Skytop Lodge in Summer
Skytop Lodge is a majestic hotel resort located in the Poconos. If the Poconos make you think of dated hotel rooms with shag carpeting, a heart-shaped bed, and a champagne glass tub, know that Skytop is the furthest thing from this genre. As a matter of fact, it’s at the silver level of Historic Hotels of America, plus Travel+Leisure Magazine lists it under Best All-Inclusive Resorts.
We were greeted at the porte-cochère by the valet and porter. The valet walked over to our car, had our name on the list and told us that we have a cottage room, so we should park to the side and check in. A greeter opened the door and pointed us towards the front desk. We had a trainee checking us in, who was polite, but didn’t have all the recreation answers. We got those answers later at their Activities Desk downstairs.
We drove to the Stream Side Cottage, which is split into four rooms. Two on either side of the entry are connecting. We were in the front of our cottage and had a view of our car off to the side in the foreground and the front of other cottages in the background. The bathroom had plain white tile, a round toilet seat, and a shower curtain over the bathtub, making it standard. The room itself was somewhat roomy and had a king-sized bed, desk and chair, armoire with TV and DVD player inside, sofa bed, armchair, and walk-in closet with a dresser and mini-fridge. There’s a partially covered side porch, and the rooms are listed as having a gas fireplace and safe, but ours did not have these amenities.
The rooms at the Lodge are smaller, but are convenient since most activities happen in or near it. The Cottages are a five-minute walk from the lodge, and the Inn has spacious room and balconies, but is on the opposite side of the grounds, about a 10 – 15 minute walk away from the Lodge (depending on your pace). There is a complimentary shuttle available to transport you back and forth, or you can just drive your car over in a couple of minutes.
Skytop has two distinct types of architecture. The Lodge is a stone Dutch Colonial. It houses the Windsor Dining Room, indoor and outdoor pools, Activities Center, Tap Room, Tea Room (ice cream, sandwiches, etc,), the Garden, and an expansive lobby with abundant armchairs and sofas. The Inn at Skytop and the Cottages are more rustic and constructed of cedar shingles and stone foundations. The Inn is home to the Pro Shop, the seasonal LakeView Restaurant, the Inn-Between Deli, and the Fairview Bar.
The resort is on 5,500 acres of land, and includes, the Lodge, Inn, Cottages, Adventure Center, fields for several lawn games, 18-hole golf course, plus several trails (some are miles away). Theoretically, you wouldn’t have to leave the resort if you choose the meal plan.
Breakfast and lunch are more casual, and are served buffet-style. There’s an egg station that makes eggs to order, specializing in whole egg and egg white omelettes for breakfast. Gentlemen are required to wear jackets to dinner in the Windsor Dining Room, where we were served a four-course menu., which changed daily while we were there. My daughter was fascinated with the finger bowls, though this wasn’t given to us consistently. The maître d knew our last name by our third meal, and the wait staff was friendly. The food is quite good and I give the restaurant three out of four stars.
Being at the resort makes you feel like you’re in the days of yesteryear. It’s very Gatsby-esque. They offer lawn bowling (bowls), croquet, archery, putting greens, badminton, horseshoes, and beach volleyball along side small gardens, and a playground. The latter three being more modern.
The lake behind the Inn has a small beach with an inflatable trampoline and slide, and two lifeguards were on duty (one in a canoe and one at the beach). They also rent stand up paddleboards (SUPs) with life vests. The beach gives you a natural swimming and sunbathing option compared to the indoor and outdoor pools. Chairs and umbrellas are there for your use at no charge.
All of these activities are included in the price of your stay. There’s even tea served daily at 4 PM in the Lodge’s lobby. Hot water and Tazo tea bags, pink lemonade, fruit-infused water, and soft chocolate chip, candy, oatmeal and sugar cookies are offered until 5 PM sharp. You can drink your tea from proper tea cups or from a disposable cup.
The Adventure Center has an array of more challenging, fee-based activities, and is a reality check to living in the 21st century. Rock climbing, a treetop course including ziplining, paintballing, geocaching, laser tag, mountain biking and more either take place there, or is the starting point for adventures. There’s a Family Fun Package that includes activities at the Adventure Center, plus a round of golf. Tennis and skeet shooting round out country club sports, and there’s a small fitness center to also help work off those four-course meals.
Amenities in the rooms include, bath products, a Keurig coffee machine with K-Cups, flatscreen TV and DVD player or VCR. Additional resort amenities include, a conference center, spa, evening campfire until 10 PM with optional S’mores, Camp in the Clouds for younger kids, movie rental at the Tea Room, and daily free and fee-based events, i.e. guided hikes, yoga, junior golf clinic, ice cream BINGO, and Salsa dancing. There is also babysitting available for a fee.
We’ve overheard many guest stories in the dining room. One couple returned after 30 years, one family visits every year, and there were lots of first timers who vowed on returning. The demographic seems to be young families, (family) groups, empty nesters, retirees, and conference attendees.
While teenagers will find plenty to do during the day, some may yearn for a nightlife that doesn’t exist for them. Bring DVDs and a game console with games to connect to the TV, or be prepared to leave the resort if you vacation here with a teen. Adults itching for more evening entertainment can venture off to Mt. Pocono (casino), Tannersville, or Stroudsburg. Most are content staying at Skytop after dusk.
Tips: Play the lawn games, especially lawn bowling and croquet, and archery. Go to the observation deck at the top of the lodge for a nice overview of the property and beyond. Take the elevator to the fourth floor, walk up to the fifth floor, then go past the spa down the hallway until you reach the stairs to the observation deck. Take a walk on the Upper Fails or Leavitt Falls Trails for views of waterfalls, or the Lake Tail for an overlook at Skytop Lake.
Overall, the food is one of the best you’ll find at an all-inclusive resort. The service was good to outstanding, the day activities were great and the evening was quieter. The Streamside Cottage room was fine, but not luxurious, and the views in the front are that of a fancy motel. If booking here, you might want to request the Lodge or Inn. It is certainly a place to disconnect and relax, or be adventurous during the day. The bonus is, it’s only a two-hour drive away. Despite some formalities at Skytop, it’s not at all stuffy. I would recommend it for its old world charm mixed with modern amenities and call to nature, making it a unique experience!