This Spa Resort In the Poconos Is Setting the Example of How to Take a Socially Distant Wellness Trip
This story originally appeared on TravelandLeisure.com by Katie Chang.
In an age when anything can be promoted with a click, it’s refreshing to discover a destination that feels reserved for those in the know. While this rings true for The Lodge at Woodloch, a spa resort nestled in the Pocono Mountains, its under-the-radar reputation is more surprising given it’s been open since 2006, has plenty of awards (including some from Travel + Leisure), and is easily accessible from New York City.
So when The Lodge at Woodloch reopened on June 19, after months of closure stemming from the pandemic, I set my sights on it for my first post-quarantine getaway. I fell hard for its polished, yet unstuffy vibes when I visited back in 2018, and the resort announced a comprehensive health and safety program called New Age of Precaution to provide extra peace of mind. (Related: What to Know About Air Travel During the Coronavirus Pandemic)
Even ahead of my stay, precautions were taken. Via email, I was sent a checklist reminding me to be mindful of how I was feeling. (In case I exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms, The Lodge at Woodloch would reschedule or refund my trip at no cost to me.) And once I arrived — except for the temperature check, hand sanitizer stations, and everyone respectfully maintaining their distance in face coverings — things, for the most part, felt the same.
Thanks to extensive sanitizing requirements, the accommodations — which all have private verandas overlooking the woods — were spotless as ever. But to reduce outside exposure, housekeeping was put on pause. Instead, fresh towels and empty laundry bags were placed outside of my room daily. I replenished what I needed, and tossed anything used into the bag.
Since TREE, the resort’s all-day restaurant led by chef Josh Tomson, was operating at 50% occupancy to ensure proper social distancing, tables were adequately spaced apart with bundled silverware and carafes of water on each. Also, all of Tomson’s nutritious, globe-trotting dishes (like sesame-crusted sea bass with gochujang and crab tostadas) arrived under cloches to minimize unnecessary contact. If you wanted to dine al fresco or have more privacy, you could request a table on the patio, or enjoy your meal in your room. (Related: This Amsterdam Restaurant Is Putting Tables In Individual Greenhouses for an Adorable, Safe Dining Experience)
But the main draw of The Lodge at Woodloch is its wellness offerings and spa. The activity schedule still rotates weekly and includes fitness classes (think TRX, Aqua Tabata, and boot camps) and educational sessions (such as “Mala Meditation”) to help you reach a state of well-being. (I recommend any activity held in the new outdoor tent, where you can break a sweat in the crisp, country air.) And because participation is capped at 50%, advance signup for all classes is a must.
Given the intimate nature of spas, I figured the experience here would be notably different — more than any other part of the resort. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was how easily I slipped into the chill zone. Little things like forgoing mingling in the lounge and not being able to book a facial — the spa is offering a modified menu of massages and body treatments for now — might have initially felt inconvenient, but it didn’t take long to realize I made the right choice in returning during these highly emotive times. Because just a few minutes into my deep tissue massage — and for the first time after several intense months of strictly quarantining — I felt safe, cared for, and human again.