A grandiose gem in rustic Pennsylvania

320 Rooms

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, located in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, started out as a humble hunting lodge, but was transformed into the top-notch property it is now by billionaire Joseph Hardy III, the founder of 84 Lumber Company.

The 2,000-acre property has much to offer. There’s a spa, a holistic center, a ropes course, a bowling alley, golf courses, a casino, several pools and a number of restaurants and bars. There’s even a private airstrip.

Children will love the Wildlife Academy for an opportunity to get up close and personal with live animals, and the Kidz Club fills in the gaps with interactive group fun and activities. For adults who want to indulge their creative sides, art classes, from ceramics to scrapbooking, will evoke their inner Picassos.

Accommodations include a variety of styles, including a small boutique hotel, townhouses, and private homes, but the most luxurious of all is the gorgeous 124-room Chateau Lafayette, a grandiose space inspired by the Ritz Paris in France. The Laurel Highlands hotel makes a grand first impression as soon as you walk into the enormous lobby and catch sight of the Waterford crystal chandeliers sparkling overhead.

The Rooms and Suites

Rooms at Chateau Lafayette are elegant and expansive, with vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, intricate architectural detailing and two-story Palladian windows. Bathrooms boast marble fixtures and jetted soaking tubs and separate showers.

The suites include a sitting area with lush furnishings. Overnight guests have access to the Paradise Pool Complex and other property activities.

For an even more luxurious stay, book accommodations on the fifth-floor Club Level to receive perks like butler service and a hospitality lounge with breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails served daily.

The Chateau Club Suite and the Chateau Club King room are outfitted with large jetted tubs, cloudlike king-sized beds, plush bathrobes and a separate living room for extra space to entertain.

The Food

If you can eat at only one of the more than dozen dining options at Nemacolin, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Lautrec, located in the Chateau, is the one not to miss.

Chef Kristin Butterworth offers a weekly prix fixe and chef’s tasting menus that feature European-style cuisine made with local and international ingredients. The 96-seat restaurant is decked out in luscious reds and golds, and authentic Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs hang on the walls.

An expert resident sommelier is available to pair your meal with flights of wine chosen from the resort’s extensive 21,000-bottle cellar.

The Art

The luxury hotel also features exquisite pieces from the $45 million Hardy Family Art Collection, which is so extensive and unusual that the property offers a daily art tour given by a curator.

Among items on display — paintings, sculptures, furniture, glassworks and historical artifacts — the Tiffany floor and table lamps (found in the Tiffany Library, of course) are a highlight. Works by Alexander Calder, Fernando Botero, Clarice Smith, Giampaolo Seguso, Frederic Remington, Frank Stella, George Hetzel and Manolo Valdés and even a piece of the Berlin Wall can be found scattered throughout the property.

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