Nemacolin resort adds touch of Europe to Pa.

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FARMINGTON, Pa. -- Got clients who squirreled away their passports because they are skittish about foreign travel but who still demand the best of both worlds -- the old and the new?

If so, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, located 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, might fill the bill.

Set on 1,500 prime acres of the Laurel Highlands, a turn-of-the-century playground for the wealthy -- nouveau and otherwise -- this four-season complex is centered about a faux French chateau that features vaulted and coffered ceilings, crystal chandeliers and two-story Palladian windows that accent the lobby of what could be a European grand hotel but for its U.S.A.-all-the-way locale in what is coming to be known as Westsylvania.

Artwork abounds throughout the property, indoors and out, from lifelike bronzes by J. Seward Johnson Jr. to Frederic Remington Old West sculptures, porcelain figures, Versace chairs and portraits of jazz figures such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

According to general manager Ronald Cadrette, the resort increasingly is looking to travel agents to help provide the upscale guests needed to fill the five-story, 124-unit Chateau LaFayette, as it is called, as well as the property's separate venue, the 96-unit English Tudor-style Lodge, and 54 one- and two-bedroom townhouses designed for families or groups.

"Our target market is affluent families and couples. We look to travel agents for some of our clientele because they are the ones who can generate bookings from people who can afford to pay for quality," Cadrette said.

"Of course, a lot of our business is word of mouth and return customers, which you might expect, but we believe this is the kind of property agents can sell successfully and keep their clients happy."

And busy, too, one would expect from the rich array of divertissements available to guests.

A partial list includes two PGA-rated golf courses; a stand-alone, 32,000-square-foot, full-service spa and fitness center; an equestrian center; a year-round sporting clays complex with 30 shooting stations; downhill and cross-country skiing (and the Sundial Ski Lodge and Hungry Moose Cafe); a host of shops; a vintage auto museum; a three-sided, 50-foot climbing wall, and 13 restaurants and bars, including a French bistro; Seasons, a venue at the spa, and P.J.'s Ice Cream and Pizza Parlor.

For children, the resort offers a supervised activities club for a variety of age groups, evening programs for youngsters and teen-agers, youth ski programs for all ages and an indoor-outdoor recreational center with a video arcade, a golf simulator, croquet, tennis and swimming.

Meeting facilities cover two ballrooms, a 200-seat lecture hall, 23 meeting rooms and a business center.

The closest major airport is in Pittsburgh, which is a hub for US Airways, but if your client flies his own plane, call (724) 329-6121 to inquire about landing rights for Nemacolin's private, on-property air strip.

Through April 21, rates at the chateau start at $195 a room Sundays through Thursdays and $315 Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.

Lafayette Club rooms start at $310. Rooms at the lodge are $160 and $225, respectively, and town-house accommodations, which include a full kitchen, are $150 and $225, respectively.

For more information, call (800) 422-2736 or visit the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa Web site at www.nwlr.com.

The travel agent connection

Travel Weekly asked Ronald Cadrette, general manager at Nemacolin Woodlands, about selling his property through agents. His responses follow:

Travel Weekly:How do travel agents fit in your marketing plan?

Cadrette: Their role with clients is one of a helpful and appreciated counselor. As [agents] work with their clients, they learn important information such as getaway or vacation price point, the customer's interests and preferred destinations. From this information, the agent can make suggestions.

This proves to be helpful to Nemacolin Woodlands because agents have a far greater knowledge of interesting destinations that attract the affluent, family-oriented frequent traveler -- our target market.

TW:Is this segment of the public particularly responsive to marketing through agents?

Cadrette: These travelers -- wealthy baby-boomers with children -- tend to book vacations through agents because they are very busy people, and the agents do the research for them and recommend a vacation destination. It saves them time.

TW:Did the role of agents take on greater importance following Sept. 11?

Cadrette: Nemacolin Woodlands has experienced an increase in agent business since the attacks. Typically, our market clientele enjoy one or two international or off-shore destinations per year. Now, the trend is a drive-to or no-fly luxury destination. Usually, 10% to 12% of our bookings are attributable to agents, but that is growing monthly.

Resort creates flurry of winter getaways

FARMINGTON, Pa. -- The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa is offering several winter packages.

Among them are the following:

• Escape. This plan includes all-day skiing with rentals, 18 holes of golf, a group trail ride, 50 targets and the use of equipment at the Shooting Academy, any 25-minute spa service, any youth activity program, cross-country skiing and all-day tubing.

Rates for the package, which is available through April 21, start at $265 in the chateau, $236 in the lodge and $227 in the town houses. Rates are per person, double occupancy.

• Bed & Breakfast. The package features accommodations for one night and breakfast for two in the Golden Trout restaurant. Rates start at $199 in the chateau, $170 in the lodge and $161 in the townhouses. Rates are per person, double occupancy.

• Spa. In addition to one night's accommodations, this package covers lunch in the Seasons restaurant; unlimited use of the spa and fitness areas, and the choice of one spa service, including a Swedish massage, a facial or a body wrap. Single rates start at $363 in the chateau, $333 in the lodge and $323 in the townhouses.

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