Skytop Lodge is an award-winning historic property in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania – just two hours away from New York City and Philadelphia. The lodge first opened its doors in 1928, and in the last century, Skytop has catered to generations of families, many of whom return year after year with their loved ones. This past weekend I stayed at Skytop Lodge with three other adults and my one-year-old son (my second time staying at the lodge in the month of February.) Considering booking a vacation in this storybook setting? Here's my full, in-depth review of Skytop Lodge in the winter season...
Skytop Lodge is nestled on 5,500 acres and has a 75-acre lake and 300+ miles of hiking trails. If you're looking to immerse yourself in old world charm in a secluded, backcountry environment with too-many-to-count family friendly activities at your disposal, this is a hidden gem.
The main lodge (above) houses the lobby, 94 historic guest rooms, a dining room, arcade floor, Tap Room, Tea Room, billard hall, card rooms, several ballrooms, and countless nooks for lounging, chatting and reading. Skytop Lodge is a traditional Dutch Colonial stone manor that recently underwent a $2-million room renewal, and when we were on-site, the dining room in this main lodge was recarpeted. While the whole look and feel of the main lodge is true its nostalgic nature, there are pleasing updates, so it feels more dapper than dated. (Learn more about the lodging.)
Note that Skytop maintains a dress code in the dining areas for dinner – men need to wear a jacket, jeans and hats are forbidden, etc. Think country club attire. Learn more about Skytop's dining options here.
The Main Lodge's historic lobby is lovely this time of year with lights and cozy seating areas and a roaring fire. At four o'clock every afternoon, cookies, hot tea, and coffee are served while a live pianist plays music. It's a wonderful place to gather with your party after a long day filled with festivities.
There's so many charming details!
If you're traveling with a larger family or group, the Streamside Cottages (below) offer an alternative to traditional lodge accommodations. While I didn't see the interiors of the cottages, Skytop reports that they feature King beds, fireplaces, refrigerators and televisions.
The Inn at Skytop, below, overlooks one of Robert White's signature 18-hole championship golf courses. This lodge is more remnicent of a rich wood ski chalet than the historic stone structure of the main lodge. This facility has 18 guest rooms with posh amenities like gas fireplaces and jacuzzis, an Executive Board Room, the Lake View restaurant and Pro Shop.
The golf course blanketed in snow... Golf Digest rated this course 4.5 stars. Learn more about golf at Skytop Lodge here.
We really enjoyed walking the property, and it's easy to see why Skytop Lodge is popular among wedding parties – there's beautiful arches, rolling hill backdrops and character-laden architectural details. (Bonus for wedding planners: there's also an on-site florist and bakery.)
The most attractive thing about Skytop Lodge is, in our opinion, how well it caters to families with children of all ages. There's so many opportunities for families to be entertained, to reconnect with one another, to split up and do their own thing. There's a massive gaming/arcade area on the lower level of the main lodge, complete with miniature golf, ping pong tables, a billard room, and various arcade games.
We really enjoyed hanging out in this area – you can read all about it (and watch a video!) on my blog post Family Game Night.
Near the game area, the Activities desk concierge can suggest a plethora of outdoor & indoor activities that'll appeal to you and your family. There's also a cool little nature area (with live animals!) and leaflets about nature trails and local wildlife. Skytop Lodge boasts popular on-site naturalists who also leads hikes. The first time I was at Skytop, my niece and hiked around the frozen land in knee-deep snow (it was an adventure.) This time around, since we had my baby son, we enjoyed a more leisurely stroll up to the Inn and to see the waterfall at the dam.
The Tea Room is a nostalgic 1950s-style luncheonette that also sells baby item basics, magazines, and convenience-store type stuff. Note that the video rentals are insanely overpriced – a VHS rental of DUMBO cost over $7.00 with tax. But we got two chocolate malted milkshakes for about five bucks, and they were great! This spot seemed to be a hit with the kids, especially in the afternoon.
