Woodloch Resort a Spring/Summer Pandemic – Related Review

Woodloch Resort -what is it?

Woodloch Resort is America’s #1 rated, family resort according to USA Today!  We last visited the all-inclusive, Woodloch Resort during the winter season and I wrote all about the 5 reasons families must visit in this post  THIS post features what’s NEW at Woodloch and what to expect during the pandemic.  And it will showcase all the family-fun recreational activities to be had during the spring and summer seasons.   Read on and make sure to share with another family that would love this!  We actually went with another family the last time and it’s such a popular place to travel with family, and is a popular meeting place for reunions and team-building groups.  But before we get into that, here is a quick overview from Trip Advisor.

Why Woodloch Resort?

If you’re looking for a family road trip from the NY area, THIS is the perfect spot.  Just 3 hours away from NYC, Haley, PA will transport you from the concrete jungle to a woodsy, secluded area in the pristine, Pocono Mountains lake region.  Here, you’ll immerse yourself in nature, breathe fresh air while frolicking through its 1200 acres, and enjoy lakefront views like this.   It’s a serene and much-needed getaway for most New Yorkers.   And it will truly feel like the escape you needed after a long lockdown.  You’ll be surprised to find that while being a rural getaway, it’s so easy to jam-pack with so much family fun!  Normally, I’m the social director of the family – researching, planning, and figuring out how to occupy our time while getting us place to place in the city. Here at Woodloch, there is so much to do and it’s all amazingly on-site making my activity coordination responsibilities SO much easier.  Note, there is no traditional kids club where you can drop off your children. This family-owned resort is more about spending time together and making new memories.  And I promise you, you WILL!

What to do at Woodloch

Family activities that encourage teamwork include options such as: family feud, Olympics, trivia contests, beach volleyball and scavenger hunts.  There are also baking contests, carnival activities, petting zoos, and (for-an-additional-fee), jewelry making and painting classes.

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J loved her painting class ($30) and the jewelry making ($5-10 extra).  For the sporty types, there was golfing, tennis, basketball, rock climbing and archery. For water-lovers, there’s boating, paddle-boarding, swimming (indoors and outdoors), bumper boats and even a waterslide that drops swimmers into shallow lake water.   For laid-back vacationers, there’s bocce, shuffleboard, putt putt, drum circles, cooking demos and bingo.  Teens will love the zip line and climbing wall (both activities require you to be 13 and up),  archery (10 and up), escape room (extra fee), dance parties, go karting, the arcade, and swimming.  Little ones will love the bumper cars, junior go-karts, indoor and outdoor playgrounds (outdoor playground is NEW this year), the arts and crafts room, daily activities in the kids club, bumper bowling, the toddler indoor play space and (indoor) splash zone.  You could stay there all week and still not be able to finish everything you want to – there is just SO much to do and try!  NOTE – to keep safe during covid times, activities were booked through a new app registration system which allowed for ensuring limited capacity, contact tracing and proper sterilization of equipment in between bookings.  Click here to learn more about Woodloch’s wellness standards and how they’re ensuring both safety and fun!

Dining at Woodloch

While enjoying all this old-fashioned fun, you’ll work up an appetite and totally appreciate their all-you-can-eat, meal plan.  We had the 3 meal/day meal plan but honestly with their portions and knowing how much we ate at each sitting (could not resist anything it was so dang good!!) we could have gotten away with the 2 meal/day plan.  I’m pretty sure I gained 5 lbs from this one weekend. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE walks away in awe of how tasty everything is.   YOU WILL LOVE THE FOOD!! Their insanely delicious food coupled with their famously warm and genuine hospitality, will leave you feeling nothing but nurtured and taken care of. And isn’t that what we all need after this hard year? Plus their greeters and servers make you feel like you’re right at home (if home was a spectacular, never-ending playground with hundreds of activities awaiting you).  Since 1958, families have been returning here with friends, families and groups.  It is a popular place for reunions and I can understand why!

Woodloch’s LIVE entertainment

My favorite part of this trip post-lockdown life was the live entertainment and my spa day though.  Who else craved live music and entertainment after this long pandemic period of staying indoors and having everything cancelled?? I cannot tell you how GOOD it felt to be sitting in a (socially-distanced) audience listening to a live band play favorite tunes from each decade.

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It brought life back to my soul as I sang along and celebrated what most definitely seemed to be the end of this covid catastrophe.  And the comedic magic show the 2nd night was so fun for kids of all ages from 2-92!  Part balloon-artistry, part puppetry and packed full or surprises, it delighted us all and Juliet loved being part of the show!  (They encourage audience participation which made the show all the much more memorable).

Woodloch’s must-experience spa

SPA? Did I say spa?  YES! They have an award-winning spa on their 1200 acres and a mile-long lakefront.  And it is the peace-filled, pampering that you NEED. My poor, neglected nails needed some loving so I opted for their 100-minute mani/pedi. Click here for the full 25-page spa menu which includes everything you can imagine plus float therapy, prenatal treatments, treatments just for him and couples’ selections.  Voted into the top 10 domestic spas by Travel & Leisure, you will love this spa retreat!

woodloch spa, best spas, best spa, poconos spaThe Lodge at Woodloch is the Woodloch Pines, sister resort – one that is also all-inclusive but adults only.  It is consistently reviewed as one of the best wellness resorts and romantic getaways – just see this list of accolades and global awards!

Let me know if you have any questions about Woodloch or their spa in the comments below!  I’d be happy to answer based on our two trips there.  Again, see this post about all their winter activities and 5 reasons families need to visit Woodloch. And make sure to share this post with a friend!

Many thanks to the Woodloch team for hosting us!  Your hospitality is unmatched and we have such fond memories of Woodloch and our stay there.

We were hosted but all opinions are 100% my own.

 

5 Reasons Why The Atlantis Bahamas is the Ultimate Family Vacation Even During Covid

atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantisIf you’re like most people, you’ve spent the year in lockdown daydreaming about your next vacation.  And now that vaccines are readily being dispersed and lockdown life is softening up, I thought you’d like to know why I think the Atlantis Bahamas is the ultimate family vacation and why I think it needs to be on your radar even during covid times.  Read on for insider insights, tons of tips and all the covid travel information you’ll need to know!  atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantisWe are so grateful to Atlantis Paradise Island for hosting us!

1).Safety First

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It’s crazy times and safety is at the top of everyone’s minds when considering travel.  After researching the safety of airplane travel (and being comforted with their amazing H.E.P.A filter and sanitation policies), we wanted to find a destination that had very low new covid cases each day and someplace that wouldn’t require too long of an airplane flight (given we’d have to wear masks the entire flight). 3 hours and 17 min from NYC to the Bahamas seemed tolerable with masks on.  And the fact that the Bahamas had on average only about 20 new cases per day (compared to over 9000 for NYC and 9000 in FL where many NY-ers also fled during spring break), we realized we were safer in the Bahamas than in our home state.

And with everyone (11 and up) having to test negative within 5 days of the flight, we had great assurance boarding the flight – way more than you would’ve had while doing everyday things like grocery shopping or eating indoors at a NYC restaurant!

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The other thing that made me rest assured about traveling to the Bahamas over other possible destinations was that they had such strict covid related policies.  For example,if you stay 4nights, in the Bahamas you must test negative again on the 5th day.  (Or you will be fined $1000 or face 1 MONTH of imprisonment)!  “The negative COVID-19 result must be shown within three days (72 hours) of departure and presented pre-departure at the airport. Airlines must deny passengers boarding if they do not provide a negative COVID-19 test result or show proof of a recent positive viral test.atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis
Visitors returning to the United States may use the Day 5 Bahamas government-mandated Rapid Antigen negative test result to re-enter the U.S. as long as their departure date is on the 6th, 7th, or 8th day of their stay and test results are negative.” Luckily the timing worked out for us so that the 1 test while there covered both needs.  And luckily, the PCR test these days does not go all the way up the nose and practically to the brain like you’ve probably painfully watched others in the beginning of the pandemic have to endure. Additionally, the Atlantis provides 2 complimentary Rapid Antigen Tests per room for registered guests of The Royal, The Cove, The Reef and The Coral hotels and has several testing locations within their grounds.atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

