Nemacolin; a Luxury Resort with a Big Heart

The Fat Bird is the Nemacolin mascot

My family and I were totally swept up by the aura of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Along with exquisite accommodations, first class restaurants and thrilling activities, the people of Nemacolin stand out for their hospitality and warmth. Although the resort is the height of luxury, there are no pretensions here.

Falling Rock’s infinity pool is for the boutique hotel’s guests only.

While pampering at resorts can sometimes feels awkward, it feels different at Nemacolin. The staff is sincerely pleased to have you visit, and they strive to provide the best experience possible. They will tell you it comes from enthusiastic management by the generous Hardy family, owners and developers of Nemacolin. The family and their staff have made this “adult Disneyland” into a wondrous place to get away from your hectic life and focus on each other.

Paradise Pool has a pool bar, 32 person hot tub and separate pool for adults

Lodging: Nemacolin’s expansive property has multiple lodging options from which to choose. Upon entering the resort, the sumptuous Chateau Lafayette will take your breath away for its regal elegance. The French architecture is reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles both inside and out.

Chateau Lafayette at Nemacolin

The original hotel is the handsome Bavarian-style Lodge, which was built in 1970 for Nemacolin’s first visitors who came here to hunt. The Lodge is connected to the Chateau via long hallways where the Hardy family has on display an notable collection of original works of fine art. Don’t miss the Library, a room filled with Tiffany Lamps or the charming Autumn Restaurant, with its outdoor pavilion and focus on farm-to-table cuisine.

The elegant entrance to The Lodge at Nemacolin

There are also stylish vacation homes on the golf course that sleep from 6 to 26, as well as townhouses for families who want to spread out and prepare a meal or two.

View from Falling Rock of the Mystic Rock Golf Course
In 2014, Nemacolin’s $30 million dollar resort-wide renovation involved refreshing the hotel accommodations, meeting spaces and the Links Townhomes. In addition, the Hardy family opened the Holistic Healing Center to provide acupuncture and yoga sessions in a therapeutic environment.
Falling Rock is a boutique style hotel at Nemacolin inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

If you have the means to splurge, don’t miss staying at Falling Rock—Nemacolin’s standout boutique hotel, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, the acclaimed American architect who designed three stunning homes in the Laurel Highlands including his famous masterpiece, Falling Water.

Suites at Falling Rock

During check-in at Falling Rock, our butler handed us champagne and ushered us into our room. The elegantly appointed suite has a balcony overlooking the infinity pool and Mystic Rock Golf Course. The beds were covered with custom-made linens, and turn-down service involved freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and a selection of other snacks and beverages you might request.

Cinnamon French Toast for Breakfast at Aqueous

To give you a full picture of why Falling Rock sets new standards in service, let me add a few details: In the morning, after a light tap on the door, we were served coffee in a silver pot at a time we specified, then we headed down to breakfast at Falling Rock’s Aqueous. The restaurant offers a panoramic view of the golf course, and the chef showcases clever innovation with traditional American fare.

Bathtub at Falling Water

After a busy day of activities at Nemacolin, our butler arrived after dinner to draw a fragrant bubble bath in the sunken tub; sides adorned with rose petals, candles and the latest magazines. It’s no wonder that Falling Rock was recognized by AAA as a Five Diamond Award winner and Forbes honored Falling Rock with their Five Star Award. It would be hard to find a better service experience than what this team provides.

Activities: One of the many surprising treats to be found at Nemacolin are the wildlife habitats. Nemacolin offers a popular safari ride where visitors can learn about and observe the animals. You can also drive or walk the property on your own. In one pen you’ll see a lion and lioness playfully roaring back and forth. In another, baby goats cavorting upon some boulders, while nearby, a group of zebras prance along on their sinewy legs. The best part is visiting the nursery where Nemacolin’s baby animals are nurtured into adulthood.
The Spa: The Woodlands Spa takes bliss to a new level. The design of Nemacolin’s sophisticated spa was inspired by the pastoral hillsides around the Laurel Highlands. Treatments feature natural and state-of-the-art products from Naturpathica and Dermalogica. During a 110-minute signature facial, I was transformed, detoxed and glowing. I think the spa is an integral part of staying at Nemacolin and not to be missed!

Adventure: We took a spin at the Off-Road Driving Academy, where we learned to drive white-knuckled down an unimaginably  challenging road course in the resort’s custom jeep. Our driver provided personalized instruction, directing us to maneuver through narrow trenches filled with muddy water, massive boulders and fallen trees. There’s a lot of bouncing around and shrieking when the mud comes within inches of flowing into the jeep.

Thrill seekers will also adore the 60-mph ride on Nemacolin’s Fatbird SuperFlyer, a 3,000′ dueling zip line. There’s also a huge climbing wall, ropes course, bowling, skiing, snow tubing, scenic chairlift, mountain biking, horseback riding, sledding, skeet shooting, fly fishing, paintball, mini golf, terrain park and arcade games—many are accessed at the Adventure Center, built in 2010.

Nemacolin’s Adventure Center
Truffle Fries at The Tavern


Nemacolin has dining options that range from Forbes Five Diamond to a enchanting family-friendly diner. From the sophisticated Lautrec to the casual Caddyshack, all Nemacolin restaurants have their own flair and menu. We really enjoyed our burgers at the Tavern. On our next trip, we hope to sample the five course dessert menu at Lautrec. Nemacolin features wine courses and tastings, and maintains  a Holistic Garden where they grow all kinds of produce and herbs for their restaurants.

The Holistic Garden at Nemacolin is behind Falling Rock
Dining Room at Lautrec at Nemacolin’s Chateau Lafayette

Visitors at Nemacolin will each have their own stories to tell. Every person can find something that suits them, surprises them, delights them and intrigues them. Just give yourself enough time to explore. I’m sure you’ll come home just as refreshed and excited as we were. And ready to return!

Zip Lines down the mountains of the Laurel Highlands at Nemacolin

family travel Kid Friendly Luxury Resorts MidAtlantic Travel Road Trips Travel

Travel and Dish View All →

Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.

1 Comment Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: