Nemacolin was one of the best surprises that I've had in a while. I do a lot of research on travel… a lot, like a ton, and this was on my list of places that I really wanted to visit. And while the pictures of the resort were over-the-top cool, I always have a little bit of skepticism when going to a new destination. Let me tell you, our trip there was so amazing my brother wants to go back. While that may not seem like a thing to you, it's huge! He has a problem committing to a vacation (if you're reading this, you know it's true, stop lying to yourself), so for him to go, have a great time and want to go back, earth shattering.
It started from the time we got there. You pass the manicured entrance, drive up the slightly winding road and then the main building appears. It towers over the landscape. The view from the front of the resort is spectacular, especially at sunset. So let me show you just why my kids cried when we were pulling away.
I love resorts that provide several options for accommodations, and this place is my heaven. The options not only offer larger spaces, but there’s a variety of different styles.
Like I discussed, when you pull up to the resort and see the main building, the Chateau Lafayette, it’s simply stunning. The building, inspired by the Ritz Paris, looks so regal. From the front of the building, you have views over the valley below. Walking into the lobby, you’re greeted with pure elegance. The chandeliers, the dark wood, it’s the perfect place to impress your family, friends or a new love. The Chateau double is a perfect option for families, as you’ll have 2 queen beds in the room. If you’re traveling as a couple, maybe the Chateau King would be a better option. If you want to get spoiled, stay at the Club level located on the fifth floor. Here you will have private access, butler service and the ability to relax in the Club level lounge. The rooms have a king bed, but also have a sitting area to spread out in. The resort also has a number of suites available. These suites range from a chateau double suite, which has 2 queen beds and a sitting room, to the presidential suite that has two bedrooms.
The next option brings me to the English countryside. The Lodge’s Tudor-style design is connected to the Chateau, and has similar room offerings (such as the Lodge double as opposed to the Chateau double.) The Lodge also has a number of suite options. The rooms in the Lodge are generally a little less than the Chateau, price wise.
Another option would be to stay at Falling Rock. While this Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond property offers direct access to the pro shop and the staging area for both golf courses, this option would be ideal for anyone. Any reservation here comes with access to the resorts outstanding butler service, which includes: ironing/steaming, packing/unpacking and milk and cookie turndown to name a couple.
The colonial inspired townhomes are perfect for those in between a house and a standard room. The 2 bedroom accommodations have full kitchens, multiple bathrooms and laundry. Some of the locations are pet friendly (if you’re looking for other options for your pet, check out the on-property Wooflands Resort & Spa.) This option would be a great option for couple traveling together.
You can also rent a luxury house. This was the direction that my family and I went in. For our group, a homey feel with a large number of rooms was the best option. We brought food with us and ate in the house for breakfast and an occasional lunch. This flexibility is one of the key perks of renting a house, whether it’s here or in any city. Our house was tucked into the woods at the back of the property and had a huge deck. I can’t begin to tell you how relaxing it was to start the day with a cup of coffee out there.
I'll also add that while you're away from the action the staff was amazing. I forgot to bring creamer for my coffee (I drink it equal parts sugar, creamer and coffee), and they drove out to the rental and delivered creamer. My family was grateful, as I get very grouchy when I'm caffeine deficient.
We ate on property the whole time that we were there, and I may have put on a couple. I couldn’t help myself! On the first night it was one of the best meals I’ve had. You know that feeling when you’ve ate all you can and you keep going, knowing full well that you’re not going to be able to move once you finish, that was me and the smoke brisket at The CaddyShack. The flavor begged you to finish. The restaurant also brought me closer to Okra, one of my cooking nemeses (I feel like if you start a website you can start having nemeses.) the deep fried pieces of Okra were spectacular. Yes, I realize not the healthiest way to eat, but I was treating myself. They do have an amazing smoked chicken as well as a bunch of options for the kids.
You can also visit the Lautrec, the 5 diamond restaurant at the resort. While I didn’t eat there, my brother and his wife did, and has become the gold standard for them. Still to this day every time we eat out, you'll get:
“Well, when we ate at Lautrec, they had this amazing fresh pasta, I wonder if this restaurant serves has anything even close to that. Probably not."
"At Lautrec, the duck was ..."
"When I was dining at Lautrec..."
We even had an intervention a couple weeks after getting home, so apparently it’s amazing.
The Aqueous takes the traditional steakhouses to a new level with its strong in-house dry aging and on-site cutting program. The restaurant also has seafood and chicken options and a personalized sommelier service.
The Autumn restaurant also exceeded expectations. While it was absolutely beautiful inside, with lots of nocks and cranies (as well as an outdoor patio), it was more than inviting to a family with young children. My meal start with a butternut squash soup which was poured at the table. The trout was light and flaky. It was amazing.
Nemacolin is truly a playground for adults and kids. We tried to do as much as we could but we still couldn't do everything we wanted to keep that in mind when you're planning.
I think the coolest attraction was the zoo animals. We rented a vacation house located at the back of the property so we had to drive through the grounds to get there. Well, as I stopped at an intersection, looked up and there's a line looking right at me! It kind of freaked me out, but the kids went wild. In between activities, we walked through the zoo and looked at the lions, bears and Buffalo.
If you're going to the Nemacolin to swim this place has great facilities. The main swimming pool is very well laid out so, even though there were a lot of people, we really did feel spaced out. When we are done with swimming outside, we thought we would take advantage of the indoor pool, seeing that no one was there. There were some pool toys, and we went wild, not worrying about smacking anyone else.
For all the golfers, I highly recommend Nemacolin. I didn't get to play and it is still one of my biggest regrets. With the elevation changes, the way the water comes into play and the mature trees around you, it is a truly amazing course.
Another thing that we did was visit the activity center. I'm terrified of heights, so of course the one thing that I signed up for, is climbing a huge rock wall that's 60 feet high. I overexerted myself (and felt like I was going to throw up) but it was all worth it because I showed my kids that I'm kind of like Spider-Man. The kids did the ropes course which included some obstacles and a short zip line into the woods. The Adventure Center has so many things to do: an arcade, quick jump, zip line. Click here for a full list of activities.
If you do overexert yourself, you can always head over to the spa. The Woodlands Spa offers a variety of packages and skin care services to fit your needs. They even have a kids program so they don't feel left out.
For anyone for the all those equestrian lovers out there, you can go for a horseback ride or a carriage ride.
The really cool thing about Nemacolin was outside of all the really cool activities they had, there were a lot of fun things to do as a family off on your own. Like we stumbled across the oversized croquet set that they have in their front lawn. We loved whacking the ball around and chasing it down after dinner or as we are waiting for dinner. They also have a really, really cool putt-putt course!
And lastly, the resort has its very own casino. It is open 24 hours a day and a shuttle will drop you off and pick you up as it is about a mile from the hotel (still on-property, Nemacolin is huge.)
Off-property, you can go over to the Laurel Caverns. The traditional tour lasts for 1 hour and you descend 150 feet. If you're interested in something more challenging, they also have spelunking. Here you descend 450 feet (45 stories)! I saw they heading out as we did the traditional tours and I let them know how crazy they were. During the traditional tour, my three-year-old was a little concerned at first, but once he started to kick around the sand and play with the water which ran across some walls, he totally forgot that he was 10 stories underground.
I hope you enjoyed this hotel highlight! If you do end up going, please let them know that I sent you, and don't forget to subscribe!
All photos courtesy of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts