This past weekend the family and I ventured two hours out of NYC to Woodloch Pines Resort, a family destination located in Hawley, PA owned by the Kiesandahl family for 52 years. John Kiesandahl took over the business from his mother and father, Mary and the late Harry Kiesandahl, and has successfully maintained the ideal his parents set for the resort, which was to provide excellent service and make their guests feel welcomed.
We arrived on a Friday night after driving through a series of winding roads surrounded by woodsy terrain and shallow creeks. We were late for the scheduled dinner, but were informed there was a restaurant nearby on the resort where we could grab some food. The Grille Room is pricey (with a $13.00 burgers and $23 grilled pork chops) but the food was good and service was quick.
Our suite, one of the Springbrook Suites, consisted of one bedroom with 2 baths, a wet bar, and 2 TVs. There are 2 queen beds in bedroom and one queen pullout in the living room. The suites also come with balconies, which overlook Lake Teedyuskung. The view from the suites is gorgeous, and a wonderful way to wake up in the mornings.
Woodloch offers free shuttle service to anywhere on the complex, but being New Yorkers used to walking all the time, we found that everything was a short walk away and easy to get to.
Because our stay included the All-American Plan, we met at the set times in the dining area of The Main Lodge, and sat at the table assigned to us throughout our entire stay, which luckily was next to a large window overlooking the lake, and enjoyed large-portioned, delicious meals. Oh, and their homemade bread is de-li-cious!
The service was amazing. As we entered the dining area each morning and evening we were greeted by members of the Kiesandahl family as well as staff. I appreciated the gesture, and you could tell other guests did as well. But for the kids it was all about the character visits, from Scooby Doo to Nintendo’s Mario, they were there, different ones every day to the excitement of the many children that entered the dining area for breakfast and dinner!
Our server, Judy, was lovely and attentive each time we saw her. We sat next to a family who was headed by the grandparents, with their children, their children’s spouses, and their grandchildren. This family has been visiting the resort each year regularly for over 20 years. We also sat next to another family, The Skinners, headed by mom and dad, with their 3 children (their son less than a year old) and it was their first time there. All spoke highly of their experience at the resort and the wonderful staff they’ve encountered there.
Saturday was beautiful and sunny, and so we decided to take part in as many activities outside as we could. We rode a paddle boat out onto the lake, we sat at the beach and took in some sun, we played at the many outdoor playgrounds, took a couple of swings at the batting cage, rode the go-carts (more than thrice), practiced our mark at the shooting range, played mini golf, joined in on a kickball game, and cheered on the winners of the scavenger hunt.
On Sunday, when the weather was cooler and rainy, we got creative in the arts and crafts room, rode the bumper cars, spent time in the entertainment room which has a ping pong table, pool table, and electronic games such as Guitar Hero. The little ones ran and jumped till they couldn’t anymore in the indoor Woodlock Forest soft play area, before we all headed to the indoor pool.
Speaking of the pool, I was incredibly surprised and pleased with the size of the indoor pool and the amenities they had there. Saunas, jacuzzis, water games, toddler and baby splash area, as well as a larger splash pool for children under 12. There is also an outdoor kiddie splash area, and an outdoor pool, but these were closed for the season.
All of the activities we participated in, except for the shooting and batting cages, were included in our stay, and what’s available changes with the seasons. We never had a moment where we had nothing to do. They also have live, Broadway-style performances, but we missed them because of the little ones. However, had we decided to go out to a live show, or dance at the night club, or just have drinks at the bar, there is babysitting service available upon request.
I can’t forget to mention that they offer free Wi-Fi. Check in when you’d like, but know that you are not guaranteed access to your room before 5:00pm. Check out is at 3:00pm, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy an almost full day of activities before heading back home.
The children fell in love with Woodloch, and we parents absolutely loved the comfort of the all-inclusive package, as well as the many amenities. I can’t say enough about the service and how incredibly nice everyone was at all levels. You could sense that the staff loved their jobs. I never once saw or heard anyone complain or seem displeased with their position.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about Woodloch was the diversity. Often times in my travels, and especially when staying at different resorts, the diversity in guests is not something I really get to experience. It was wonderful to see that here.
Woodloch is a member of the Green Hotel Association. Their concern for and activism in conservation efforts is evident throughout the resort, from the compact flourescent light bulbs used throughout the grounds to their ever present recycling containers. They also offer environmental programs for class trips, corporate groups, and scouting programs.
Now, I know you’re wondering, what about the cost? Well, this weekend (2 nights, all meals and activities included, at Springbrook Suite, for 2 adults, 2 children ages 3 & 4, 1 child age 12) came to the total of $1,666.57 (including 6% tax and 15% gratuity charged at check out). We stayed in one of the higher end lodging options, however, I checked out the Basic and Classic Standard acomodations and they are nice as well and would definitely fit a large family such as ours.
And though the prices vary from season to season, with July and August being the most expensive, they do occasionally list special rates and offer different packages, many of the most recent ones taking place on Mother’s Day weekend and throughout the month of June. In addition, Woodloch has a program called the Loyalty Club, where after 5 stays you save $100 on per room, per stay.
We enjoyed it enough to have already decided to make at least one yearly sojourn to The Woodloch Resort with our kids, though we have heard their Winter activities are just as fun as the ones offered during the warmer months, so we might have to go check it out later this year.
If golfing is your activity of choice, Woodloch Springs Golf Course was rated four and half stars by Golf Digest as “One of The Best Places to Play” and the Country Club there is lovely.
Another fabulous place to check out is The Lodge at Woodloch, a luxury spa resort which I have added to my wish list of destinations is Hawley, PA.
For more information on reservations, rates, acomodations, and packages please check the Woodloch Pines Resort website or call 1 (800) 572-6658 or 1 (570)685-8000.
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