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This post was originally written in December of 2013, but was unintentionally not posted online. Out of the fall events, the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association convention and trade show was held at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a first class operation in the Laurel Highlands of Southeastern Pennsylvania. I have always been a firm believer that campground owners can learn a great deal from the operators of cruise lines, airlines, theme parks, and resorts like Nemacolin.
At the PCOA Convention, a mistake was made by the kitchen staff of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
As soon as it had been confirmed that it was impossible to prepare additional servings of food for this many people in a timely manner, the cash bar became an open bar. If someone complains that your restrooms are less than spotless, if a family’s sleep was interrupted by noise from an adjoining site, if a scheduled performer cancels out at the last minute, what is your response?
Going back to the restroom example, do you ever profile a guest as a “complainer” and dismiss his concerns? Particularly given the power and the persuasiveness of the social media and online review sites, you cannot simply hope that time heals all wounds. Nemacolin's design is a medley of country-cottage charm, chic European glamour, and nature-inspired warmth drawn from the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. Among the resort's impressive range of recreational facilities is an equestrian center, ski facility, shooting academy, retail boutiques, wildlife habitats, activity and adventure centers, and kids' programs. Interiors of the opulent Woodlands Spa complement its natural setting with earthy accents of twigs, wood, stone, and neutral colors combined with sophisticated water and crystal fixtures. Amenities include a full-service fitness center with squash court, salon, boutique, and wet treatment areas with an indoor pool, whirlpool tubs, and steam and sauna areas.
The spa's extensive menu encompasses massage, body therapies, Ayurvedic rituals, facials, nail care, waxing treatments, and hydrotherapy baths, including the Healing Detox Foot Bath.
My fiance took me to Nemacolin about 2 years ago, we are planning our return trip this fall. The spa is the most elegant, professional, clean spa I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
I was pleasantly surprised by my husband who treated me to a Nemacolin's spa treatment for my birthday. I visited the Spa at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in June 2010 and was pleasantly surprised by the variety of treatments available. If you have the opportunity to visit this spa, I highly recommend the Nemacolin signature facial.
As if it couldn't get any better, they add a hot stone massage for your hands and feet and neck! I brought my Grandmother and mom to the spa just for the day as a Christmas present it was very relaxing and we received excellent massages.
The Adventure Center, a Mecca for high-energy guests, comprises an off-road driving academy, climbing wall, ropes course, paintball, and miniature golf; the WildSide entertainment emporium, with its bowling alley, arcade, and exotic bird habitat, is also a good option for active families and groups. Sports aficionados have their choice of tennis, fly fishing, and sporting clays in the warmer months and skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing during winter.
Lautrec, the resort's fine dining restaurant famed for its contemporary Modern American cuisine and with 7 and 12 course tasting menus, boasts AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards. At Aqueous Restaurant, located in the the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Falling Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort,  interior furnishings are pleasing to the eye with geometric lighting fixtures, organic materials and colors. But you are there for the food and executive sous chef Sean Eckman and chef Seth Mahler create incredible plates that are inspired by the environment, local produce and a dedication to creating foods that combine healthy, regional products into works of culinary art. The warm wonderful taste of a summer fresh tomato is highlighted in chefs Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella salad.  The mozzarella made in house, the tomato lush and flavorful, dressed in a lovely herb vinaigrette a tart balsamic reduction with basil oil. Aqueous is only one of many dining experiences guests to Nemacolin can enjoy.  But it surely is one of the finest experiences one can have. During our visit, Mahler manned the steel counters of the Aqueous kitchen, and he did so without flaw.  Each dish perfect in presentation, weight, seasoning and size. Any good steak house has signature side dishes and Aqueous does not disappoint in its choices of baked, buttery whipped, croquette, or fried potatoes, classic creamed spinach and jumbo asparagus.  The hand breaded onion rings are a holy grail for the fan. However, it is the signature macaroni and cheese that adorned the perfect cut of ribeye I enjoyed.  The steak was incredible but the mac and cheese, well that was perfectly cooked pasta in a creamy sauce topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. Eckman continues the farm to table tradition sourcing cheeses from Firefly Farm located in Accident, Md.  Creating some of the finest artisan goat cheeses I have experienced, the Aqueous Signature Salad ($13) pairs grilled double cut bacon and tartly sweet poppy seed dressing with Firefly Farms blue cheese, fresh tomato, greens and a crisp slice of cucumber. Standing out is the garlic-basted halibut  ($31) served atop ricotta gnocchi, English peas and prosciutto topped with a caviar creme. The halibut in this dish retains its moistness and the sweet, flaky white meat, crisped on the top becomes a savory explosion with the gnocchi and prosciutto.  The caviar adding the perfect salt.
Dinner is finished so beautifully with the deserts of pastry chef Julie Mosesso.  Mosesso’s cheesecake with cherry foam and cherry compote provided a lovely, not overly sweet and uniquely tasting end to a meal that was nothing short of incredible. Guests to Aqueous should expect to spend at least two hours dining while enjoying the ever attentive, but never intrusive staff.   Chef refers to them as the “ghosts” of the dining room. However the administrations of these ghosts, from suggesting the perfect margarita for before dinner to sommelier Christopher Mikolowsky, who pairs wines from the Nemacolin cellar perfectly to each course, add exponentially to the meal. While Mikolowsky created numerous fine pairings to go with the variety of small plates that Malher sent out in an unending stream of culinary celebre,  my favorite was a bottle I would never have considered, but for this warm summer evening a pour of Whispering Angel Rose added the perfect finishing touch to a dining experience that was so very relaxed and comfortable and very gently elegant. Today, Jacquie edits and directs a staff of writers Communities Digital News, where you can read more of her entertainment, travel and culinary reviews. Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution.
Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read. Travel to Zadar, Croatia to listen to The Sea Organ an experimental musical instrument created by the architect Nikola Basic.

Nemacolin began as a rugged 33-room lodge and hunting preserve developed by Willard Rockwell (of Rockwell International fame). Thus, not only is this indefinable resort fun and ultra friendly, it is woman owned as well, which makes it even more appealing (to this woman, at least).
There are 318 rooms in six lodging options, from hotels to homes, the most obviously extravagant being the Chateau.
Rooms are quite elegant: Painted Chinese porcelain table lamps, tasseled curtains, carved spindle four-post beds, nature prints – all in pallets of money greens and kingly burgundies. As a travel writer looking for the “next best thing,” it’s rare that a resort compels me to return. Lodge rooms start at $270 per night, Chateau at $370 per night, Falling Rock at $510 per night. I was sharing my thoughts on my return flight from Orlando and the IAAPA Attractions Expo, the last and largest of my company’s fall trade shows. From a business marketing perspective, there is much to be learned from these conventions, and much of that knowledge may be gained by observing the operations and management of the host facilities.
The things that these businesses do to satisfy their customers – or the things that they do to alienate and annoy their customers – easily translate to the family camping industry.
One of our goals should be to minimize those mistakes, whether made directly ourselves or by one of our staff members. One of the meal functions was a pasta buffet and, almost incomprehensibly, the facility ran out of pasta before everyone had been served. A mistake had been made, and it was impossible for it to be unmade; however, the immediacy and the extent of the management response saved the day, maintained the reputation of the resort, and prevented PCOA from looking bad by association. This response in itself probably satisfied many of the inconvenienced guests, but management took a further step to insure everyone’s satisfaction.
If your response is simply that “stuff happens”, or if you assign the blame to somebody else, you are failing to provide exemplary service. Worse yet, do you ever take the attitude that everything is fine because 95% of your guests are content with the status quo? Several lodging options include AAA Five and Four Diamond-awarded accommodations, and meeting and event space comprise 32,000 square feet. Nemacolin's Wooflands pet resort and spa offers animal-friendly features such as accommodations, a grooming salon, exercise areas, and spa amenities. Guests cross a wooden bridge suspended over a serene pool to enter the 32,000-square-foot spa, which houses 40 treatment rooms. Since I recently signed-up on Spa Finder this is the first chance I had to review this spa.
After I was positioned in a let's say, vulnerable position, I felt a little inhibited and vulnerable. Between the long stokes of her upper arm used to worked out any stress in my back to the smells of the oil and sounds of Hawaii, I felt as though I was transported to my favorite place: Hawaii.
Often, spas don't offer many treatments to men or kids, but Nemacolin Woodlands has a wide range of spa services for men as well as couples, in addition to a separate spa just for kids! THey use both hot and cold stones as well as crystals & gemstones to open your energy chakras.
The infusers they use really add to the place with the smell of all these different calming scents and has wonderful decoration. I stayed in beautiful rooms at the Chateau and was able to enjoy several services at the spa.
Expert and novice golfers alike can hit the links on two courses or head to the practice center or golf academy for one-on-one instruction. Adult travelers will enjoy accommodations at Falling Rock, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired boutique hotel set on the 18th green of one of the property's golf courses.
The AAA Four Diamond-awarded Aqueous is a sophisticated take on the classic steakhouse, while the family-style Autumn serves Italian specialties. Steaks are served with a variety of sauces – classic bearnaise, brandy peppercorn blue cheese butter, bordelaise – which is incredible I aside – and horseradish cream. The menu also offers a filet mignon and New York strip, or for something different, the pecan-crusted double-cut lambchop ($38) or honey mustard brined porkchop ($34). If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.
In 1987 Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber, discovered Nemacolin while searching close to Pittsburgh for property to suit his angler daughter, Maggie. Plus, Nemacolin puts more people to work (900 – 1200 depending on season) than any other employer in the Laurel Highlands.
When Nemacolin’s Mystic Rock was included on the PGA Tour, pro-golfers asked for an RV Park and the Hardy’s delivered. Highlighting the best of Namacolin’s 25,000-bottle wine cellar (21,000 stocked right now), you can dine on contemporary, lighter French cuisine beneath the lithographs of famous French artists including Henri Toulouse Lautrec.