Below are some additional measures the Bahamas and the Atlantis had in place that made us feel like they were taking covid precautions so much more seriously than the US and NY where we live:
  • citizens/residents/tourists who fail to complete the daily Health Survey will be required to submit to a mandatory quarantine at a government identified facility and will be subject to deportation.
  • guests over two (2) years of age will be required to wear a mask and follow physical distancing protocols. (beach, pools, Aquaventure and eating/drinking moments are exempt) else face a fine of $250 or a penalty of one month imprisonment, or both if they are found not wearing face masks in areas where it is required. (wow, right??)
  • all transportation operators, inclusive of taxis, must adhere to government mandated safety protocols, including wearing masks at all times and weekly COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing.
  • all Bahamas staff must pass weekly covid testing, daily temperature checks and self surveys for possible symptoms
  • everyone entering through the Atlanis hotel doors pass through a non-invasive thermal temperature scan to ensure normal body temperatures
  • non hotel (visiting) guests must present a negative COVID-19 test that is valid within 5 days of arrival at the resort
  • extensive health and safety protocols are enforced by the entire Bahamas tourism industry and must verify their adherence to the government approved health and safety guidelines outlined by the Clean & Pristine certification (i.e. no buffets allowed
  • check-in associates will sanitize their hands before and after each guest transaction and keys are sanitized.

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Impressive list, huh? Of course, with this ever-changing COVID-19 climate both in The Bahamas and worldwide, the safety protocols and procedures are subject to change. Click here to check the latest updates (since this post is about our travels during the End of March- early April period). The link will give you more info. too about health visa costs, traveling to/from other places than the US and what would happen if in the small chance you actually got covid while staying in the Bahamas.

2).It’s Paradise!

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Were you like me all winter yearning for sunny skies, sandy toes, and beautiful beaches?  Paradise Island (where the Atlantis Bahamas hotel resides amongst the 326 islands of the Bahamas) lives up to its name! I promise; it will fulfill all your beach vaca fantasies.  After traveling to about 35 countries, I still think that the Bahamas has the softest, finest grained white sand and I’m always wow-ed by its crystal clear waters.  Plus, there is so much coral by the shore that you don’t need to go far at all for amazing snorkeling experiences!  I was stunned when I found sea urchins, and fish of all sizes and colors just steps from the 5 mile beach shoreline.  My friend even exclaimed that it was the best snorkeling he had ever done!   And it was all within the property – no expensive excursion required.  Kids and non swimmers alike will totally appreciate being able to touch the bottom while snorkeling!  What a special experience!atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

You’ll love the tropical vibes.  It’s breathtaking!  Grounds are perfectly manicured, flowers are lush and marine life abounds.  atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis, travel blogger review, review of atlantisHere I am at one of the 11 pools – an adults only one with live DJ, so FUN!    It was heaven.  Trust me, here, you’ll forget all about lockdown life.  Here, you’ll breathe in fresh ocean air and just not care.  Here you’ll find the tranquility and peace quarantining for so long stripped you of and then you’ll start wondering whether you ever need to go back home…atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

3).  Atlantis Bahamas is FUN for the Whole Family!

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During covid, you need a one-stop resort that allows for minimal, movement, outside contact and exposure while offering plenty of outdoor dining, space and activities.  And you should note that downtown Paradise Island, normally bustling with cruise ship activity pretty much closed down even during our high season of spring break.  So travelers to Paradise Island really relied on the hotels to provide entertainment and daily activities.  And there is no more fun hotel for the whole family than Atlantis!atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

Aquaventure is what makes Atlantis stand out from all of the rest.  atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantisAccess to this incredible 141 acre waterpark is complimentary with your hotel stay and includes everything from thrill-rides like the famous 50′ drop “leap of faith,” to memorable waterslides that dump you into a see-through tunnel surrounded by sharks, to a 1mile long rapid river, to all the best kiddie slides and splash areas.

