It’s safe to say that there are very few places where you can find an award-winning restaurant, an interactive wildlife tour, two 18-hole golf courses, a Forbes Four-Star spa, an off-road driving academy, mountain biking trails and a casino boasting 600 slots and 28 tables, all existing in peaceful cohabitation. Although it sounds impossible, those are just a few of the attractions found at the 2,000-acre Nemacolin Woodlands Resort located in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands.
Founded in 1987 by Joseph A. Hardy III and owned today by his daughter, Maggie Hardy-Magerko, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is home to 318 guestrooms, suites, townhouses and private luxury homes, including the Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Falling Rock boutique mountain hotel. Whether it’s dining at Lautrec, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond restaurant; taking a course in archery or fly fishing; participating in one of many adventure activities, including ropes courses, wall climbing and zip-lining, the resort’s claim to fame is that it offers something to everyone.
“We have as many activities as any other resort out there,” General Manager Chris Plummer says. “People know when they come to Nemacolin they will be staying at one of the nicest resorts in the country and have choices that they can’t find anywhere else. We make it easy for guests to do adventure activities like zip-lining and whitewater rafting. Our guests come from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, D.C., New Jersey and Columbus, [Ohio]. They come here for the choices and to try something new that they’ve never had access to before.”
Nemacolin recently invested in two new projects that have added even more amenities to the resort. Last December, it opened its new Sundial Lodge to replace its former ski lodge that was destroyed in a fire. More than a ski lodge, however, Sundial serves as the centralized hub for the Adventure Center. It also features restaurant and bar Apex, an eight-lane bowling alley, a full-service arcade, a sporting goods rental shop and a retail shop.
This year, the resort debuted Lady Luck Casino – a project that had been in the planning stages for the past eight or nine years, according to Plummer. The casino features 600 slot machines, 28 table games, live entertainment and a casual-dining restaurant and lounge.
“Pennsylvania law allowed for two category-three casinos at existing resorts and since we’re all about adding something for everyone, we saw it as an opportunity to add another amenity for our guests,” Plummer says.
The casino opened July 1 and Plummer says it gives guests another daytime and nightlife option in addition to the resort’s numerous activities.
“This is different from other casinos that are typically the drivers of a hotel or restaurant,” Plummer explains. “It’s the exact opposite here. We see this as another amenity just as we see our golf course and spa.”
With the array of options at Nemacolin, the resort created a new concierge service. The Nemacolin Experience Department coordinates with guests prior to their arrivals to lay out the many amenities they can explore.
“This department is really unlike anything else,” Plummer explains. “A host will pre-call the guests and these hosts are trained in the highest degree of service. ‘No’ is not an answer we will give to a guest. Anything goes for whatever the guest wants to experience.
“There is a lot to do at Nemacolin so we try to get to guests before they get here so we can plan their trip. We do this because we know that our guests don’t have a lot of off-time. They work hard when they are at home and we want to make sure they get the full value from the time they spend here.”
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