August 22, 2014 by Gene Jones

The need for breakthrough thinking is never-ending. To master the fast moving tides of modern society, every individual and every business needs to constantly innovate and grow.
Sometimes a change of scenery can be most beneficial to achieving important breakthrough states. Breakthrough destination resorts are a valuable resource in this quest, providing vibrant environments that assist corporate leadership to inspire their teams. Such resorts are gateways to mindfulness and creative advancement for those wise enough to embrace them.
This concept is what led me to explore The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, PA.
The Lodge at Woodloch is a magical destination spa resort located surprisingly close to New York City. I had never heard of Woodloch until my GPS stumbled upon it during last year’s annual Christmas migration to visit my wife’s family in Ohio. On the way home, we casually checked for resorts along the Route 80 corridor to see if there were any interesting hotels. The Lodge at Woodloch popped up as we approached Scranton, PA. My wife and I could not believe our eyes as we read the eclectic list of workshops and classes offered daily at this bucolic resort. As we scrolled through the photo gallery showing lovely rooms, indoor waterfalls, multiple Jacuzzis, a lake, elaborate spa, large gym, etc., it became apparent that the Lodge at Woodloch was no ordinary resort. Although we did not divert our trip home at that time, we tucked away Woodloch as a ‘must visit’.
This year’s arrival of summer seemed to be a good excuse to take a three-day vacation at Woodloch. After a pleasant two-hour ride from New York City, we arrived at this secluded gem in the middle of Pennsylvania farm country. The Lodge is a world unto itself, totally removed from outside sights and sounds. It is absolutely serene, and brilliantly sculpted into the surrounding forested landscape.
Arriving guests immediately sense something different as they pass through the towering entry hall to be greeted by three oversized crystal singing bowls on the branches of a beautifully sculpted tree trunk.
One quickly senses a supreme sense of overriding intelligence hovering over this resort. Beyond masterful hospitality management, there are an abundance of small touches that make the Lodge at Woodloch a splendid place for people to relax their minds and bodies. Starting with an impressive staff-to-guest ratio of more than 2 to 1, every staff member seems superbly trained and attentive to all guest needs at all times. Requests for extra blankets and room repairs were consistently responded to in less than five minutes by employees who seemed thrilled to be able to help out. The resort’s no tipping policy added credibility to the staff’s sincerity.
In addition to tasteful modern amenities, the resort features classes in journaling, Sanskrit mantra, yoga, fly fishing, cooking, wine tasting, bird watching, kayaking, water aerobics, and much more. There is an official Artist in Residence who is available five hours a day for anyone interested in learning to draw or paint. There are guided hikes and nature walks, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, gardening, life coaching, tai chi, and a wide assortment of spa treatments. The spa itself is abundant and absolutely immaculate, featuring large saunas, steam rooms, and swimming pool in addition to indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis garnished by two waterfalls.
Transcending the understated beauty of the place and its exceptional offerings, there is a more important aspect of the Lodge that inspired my writing this article. Seamlessly blending all the above-mentioned traits, the Lodge at Woodloch possesses an alchemical mixture of architecture, closeness to nature, and spirit that facilitates breakthrough thinking. There are very few resorts capable of achieving such a special state. Even fewer of them are within two hours two major Northeast metropolitan areas: Philadelphia and New York City. This makes Woodloch a very special resource for companies desirous of a unique location for offsite corporate meetings. While enjoying my three days at Woodloch, I kept thinking of what an exceptional corporate meeting venue it is -the perfect place to whisk away employees for transformative interactions. With that in mind, I investigated all of the Lodge’s facilities, imagining how such a meeting would flow from breakout rooms with fireplaces, to picture-windowed dining rooms featuring French service, outdoor fire pits, and forested hiking trails. It was easy to envision supremely productive corporate gatherings, as the Lodge presents an inviting canvas on which to create quantum progress. That is the beauty of a breakthrough resort: the ability to seamlessly inspire guests to explore their inner potential and then share those discoveries with fellow colleagues. With proper guidance, corporate retreats in this type of environment can reach superior levels of progress toward any desired goal.
Since I am someone who teaches my own brand of breakthrough thinking, I felt an immediate kinship with this resort. I wanted to know everything I could learn about how it evolved. Approaching the front desk, I asked if I could talk with someone about the history of Woodloch. I was surprised to discover that the congenial person greeting me at the front desk was the hotel manager, Jenifer Mangione. She has been managing the Lodge for two years, after working 27 years for owner John Keisendahl, at his neighboring Woodloch Pines family resort only a mile away. The Keisendahl family has been in the hospitality business for over 55 years, expanding the tradition with each generation. Mrs. Mangione cheerfully informed me that all her children had also worked for the Kiesendahl family. The feeling of family resonates throughout the resort, as there is a familial connection between all aspects of its operation. This ‘blending’ is worthy of mention because of its applicability as an example for outside business operations and organizational management. The Lodge at Woodloch is a fascinating hybrid of a family run resort and a visionary spa, as it was largely conceived by John and Ginny Lopis, two legendary spa designers who have masterminded some of the most elite spas in America. Experienced spa goers will notice many familiar amenities and concepts of other breakthrough resorts such as Canyon Ranch and Miraval in Tucson, AZ.
The Lodge was constructed in 2006, but because of its impeccable upkeep, looks as if it just had its grand opening. Conversely, it has many timeless design features that give it a very homey old-fashioned flavor.
All breakthrough resorts serve as magnets for eclectic individuals who populate their signature offerings. Merging these transplanted practitioners with the general staff establishes a unique culture that becomes a hybrid world of its own. The Lodge at Woodloch is a shining example of an assemblage of specialists from all over America, blending with the local population to create a vibrant healthy staff culture. From a management standpoint, it requires a high degree of sophistication to successfully orchestrate such an unorthodox culture. This is what facilitates the alchemy of a breakthrough resort and gives such resorts the power to inspire creativity and freedom of thought on a different level.
Each breakthrough resort has its own special chemistry, encouraging guests to reach their potential greatness. This innate ability to nurture, transform and inspire others is greatness in itself. That is why it is well worth one’s time to study destinations such as the Lodge at Woodloch. Breakthrough thinking needs enlightened staging combined with insightful guidance. It is wise to consider utilizing an exceptional facility when hosting such an ambitious endeavor.

The Lodge at Woodloch
109 River Birch Lane
Hawley PA 18428
57 guest rooms
110-120 guest capacity