment area, as well as hammock-like swings hanging from the trees. There is also a cozy family firepit area that serves up nightly S’mores.  This communal area proves to be a great place to meet other guests, bring kids and families together, and generally have a good time both day and night.

An events and activities building sits just beyond the pool and hosts an annual event called A Fireside Christmas, where families can gather around a tree, visit with Santa, and indulge in an old-fashioned holiday atmosphere.

Manor Sports is a quaint building that resembles a hunting cabin and is the hub of non-stop action while arranging a variety of activities including archery, trap shooting, BB guns, lawn games, bike rentals, and fly fishing in the spring and summer months, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months. Overseeing it all is a passionate, sweetheart of a man named Mike, who quite possibly knows more about Pocono Manor than the Quakers that built it.  If he isn’t teaching guests the proper way to hold a shotgun for trap shooting, he’s conducting narrated golf cart tours of the sprawling property which includes some rental cottages as well as several luxury residences for some of America’s most notable business persons, former FBI agents, and retired government officials.

For guests seeking more activities, there is a sizeable arcade, a small movie theater, and an indoor pool located on the lower floor of the main lodge.  So even on rainy days, there’s always something to do.

Also on site is a small stable for horseback riding, which serves the resort as well as outside guests.  A small petting farm is attached to the horse stable and office, with a $3 admission fee. Perhaps ‘petting farm’ is a bit of an overstatement given that it houses just a handful of animals including 2 mini donkeys, 2 goats, a pig and some chickens, but small children no doubt will love it. As for horseback experiences, two riding packages are available – a one-hour guided tour that covers basic trails through the forest and is recommended for novice riders or a two-hour package that takes experienced guests on a more complicated ride to a local waterfall.

The resort is currently working on developing a third trail through the forest.  Helmets are optional for the ride but are strongly recommended considering the many low hanging tree branches that riders will encounter. Bear in mind that the trails here are quite rugged, even for the novice 1-hour ride, as opposed to completely cleared like many horseback experiences. Consequently, riders should be prepared for rocks, fallen trees and branches, overgrown bushes and some mud puddles if there has been a recent rain. That isn’t to say that it’s treacherous but it does require some caution.

An added bonus of the onsite stable is that some of the horses are rescues.

Considering the distance from the lodge to the Fitness Center, Manor Sports, the stables and golf course, there is a handy multi-passenger shuttle van available for guests. It goes where it’s needed so you might have to wait a few minutes as it is dispatched from another location, but it will take you where you need to go.

Recently renovated rooms in the main lodge include period piece furniture and decor in colors of cream and pale green. A small writing desk and a seating area with a chair or padded bench are present in every room. Black and white antique photos of the resort and its early guests are framed on the walls. Old meets new with the addition of mini fridges in some of the rooms, plus LED flat screen TVs and in-room wi-fi.

Essentially, the regular rooms are a standard layout, perhaps on the small side, and with an early century flare.  However, the Deluxe Double Room takes accommodations up a notch with much more space, a lighted closet with a full-length mirror, and a bigger bathroom with newer fixtures.

There are plenty of electrical outlets in every room, some conveniently built into lamp bases and end tables, while others quite literally line the baseboards approximately a foot apart, making it possible for guests to plug in every electronic they own and still have outlets left over.

Rooms are clean and charming, and housekeeping does an excellent job of keeping everything stocked. The sheets are especially soft and the bath towels are thick. New fixtures have been installed in the standard size bathroom; however, it should be noted that regulating water temperature in the shower is difficult due to sensitive nozzle controls.

Seeing as our experience was with the main lodge, we are unable to comment on rooms in the Spruce or Laurel lodges.

The cost of wi-fi is included in the mandatory resort fee of $21.20US per room per night, which also includes access to the pools and fitness center, parking, local phone calls, and shuttle service.

 

PROS:  Great Location. Close to Pocono Raceway, water parks and adventure parks, Mount Airy Casino, and an outlet mall. The grounds are exceptionally scenic, views are spectacular. Rooms are recently renovated and clean. Brand new Sealy mattresses. LOTS of onsite activities are available so there is plenty to do without ever having to leave the resort.  However, be sure to clarify which of these activities are included with your stay and which are pay as you go so you aren’t caught off guard.  The Mountainview Dining Room serves an excellent buffet breakfast. TOP NOTCH staff – very helpful, friendly and willing to go above and beyond to please guests. Personalized service and several extra niceties within the resort come together to create a memorable experience. Check-in and out is fast and easy. This is a popular location year-round due to the resort’s ability to change with the seasons and adopt winter or summer sports.  The age of the resort and the time period decor and ambiance are undeniably charming… however, the age comes with a few understandable drawbacks, as noted in CONS.

 

CONS: Rooms in the main lodge (original building) are noticeably noisy – the aged walls are thin so voices and movement in neighboring rooms and hallways can be easily heard, especially the sound of doors closing, or sometimes slamming since the age of the building experiences some mild warping of floors and door frames, thus requiring a good push or pull.  Similarly, weekend entertainment by the pool, which lasts until 11:00 pm, is a nice extra for guests wishing to participate; however, for those looking for an early night or trying to get young children to sleep, the live music easily permeates the rooms that are poolside.  Water temperature is difficult to regulate and the shower pressure is weak. Ceiling damage is noted in some rooms and common areas.  Self-parking is encompassed in the mandatory resort fee; however, a common complaint is that parking is inadequate for the size of the resort. 

 

Check out our video for an overview of the property.  

 

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One thought on “Pocono Manor Resort and Spa – Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania

  • December 11, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Stayed here for a weekend in the fall and had mixed feelings about the place. The area is beautiful, the history is intresting, the staff are friendly, and there is a lot to keep guests busy. But the restaurants are way overpriced especialy for families, some of the activities are lame and need new equipment, and the buildings need some serious work. They claim they were just renovated so i cant imagine what it must have looked like before because theres still ceiling damage everywhere you look, floors and doors are warped and the standard rooms are super small and drab. Its not terrible but its not great.

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