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We made so many hilarious memories here as a family.  If you traveled along with us through Instagram stories, you know why I’m laughing here. atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantisDolphin Cay, “walk with the sharks,” and “snorkel with the ruins of Atlantis” are other epic marine adventures awaiting your arrival.   And if you’re looking for a slower pace by the water, one of the 11 pools or the serene beach will float your boat.atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

Dry entertainment is available too!  Everything from the  Tom Weiskopf-designed, championship golf course to tennis, rock climbing, casino, bars, restaurants, shopping, and library are available to guests! (The theater and comedy club are temporarily closed during the pandemic). atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantisatlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

TIP. Save the indoor stuff like shopping, the hotel’s program of kiddie activities (i.e. arts and crafts as an example) and the “Dig” which is the amazing indoor aquarium for periods when you’re expecting sub-standard weather.  And if you have dreams of leaving your kid(s) at the Atlantis kids club please note that during covid, they only have 24 spots (for their entire resort)!  SO plan your itinerary ahead of time, note their limited hours and make those reservations before you even arrive.  We were not able to take advantage of the kids club during any part of our stay and I wish that I had known this prior.  You can thank me with a blog comment below 🙂   For more ideas on what to do with kids, click here.  Atlantis has helpfully broken down activity ideas by age group for you!atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel review, atlantis review, review of atlantis

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If you want time out from all the activities and want to enjoy some indulgence, head to Mandara spaIt’s where I spent a couple hours of alone time (thanks to them hosting me) and I tell you it was bliss.  The service, the massage, the surroundings, and the complimentary hot tub/sauna and aromatherapy lounge area were little slices of heaven that I feel so fortunate to have luxuriated in.  Lockdown life was hard.  We all deserve this!!  Don’t you agree??

4). Fine Dining

With so many options at your disposal, (21 restaurants and 19 bars to be exact), each meal time becomes a true foodie adventure!  Our favorites were Nobu for mouth watering omakase, Seafire Steakhouse for succulent fare and outstanding service, and Olives for the tastiest chicken sausage and breakfast potatoes we’ve ever had.  Click here for more.

TIP:  If you have a special occasion you are celebrating while there like we did (we had 3 dad’s birthdays within our large group), make your reservations a week early to ensure you lock in the day and time that you need.  Note and be warned that all their restaurants’ walk-in waits were a 45 minutes wait at best to totally unavailable.  We learned quite quickly, that you need (especially for dinner) to have a reservation a couple days in advance to be safe for any day you are there.https://stylishlystella.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/img_1806.mov

 

5).  Beauty Surrounds You

Everything from the guest rooms and suites to the views from every angle provide a sense of escape and inspire appreciation for beauty.  We were hosted at the Cove Oceanside suite and were wow-ed with not only how much space it granted us, but the stunning views from the private balcony!  It made the getaway truly dreamy to have such glorious views! (Pic below from the Atlantis website)

atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotelBut really, everywhere we walked and toured through the resort (it’ll take you days to discover the entire resort btw), resulted in awe-inspiring views.  From the lagoons and flowers to the cheery pastel hotel looming around us, there was always something to make us smile and be grateful for during this gorgeous getaway.

atlantis resort, atlantis bahamas, bahamas hotel, atlantis hotel, atlantis hotel reviewIf you travel to the Atlantis, you won’t have any problem (as you can see from this blog post) with finding Instagramable moments.  They’re EVERYWHERE!  And if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate every moment!

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Thanks SO much to the Atlantis hotel and PR team who helped make this trip a vacation to remember.  Feel free to leave me any questions or comments you have about this hotel, the Bahamas or simply traveling with kids during the pandemic.  And as always, you can stay in touch with us daily through Instagram.com/stylishlystella where I share all the Instagrammable hot spots around the world, inspire you to celebrate the everyday and offer lots of tips and shoppable links along the way.

Safe travels!!

 

 

 

 

 

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