Casual, and overlooking Links Golf Course, the kitchen is best at Smoked Brisket Sandwich ($12), Corn and Crab Fritters ($11) and the scrape-the-skillet decadent Cast Iron Chocolate Cookie ($8) for dessert.
Dressed up with twinkling chandeliers – in the elegant lobby and in each room – decor could have gone way wrong in the hands of, say, Donald Trump. But even if you’re not eleven years old, sign up for an on-site Safari Tour ($90 per person), which brings you within arms length of lions, tigers and bears. The combination of warm, welcoming staff and a dizzying number of activities and things to see call me back. I took that opportunity to pause and reflect upon my recent experiences … and how they can be applied to your business. We are all working within the broader tourism and outdoor recreation industries – where customer service is the key component of our businesses, but many of us tend to learn only from our peers, in this case fellow campground owners.

Regardless of your particular business, your customers want to be treated with respect and to be provided with exceptional service. In fact, they ran out of pasta before perhaps half of the people in the dining room had been served. In the trade show hall the following morning, a member of the resort’s management staff took to the microphone to personally apologize for what should not have occurred the evening before. We are all willing – perhaps even anxious – to pardon mistakes, but few people are willing to tolerate a business that demonstrates that it does not care.
If a guest tells you that your restroom facilities require attention, it is time for you to drop what you are doing and personally look into the issue. A lack of response – or an inadequate response – has the capability of harming your business both immeasurably and indefinitely. I tried the Water Path Ritual for something different but wouldn't recommend this for the money.
Initally, everything seemed like it was going to be a "normal" treatment: nice hawaiin music playing, I got to pick a sarong but all the while, I knew something was different.
Having said that, what began next was transforming and I can say I have never experienced a better massage in my life.
Culture enthusiasts can take advantage of wine tastings, culinary classes, and daily tours of the resort's $45-million private art collection, while nature enthusiasts can explore the Wildlife Academy with its petting zoo.
Chateau Lafayette fosters a sophisticated feel, with vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and two-story Paladin windows, while the English country inn-inspired Lodge is inviting, with spacious rooms and ample lobby and common areas. It’s an award-winning golf course (Pete Dye designed Mystic Rock, The Links) and Golf Academy.
Or in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired 5-Diamond inn, Falling Rock, complete with Rolls Royce driving chauffeurs. The resort has since grown organically from 550 acres in 1987 to 2,000 today, reflecting the interests of both Joe and Maggie, whom Joe appointed CEO of both Nemacolin and 84 Lumber in the mid-90’s.
But here, the guest chambers are less Louis XIV outrageous and more French Country Home subtle. If you’d like, feed them through an ingenious method that employs a long steel rod, raw meat and protective gates. The situation made the resort look bad and made its guests unhappy – regardless of the quality of their prior experience.
He then directed anyone who had been inconvenienced to see one of the several staff members at his side for a certificate that could be redeemed for a free night’s stay over the course of the following year. Ask the guess to show you the problem that you might have been missing all along but that is capable of creating an indelible impression upon a new set of eyes. Think of yourself as the guest – and how you would expect to be treated under the circumstances.
Townhouses are an ideal choice for families or groups; Luxury Homes provide for more secluded stays. Wine connoisseurs will appreciate Nemacolin's 17,000-bottle wine cellar; tastings are held by the resort's sommeliers on select days. Colors bring in the hues of the outdoors so that visually, the room extends out over the courses to the cool greens of the natural forest. At just $85 for two, with two “opportunities” – sides that range from Brussels Sprouts to the kick-ass Radiatori Pasta Mac and Cheese – prices at this mid-Century Modern designed restaurant are rather reasonable for one of Pennsylvania’s finest restaurants. Wildlife guides are experts in their fields and can discuss the habits and backgrounds of all the animals you’ll see.
Empathize with your guest, apologize if necessary, then take immediate measure to rectify the situation. When mistakes are inevitably made, go out of your way to overcompensate as rapidly as possible. We were the only ones there and they came in to provide water and cold neck towels as we relaxed. Gale is also adept at non-beef dishes – Elk Chops, “Veggie Meatloaf” and a wonderful Candied Salmon appetizer, which emphasize his considerable kitchen skills. And, to add to the fun (and again, quirkiness) the tour ends at the Bear enclosure where you’ll swap raw chicken for marshmallows. The resort had recovered from an awkward and embarrassing situation, and any lingering dissatisfaction from the previous night had been totally reversed in grand style.
Worse yet, never assume that most of your guests are content and that you can simply pretend that nothing bad ever happened.
It’s got a climbing wall, a zip-line, x-country skiing, tubing, horseback riding, dogsled rides, canopy tours, paintball. The grounds are extensive & they offer many other activities at the resort in addition to the spa. If they happen to have been first-time campers, you may have just poisoned them toward the entire camping experience. Many of the treatments they offer have been developed by their staff here & are unique to this spa.
Try the Vitality Therapy or for a real treat, one of the Spa Packages that offer a full range of treatment for one price.

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