Nemacolin Resort In Western PA Review

Holy Cow! I’ve traveled far and wide, stayed in some of the nicest places on earth, and have never, ever, seen/been to anything like Nemacolin. Named after the local Native American chief who blazed the Indian path that became The National Trail – US Route 40 – Nemacolin (formerly Nemacolin Woodlands Resort), just 1 1/2 hours southeast of Pittsburgh, continues to blaze new trails year after year.

What exactly is Nemacolin?

It’s a wildlife sanctuary. It’s a small-plane airport. (Just don’t ask who’s flying in on his/her private plane). It’s got award-winning golf courses (Pete Dye designed Mystic Rock, and Shepard’s Rock) and Golf Academy: a Holistic Healing Center and spa for both humans and animals; An Art Museum with a collection valued at $45 million.

Berlin Wall at Nemacolin Resort
Piece of the Berlin Wall at Nemacolin

There’s an antique car museum, a prop-plane museum, and an official Jeep Driving Academy. Nemacolin’s got a climbing wall, a zip-line, x-country skiing, tubing, horseback riding, dogsled rides, canopy tours, paintball. There’s even a piece of the Berlin Wall on the property. Nemacolin is a deliriously wacky, extravagant, homey, friendly, fun whirlwind of a place.

And of course, it’s an overnight luxury resort.

Nemacolin joins this roster of 18 Top Romantic Getaways in Pennsylvania. You might just get some more romantic getaway ideas.

Chateau LaFayette Nemacolin Resort

Nemacolin Background

Nemacolin began as a rugged 33-room lodge and hunting preserve, built by Willard Rockwell (of Rockwell International fame). In 1987 Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber, discovered Nemacolin while searching close to Pittsburgh for property to suit his angler daughter, Maggie.

The resort has since grown organically from 550 acres in 1987 to over 2,2000 today. It reflects the interests of both Joe (who passed away at age 100 in 2023) and Maggie, whom Joe appointed CEO of both Nemacolin and 84 Lumber in 2002.

Thus, not only is this indefinable resort fun and ultra friendly, it is woman owned as well, which makes it even more appealing. Plus, Nemacolin puts more people to work (900 – 1200 depending on season) than any other employer in the Laurel Highlands.

Wooflands Pet Spa at Nemacolin
Wooflands Pet Hotel and Spa at Nemacolin

And you never know what’s going to crop up next. When Nemacolin’s Mystic Rock was included on the PGA Tour, pro-golfers asked for an RV Park and the Hardy’s delivered.

When guests made it known that they didn’t want to leave their pets home, the Hardy’s built Wooflands – a dog and cat spa/hotel – on the property. The original Hunting Lodge has recently been renovated – to the tune of thirty million bucks.


Nemacolin currently offers fifteen places to eat, ranging from fine dining to grab and go. Among them:

Aqueous at Falling Ro
Aqueous at Falling Rock

Aqueous @ Falling Rock

Prices at this mid-Century Modern designed restaurant are what you’d expect for one of Pennsylvania’s finest restaurants. Dishes, from House Made Gnocchi to 8 oz Filet Mignon are exemplary.  Cuisine at Aqueous certainly rises to the level of its Five Diamond rated host hotel.

Lautrec @ The Chateau

Highlighting the best of Namacolin’s 1,200-bottle wine list, bliss out to the culinary innovations of a 6-course chef’s tasting experience beneath lithographs by famed artist, Henri Toulouse Lautrec.  Lautrec has been awarded Five Stars by both Forbes and AAA.


Choose to stay at Versailles-like Chateau, modeled after the Ritz Paris. Or in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired AAA Five Diamond inn, Falling Rock, complete with Rolls Royce driving chauffeurs; or in a reimagined “hunting lodge,” – The Grand Lodge. Conversely, you can stay in your own private condo, or luxury home.

The Chateau, dressed up with twinkling chandeliers in the elegant lobby has undergone a room refresh, with lighter colors and elegant furniture, and remains the swankiest place to stay in the complex.

Things To Do At Nemacolin: Don’t Miss Experiences

Most of the things to do at Nemacolin are mentioned above under “What Is Nemacolin.”  With an astounding number of programs, there are, of course, family friendly outdoor activities at all times of year: from mini golf to ropes courses, snow tubing, and snowshoeing.

Romantic Experiences for Couples

If it’s just the two of you, though, think about bundling up for a wintertime dog sled ride. Or book the 90 minute Couples Massage Midweek Package that comes with free breakfast, a hour and a half massage for two, and a private lounge experience with champagne and sweet treats.

The SPA!

On three floors, the spa incorporates treatment rooms, a massive gym, indoor and outdoor pools. There are whirlpool tubs, steam and sauna – and a top notch hair salon. Even if you just come in for a shampoo and blow-out, you can take advantage of all of the other amenities.


I was particularly enamored with the chic, unique collections at the Nemacolin retail shops. Rather than the resort-logo-wear typical of these mega hotels, I found a new favorite designer; New York City resident,  Samuel Dong, whose price points are surprisingly affordable. Nemacolin carries a range of designers, both known and soon to be known, in a range of prices in both its clothing and jewelry stores.

The Wrap Up

As a travel writer looking for the “next best thing,” it’s rare that a resort compels me to return. The combination of warm, welcoming staff and a dizzying number of activities and things to see call me back. I’m thinking – this will make one hell of a Golf-package Birthday gift for my husband….

Check Nemacolin website for more info, packages, to make reservations, and book rooms.


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine,, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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