First ImpressionsPulling down the long stretch of road that leads into the resort, you can get a glimpse at their Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures, which you can get to via their Gorilla Express train. Viewing the area in the winter while the trees are bare, the intricate course looks amazing. We all remarked that it was something we'd like to try in the warmer months. Prior to entering the resort parking lot, you can see that there is an expansion going on. They are currently doubling the size of their convention center to 205,000 sq ft. Kalahari Poconos is already massive, but they are capitalizing on an opportunity that doesn't really exist here in our rural area, which is also great for surrounding businesses. Once in the parking lot, the building is beautiful and while incredibly large, you don't really feel it until you are inside. There is valet parking, drop off at the front door and you can always just park your car yourself. Once inside, it is busy and bustling with people like a small city. Restaurants and cafes are directly in front of you and to the either side of you, stairs to the lower level (arcade, cafeteria, rooms and waterpark) are also in front of you. There's a gorgeous fountain, larger than life animal sculptures and a massive floor to ceiling glass wall overlooking the waterpark. We arrived on a day that was only about 65% capacity, but getting through the check-in process was smooth and efficient. Our family was excited to explore and have the opportunity to spend some quality time together.
Accomodations: African Queen SuiteI'll be honest, I've never had the ability to stay in a room this size before. We were all thrilled at the balance of both privacy and togetherness it offered. When you first walk in, the common bathroom was to our left with a toilet and large over-sized bathtub. The entryway was lined with countertops and it offered a wide space for moving around. On the one side it had the coffee maker, sink and small refrigerator. To the right was a large bedroom with two queen sized beds and a closet. There is a living room/dining area with a sleeper sofa, large chair, table with 3 chairs, a fireplace, flat screen TV and a sliding glass door that led to a balcony that overlooked the outdoor waterpark. The master bedroom held a king-sized bed with closet and full bathroom. I wanted to get lost in the large, deep bathtub, but we spent so much time in the resort, I never got the chance. It was calling my name though. Something we all really enjoyed was that the room seemed well insulated from noise. There was only one time when I had to be "that guy" and ask the front desk to ask our neighbors to take the noise level down as they had an active party going on with loud music at midnight and their suite was on the side where my kids were sleeping. Security was quick to ask them to quiet down, which prompted them to turn up the music louder, but we always bring a white noise machine with us when we travel, so that helped drown out the noise. Other than this, you really couldn't hear anyone in the hallway and with the exception of the loud music, at no other time could you hear anyone in the neighboring rooms.
ArcadeThis place is a child's dream! It felt like the video games were endless. I'd turn a corner and there would be more. There were so many varying kinds of games for all levels and all ages. My boys range in age from 20 years old to 3 years old and they all equally had a great time. My 3 year old enjoyed the mini bowling alley that was made just for the littles, but made him feel like a big kid. The older boys and I did the 7-D Motion Theater, which was pretty cool and then the boys went on to do the Wrath of Anubis escape room, which they enjoyed. Just off the arcade is the entrance to the indoor waterpark as well as the outdoor waterpark. Just before the doors to the outdoor waterpark is a cafe and cafeteria style seating. We noticed a children's play area over there as well.
Indoor WaterparkThe indoor waterpark is such a blast, and just like the arcade, there is something for everyone. Our 3 year old had a blast in Coral Cove, Splashdown Safari, Tiko's Watering Hole and the wave pool while his brothers rode all of the other thrill slides. There are restaurants in the waterpark, as well as a bar. It's very clean and there are lifeguards, security and staff everywhere to make sure anyone who needs assistance is taken care of quickly. It's a balmy 84 degrees in the park, so getting in the water feels refreshing. It's bright and the colors are cheerful, so you almost forget you are indoors. I loved that the ceiling above the wave pool was glass and I can only imagine how beautiful it looks when it's snowing or even during a thunderstorm. The waterpark is open late and the larger waterslides that sweep you outdoors and back into the building are lit up. It's also less busy at night, which is a great time to go on more slides without the wait.
Spa KalahariNaturally, I made time for the spa. While my kids and husband looked forward to the waterpark and arcade, I most looked forward to relaxation and some self-care. When you check into your hotel room there will be a pamphlet with coupons to use throughout the resort. Definitely take advantage of the one for the spa. I booked a Deep Tissue Massage with Steve and enjoyed pure bliss of all the tension in my shoulders and upper back melting away. I highly recommend him when booking your treatment! He's very knowledgeable and really pays attention to what you need in order to walk away feeling completely restored. With your spa treatment you also get access to the Quiet Zone and Hydro Escape. The Quiet Zone is relaxing with salt lamps aglow, a mesmerizing fire place and posh seating. In the Hydro Escape there is a herbal infused steam room, dry Redwood sauna, multi-sensory experiential shower, spacious jaccuzzi that looks more like your own personalized pool, an outdoor patio with lounge seating and an indoor relaxation sanctuary. Most of it is co-ed, which I am not really a fan of, but everyone is different in their preferences. Spa Kalahari also has their Halotherapy room you can enjoy as its own treatment for 45 minutes for $40, or if you choose it as an add-on to an already booked treatment, it is only $20. I really enjoyed my time in the spa and cannot wait to go back.