There's also an indoor pool in the Main Lodge... So pack that suit.
We got to experience an 80-year-old tradition at Skytop Lodge – the Grand March. It was a massive Saturday night party with live music and dancing under the romantic lighting of the main lodge lobby. We had so much fun, and it was an unexpected surprise actvitiy during our stay.
The Tap Room, below, is a perfect nod to the dark-wood-dim-lighting pubs of yesteryear. We enjoyed a few pale ale beers while watching a golf tournament here. And since it's located right near the family game area, it's a good place to hang out while your (older) unsupervised kids are enjoying themselves.
Want to peek inside our room?
We stayed in a mini king suite. It was spacious, updated, clean, and had all the amenities we needed...
The sitting area...
But we didn't spend too much time in our rooms... Skytop Lodge offers activities for every season (view the insanely awesome full list here). There's so much to do, we truly didn't have time for it all, leaving both my husband and I craving another Skytop adventure this year!
We went skiing & snowboarding.... Read my blog post on this here.
Dog sledding (read about it here)....
Sledding..... (read more here)....
There's tons more winter activities that we just couldn't squeeze into three days – tobagganing, ice skating, biking, paintball, geocaching, a treetop adventure course, snowshoeing – and many of them are free to lodge guests! Check out all of Skytop's winter activity offerings here.
Skytop does a nice job of publicizing the daily events through a little updated newsletter Skylites. One recommendation – reserve a spot for the "bigger ticket" activities (like dog sledding, ziplining or shooting) prior to your arrival, as spots fill quickly and unexpected cancellations due to unforeseen weather events, etc, can happen. You can use the pre-arrival concierge to ensure you're on the books for your favorite activities during your stay.
THE BOTTOM LINE: While we loved Skytop Lodge's charming historic details, grand scope, and beautiful backdrop, we were most impressed with how family-friendly it is as a destination property. We have been on several family vacations in my son's first year of life, and this by far offers the most (and most DIVERSE!) activities to its guests. You can literally do as little or as much as you want, from skiing to dog sledding to rock climbing to spa treatments. The room rates vary between the $300-$500/night range, and there's an all-inclusive meal plan that includes three meals per day, per person. Meal costs can certainly add up, so there's value in the all-inclusive plan (especially if you scope out Skytop's current specials.) Considering the rate point, the price of the video rentals was a little comical ($7 for a VHS tape) and should be reassessed. In some camps of travelers, "all inclusives" have a rep for sub-par cuisine, but we were pleased with the buffet dining options and menu selections, and my husband swears he had the "best omelet of his entire life" at Skytop (seriously – he talked about it for two days.) The minor flaws we spotted – like the need for lockers at the Adventure Center, and the coffee was a little on the watery side – didn't negatively affect our stay. The customer service was stellar throughout our visit. I especially appreciated how kind and helpful our server was with my son during mealtimes, and how courteous the shuttle drivers were as they took us from Point A to Point B. If you venture off Skytop Lodge's 5,000+acre property, there's not a lot at your disposal in terms of entertainment, but there's so much to do on-site I don't know why you'd ever leave! (I guess if you're looking to hike or ski at other areas in the Poconos?). While others might view the historic details as dated, we found them incredibly charming. Skytop Lodge is a character-filled destination that'll appeal to families with children of all ages, and it seems an ideal location for family reunions and weddings in particular. We certainly loved our snowy winter weekend at Skytop and wished we could've stayed longer. Next up on the agenda? To experience Skytop Lodge during another season, and with more family in tow... We have lawn bowling, golf, spring hiking, and kayaking on our minds.
Check out all my Skytop posts.
Read the Skytop blog.
Visit the Skytop Lodge website.
See the full activity list.
Take a virtual tour.
Peek at the current specials.
Disclosure: Skytop Lodge offered me complimentary nights + activities + meals in exchange for this comprehensive resort review. I was not compensated for this post and, as always, opinions are honest & my own. Read my full product review policy and disclosure here.
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