The Lodge at Woodloch: A Wellness Getaway in the Poconos
- Written By:Christina Valhouli
Every destination spa has its own distinct personality. There are clinical spas, with white lab coat wearing staff who strictly monitor every calorie and hand out shots of apple cider vinegar. Or there’s the hardcore boot camp spa, where predawn hikes are fueled by a breakfast of five almonds.
If there’s one word that sums up The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, it would be “fun.” Woodloch has all the hallmarks of a luxury spa: indoor and outdoor activities, fitness classes and of course the spa itself, a serene space offering everything from facials to massages and float therapy. But this is not a spa that requires deprivation. Woodloch is all about connecting with nature, reconnecting with friends and family, and enjoying mealtimes with a cocktail or a glass of wine after a full day, if you choose.
But what makes Woodloch different is that it offers up all the activities of an adult summer camp along with serious pampering but doesn’t take itself too seriously. You could sign up for Barry White yoga, where you’re in downward dog to the tune of “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love” or head to the pool for Splash Dance, an aquatic pole dancing class that gives your core a serious workout.
My best friend and I recently visited The Lodge at Woodloch to reset, recharge and have a weekend devoted to wellness. The adults-only resort is located deep in the Poconos but only about two hours away from New York City. (You could also bring the family and stay at the sister property, Woodloch Pines. Guests of Woodloch Pines can book spa treatments or a spa day pass to access the facilities). The lodge has its own private lake and is set on over 400 acres of woodland that’s teeming with wildlife. This means that at any given time you’re likely to see deer nibbling on the plants just steps from the lodge, and lucky visitors may also see beautiful birds and the elegant luna moth.
Woodloch is designed so that guests can be as active or relaxed as they would like, and stays can be structured with plenty of classes or unstructured if you prefer to just hop on a complimentary bike and cycle around the property.
Guests should book classes prior to arrival. Woodloch offers around 35 classes a day so narrowing down the choices is hard – you can choose from rowing, cycling, Zendoodle art classes, start your day by setting an intention at the property’s labyrinth or try journaling. Culinary classes are also available, from wine and chocolate pairings to cooking demonstrations. In between classes, guests can just relax on a hammock tucked into the forest or walk to the Lily Pond to grab a bike or kayak.
We opted for classes we had never done before, which means we kicked off our stay with forest bathing. Although it sounds like it involves hot tubs in the woods, it’s really all about being mindful in nature. Our guide led us through the forest with a series of exercises that encouraged us to stop, close our eyes and soak in the smells and sounds of the forest. The best way to think about it is mindful hiking. Forest bathing ended with our group enjoying a cup of mint tea, with leaves picked on the property.
Class sizes are small, and the resort never felt crowded as the Lodge has only 58 rooms. The small class size made it the perfect environment to try a beginner’s TRX class as well as Tower Power, a wall mounted Pilates class. The vibe at Woodloch was always relaxed – most guests pad around in bathrobes during the day. It’s an ideal place to try something new in a non-competitive environment. We rounded out our daytime activities with a post dinner watercolor class. Our instructor led us step by step through the process of painting a forested landscape. The end result for the entire class was a painting that is worthy of being framed.
Pack your bathing suit to enjoy the outdoor infinity hot tub as well as the glass enclosed indoor pool – which is also where you can try a pool pole dancing class. The class may only be 30 minutes long but your core will feel it. And it’s also just good fun.
The highlight of any trip to Woodloch is getting pampered in the spa. The newly renovated 40,000 square foot spa is light filled and done up in soothing tones of cream and grey. You’ll never want to leave this bubble, and the staff has thought of everything so that you don’t have to. There are two tea stations (one offers tinctures) as well as silent and social lounges for relaxing and perhaps a post treatment snooze. If you want a quick shower in between treatments, there are private shower rooms stocked with every amenity from razors to combs and makeup removers.
My friend and I opted for the 90 minute signature Rosemary Awakening treatment which involves a scrub to get rid of dead skin cells followed by shea butter body massage. By the time my therapist got to the oil scalp massage, I was out like a light and possibly even snoring. Other spa treatments include the Delaware River Stone Massage (the indigenous Lenni Lenape believed that the Delaware River stones contain an energy that accelerates change and energizes one’s entire aura), as well as a chakra balancing massage. Treatments can be customized with the addition of hemp extract, reiki or cupping.
All this pampering can make someone hungry, and the in-house restaurant, TREE, offers a little bit of everything, from naturally raised meats and fish to vegetarian options. Start your day with the vegan tofu scramble and fresh berries from the buffet. In between activities, guests can help themselves to cups of tea from a guest lounge. Woodloch stocks Two Leaves and a Bud organic teas. Flavors include Turmeric Antioxidant and a Hydrate blend with apple, hibiscus and spearmint.
At lunch you can indulge with a lobster roll served with edamame or keep it light with trout. Carve out plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely four course dinner at TREE. Start off with the Zen Cosmo, a blend of Meyer lemon vodka, natural coconut rum and pomegranate juice before tucking into a starter of sesame crusted tuna poke bowl. A salad course can be followed by a Korean grain bowl. If you’re not ready for dessert, TREE can have it sent to your room where you can do what we did- put on fluffy bathrobes to eat cake in bed while watching Netflix to feel fully cocooned in relaxation before heading home.