Seasonal activities such as water skiing, peddle boating, ice skating, and snowmobiling
Simple spa with couples-friendly treatments
Fitness room, plus racquetball, tennis, and basketball courts
Free access to sister resort amenities (though they’re far away)
Resort fee (covers Wi-Fi and parking)
Isolated location far from nearest town (pro for some)
Some room interiors are dated
Mediocre food and drink
Of the three couples-only Cove Haven resorts in the Poconos region, Pocono Palace is the most modern. That said, it still has all the corny retro romance factor that’s been attracting vacationing lovers to these mid-range resorts since the 1960s. Most of its 189 fantasy-themed rooms are equipped with their famously gaudy (and fun) heart-shaped hot tubs. It's hard not to marvel at the tri-level Roman Tower Suites with their whirlpools shaped as giant Champagne glasses -- though the saggy round beds, chintzy decor, and mirrors galore aren't for everyone and simple contemporary rooms are available. All-inclusive rates can cover meals and non-alcoholic drinks. (Discerning diners need not apply.) Between the umpteen seasonal lake activities, pools, and nightly entertainment, there’s plenty to do at this lovers’ only compound. Those seeking romance without the cheesiness, could try Pocono Manor Resort & Spa.
Couples-only compound combines with tawdry romance and tranquil nature
Tucked away on close to 500 acres of peaceful nature grounds, the Pocono Palace differs from its sister resorts, mixing a mountain lodge atmosphere into its design. The lobby and Lakeview Dining Room restaurant feature rustic stone walls, a big stone fireplace hearth, and soaring vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, for a grand, yet cozy, feel that fits the woodsy surrounds. While fitting for the Poconos, it's at odds with the property’s prevalent Roman theme -- a remnant of Caesar’s days before Cove Haven took over the made-for-romance properties.
Most of the action is contained to the main lodge-style building which contains the lobby, Lakeview restaurant, Applause nightclub, Spooner’s Cafe, indoor pool, and sprawling game room. The lobby opens onto an expansive deck with outdoor seating to admire the private lake down below. During warmer months, this lake is a center of outdoor activity, with its sandy beach and water activities galore. It’s all about couples spending quality time at Pocono Palace and there are cheesy motifs to remind guests where they are. “Your are entering the Land of Love,” reads the giant heart-shaped sign by the entrance. “Licensed to park in the Land of Love,” reads the car pass guests must display on their rear view mirror. “Fall for each other but don’t fall down these stairs,” reads a sign in the split-level suites. The cheese factor isn’t for everyone, but it can strike a fun cord with the lovebirds who are here to reconnect.
On a private lake in a secluded Marshalls Creek setting, with other Poconos towns accessible by car
A self-contained resort in the Marshalls Creek area of East Stroudsburg, there’s nothing in walking distance from Pocono Palace, save the nature trails around Echo Lake on which the resort sits. Numerous state parks and other small lakes otherwise surround the Pocono Mountains area, known for its camping, hiking, and ski resorts. Nearby highlights are few, but include Shawnee Mountain Ski Area (10 minutes) and Bushkill Falls (11 minutes). The nearest small towns are several miles away, with downtown Stroudsburg close to a 25-minute drive southwest. The popular vacation town of Mount Pocono is a 40-minute drive northwest. It’s the same distance to the charming historic township of Milford. The resort is about a two-hour drive from New York City. It’s about a one-hour drive from Lehigh Valley International Airport, 40 minutes from Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport, and about 70 minutes from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. The hotel can advise on local car or limousine transfers.
Fantasy theme decor -- most rooms with heart-shaped whirlpools, fireplaces, and mirrored ceilings
Most of the rooms at Pocono Palace have wood-burning fireplaces and iconic heart-shaped whirlpool tubs, setting the stage for unbridled romantic encounters. Split or multi-level layouts are the norm, with different color palettes and pastel wallpapers -- such as electric blue, lipstick red, or blush pink -- and furnishings to match each fantasy theme. More expensive suites have private plunge pools and saunas, but bathrooms are generally less ambitious with average walk-in showers.
The most impressive categories are the Tower Suites which are two-story affairs centered around seven-foot tall, Champagne glass whirlpool tubs for two, overlooking living rooms. These suites also feature heated heart-shaped pools, saunas, Bose Wave radios, and celestial ceilings (star lights) either over beds or whirlpools. Fantasy Apple suites also impress with their spacious tri-level layouts that come with sky-lit living areas, circular indoor heated pools, saunas, heart-shaped hot tubs, and wide balconies with private lake and nature views. Also featuring indoor (triangular) pools and heart whirlpools are the Garden of Eden Apple Suites that have a more open plan split-level layout.
Lower categories that lack pools, but come with heart-shaped hot tubs, include Fairway Suites, and Lakeside Chalets which have been updated with cream leather lounges, and matching black and chrome furniture -- though it all feels far more '80s than contemporary. The Pocono Palace also has more traditional Club Lodge Suites in the main building with views of the grounds -- these are the only rooms with square beds, though they come with oval-shaped whirlpool baths, and may be appealing to guests who prefer rooms that aren't over-the-top. All categories are climate controlled and come with flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi access, and mini-fridges (in most).
Seasonal activities galore, indoor and outdoor pools, a huge game center, three eateries, and a nightclub
Thanks in large part to its vast nature setting, Pocono Palace offers a dizzying list of seasonal and year-round activities. Echo Lake is the source of many activities in warmer months such as water skiing, peddle boating, and waterskiing. Winter allow for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice-skating. There are nature trails to explore year-round and the outdoor pool is open seasonally. Inside, the warehouse-size game room comes with 32,000 square feet of mini-golf, pool tables, table tennis, shuffleboard, and loads of arcade games. The property also features tennis, racquetball, and basketball courts.
Pampering at the simple spa includes a typical array of massages and treatments, with many designed for couples. There's also a tiled room with an indoor Roman-style swimming pool and big bi-level whirlpool. A small fitness room is located near the pool, though it’s very basic, containing just a handful of older cardio and weights machines.
The Lakeview Dining Room serves as the main restaurant where breakfast and dinner are served. Breakfast options include a basic buffet, along with a la carte options, while specialty dinners feature themes such as the codfather’s seafood buffet or rare catch steak night. Spooner’s Grill is otherwise open for snack-style lunch and dinner meals including salads, burgers, and pizza, in addition to offering a basic room service menu. Tanlines Bar & Grille (open seasonally) serves snacks and drinks poolside in the warmer months. Reviews on Pocono Palace fare are mixed, but it's safe to say that serious foodies are unlikely to be impressed here. All-inclusive rates are available to cover breakfast, dinner, and non-alcoholic drinks.
The resort’s Applause Nightclub hosts nightly entertainment consisting of local cover bands, DJs, magicians, and comedians, including the occasional national act. The nightclub bar, Echo Lake Lounge, has nightly happy hours, evening games such as bingo, and evocative on-theme cocktails like the orgasmtini and passion potion. This is where live entertainment takes place on quieter nights. Bigger acts feature in the huge adjoining nightclub theater space, filled with table seating and flanked on either side by big red vinyl booths.
An expansive open-air terrace behind the lobby provides outdoor seating with tranquil views of the tree-lined lake. The mandatory daily resort fee covers use of facilities, on-site parking, and Wi-Fi. Guests staying at the Pocono Palace can "play" at the other two properties (Cove Haven and Paradise Stream), with free access to amenities there, but most will find the other locations too far away for this to be a realistic option.
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