Tips & Advice
- Book your stay for a weekday. There are less people and shorter lines.
- Plan to stay more than 1 night. There is so much to see and do at Kalahari, one day/night is not enough. We stayed only 1 night and didn't get the chance to see/do everything they have to offer.
- Know restaurant hours in advance to plan when to eat. Restaurants open and close depending on occupancy. For example, The Great Karoo was closed for dinner the night we arrived, but was open for breakfast the next day. Ivory Coast and B-Lux close at 11am and then re-open at 12pm.
- Take advantage of Kalahari's coupons. You'll find these in your room for the spa, Marrakesh Market, etc.
- Plan your arcade budget in advance. The arcade has so much to do, but it is definitely an expense and if not planned for, you will spend more than you wanted to.
- Have a meeting place/time. Just like any bustling city, it's easy for your kids to lose track of you. In the waterpark we gave the kids a time and place to meet back up and check in. We allowed the older boys to have fun in the arcade without us at times, but asked that they sent a text to check in.
- Relax and have fun! This is such a great way to get the kids off of their electronics and to experience in-person fun with some real life face time. These are the memories that will last!
My niece went with a beautiful gold polish as a way to remember this mystical experience. ? If you are local here in Northeast PA or will be visiting the area, I highly recommend booking this pedicure or even their jelly pedicure (I haven't tried it yet, but it looks so fun!) Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!
A few years ago when I went to The Lodge at Woodloch for a facial and massage, I swore that one day I would spend the weekend at their destination spa. The rooms are luxuriously appointed, the spa cuisine is to die for, and the grounds are breathtaking.
Although I only live about 40 minutes from The Lodge at Woodloch, the resort is tucked away here in the Poconos in such a way, that it felt like I was traveling far far away… One of the first things I noticed about The Lodge at Woodloch, was their superior customer service. We (Bryan & I) pulled up to the gated entry to give our name for our stay and by the time we got to the valet, they opened my door calling me by name and once inside, the concierge, also motioned to me calling me by name…all of which made me feel like a valued customer and not just some random person checking in.
We scheduled a spa treatment, 9 holes of golf at Woodloch Springs, Wake-Up kayaking for 7am the next morning and made a reservation for dinner. After a quick tour of the resort, Bryan sat down for lunch at Tree while I was whisked away for a Tension Tamer massage with Gwen.
If you haven’t heard me tweet and Facebook incessantly about how much I LOVE this spa, then you certainly need to stop by and try it for yourself. I chose the Tension Tamer massage, as sitting at my desk all day working has really had its way with my upper back and shoulders. At times, the pain has become unbearable.
The Tension Tamer focuses on this key muscle group to help melt that stress away. And boy did it! At the beginning of the massage I told Gwen that I could barely feel any pressure from her hands in the area surrounding my neck because some of the area had gone numb. She worked her magic and within 30 minutes I was telling her that she was a magician. Suddenly there was feeling back in that area and the tension in the surrounding muscles began to ease up. I honestly did not want to leave after my 50 minutes were up. Gwen told me that due to my line of work, that I really needed to have massages focusing on that area more often. I completely agree!
After finishing up a lunch plate that Bryan brought me to the room, we made our way over to Woodloch Springs, which is a private community with an 18-hole PGA 2 golf course. Since I have never played golf before, we decided on just doing 9 holes. The course was gorgeous despite how wet the green was from all of the rain we’ve been having in the Poconos. Bryan taught me how to play and I have to say, golf is hard work! I have a new respect for pro-golfers now! Dinner at Tree was delicious and we each had salad and chicken that was out of this world. At about 9pm we decided a swim was in order and made our way to their Aqua Garden (which has amazing waterfalls) and their Horizon Whirlpool. On a dark night with a view of the stars, it was breathtaking.
I slept like a baby that night and I honestly didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because the bed was so comfortable! Made me realize that I’m about due for a new mattress for my own bed. The morning was a little chilly, but we made our way to Little Lake Teedyuskung for our 7am kayaking.
Since the rest of the people who signed up for the session were no-shows, we had the guide all to ourselves! This 1:1 session was great as we learned more about the area we live in and got to take in all of the wildlife. Although the really ridiculous spider that kept jumping into my kayak, which almost made me flip over when trying to get it out, was not so amusing (at least for me, but Bryan and our guide thought it was pretty funny.) After breakfast at Tree, my feet begged me for a Restorative Rosemary Pedicure at their Lotus Salon…and how could I say no? The view from my seat was beautiful and the bourbon vanilla soak helped soften my dry heels. I loved the seaweed wrap and Antoinette made my toes look pretty with SpaRitual’s Crystal Water nail polish. All in all, it was a relaxing and fun-filled weekend that we truly enjoyed. So whether you live locally and are looking for a staycation without feeling like you are really still local or are looking for a Pocono getaway, The Lodge at Woodloch should top your list of places to go. If you’ve visited or have had a spa treatment here, please share your experience in the comments!
disclosure: a portion of this stay was gifted.