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Retreat to the Poconos

By Keith Loria

The Pocono Mountains has long been known for its charming location and offers something for every season—skiing and tubing in winter, foliage in fall, hiking and biking in spring, and whitewater rafting and zip lining in summer.

Just 80 miles from Manhattan, 90 miles from Philadelphia and bordering New Jersey, the Pocono Mountains are within a 200-mile radius of 20 percent of the U.S. population and the perfect place for businesses to hold a corporate meeting or people to come for an event.

The four-county region is famous for its tourism thanks to its natural scenic beauty, 150 lakes and quaint, historic towns with endless antiquing opportunities.

David Jackson, vice president of sales for the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, says tourism is the bread and butter of the Poconos, with more than 50 percent of all income being hospitality related.

“That puts us in a position that we have to deliver a top hospitality product because there’s no agriculture to fall back on, so you’re constantly getting the best out of people and our resorts,” he says. “This is a completely different scene for your team. They can connect with each other in the fresh air and make a connection with nature but still have modern conveniences and excellent cuisine.”

Water Park Fun

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions offers 65,000 square feet of flexible space including 25,000- and 9,000-square-foot ballrooms, 18 meeting rooms and multiple hospitality suites.

“Meetings and events at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions report an average  20 percent increase in meeting attendance,” says Tifani  Jones, corporate director of sales for Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. “We think this is because when you choose Kalahari, your meeting or event becomes a destination vacation for the whole family, with the best in entertainment and dining all under one roof.”

In addition to the convention facilities, the resort is also home to America’s largest indoor water park, Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures; The Arena, a virtual reality attraction; a worldclass spa; halotherapy and hydrotherapy; and premium restaurant experiences.

“In late 2019, we’re opening an expansion that more than doubles the size of our convention center for a total of  205,000 square feet,” says Jones. “We’re also opening 18 new meeting rooms and will have a total of 33 and adding a 38,000-square-foot in our main ballroom.”

Meeting guests are also provided with a dedicated conference services manager, a fullservice business center, state-of-the-art lighting and A/V controls, high-definition projectors and monitors and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Plenty of Thrills

Camelback Resort opened in 1963 with 14 trails and three lifts and has grown today into 38 trails and 16 lifts along with America’s largest snow tubing park. It also offers the Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark and Camelback Mountain Adventures, Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor water park.

The resort boasts 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting space that includes a Grand Ballroom that can be broken into four meeting rooms, a pre-function area perfect for registrations or cocktail parties, four breakout rooms and a private boardroom.

“Aside from having epic views and a large list of fun activities to choose from, our property is flexible in working with the needs and desires of any group,” says Michelle Wescott, director of sales. “We’re open to creating custom menus, theming events, creating teambuilding experiences that incorporate our indoor and outdoor activities and more. We also offer state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and an on-site audio-visual team ready to assist with any meeting needs.”

The resort is constantly reinventing itself and expanding to meet and exceed the expectations of its guests. It recently added its own on-site IT team to help meeting guests, and has on staff experienced chefs, a knowledgeable sales team and an accommodating banquet staff.

“The Pocono Mountains and Camelback Lodge offer trips that are scenic, successful and memorable. Not only are there several on-site activities and attractions, but a short distance away groups can access breweries, wineries, outlet shopping, state parks, golf, paintball, whitewater rafting and so much more,” Wescott says. “The Pocono Mountains area is versatile in the way that it can cater to visits for relaxation or to adventurous, outdoor thrill-seekers.”

Winner, Winner

As Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four Diamondrated casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort features the  ultimate resort and gaming experience with more than 1,800 slot machines and 80 table games set against the  backdrop of Pennsylvania’s picturesque Pocono Mountains.

In the spring of 2019, the resort added 16,000 square feet to its existing ballroom and events center, allowing it to accommodate groups of up to 750 patrons for dinner and 1,200 attendees for corporate events.

“This project marks yet another bold and aggressive step to continuously elevate Mount Airy Casino Resort as the Northeast’s premier destination for the best in corporate events and weddings, gaming, entertainment, luxury hotel accommodations, dining and leisure,” says Vincent Jordan, vice president of market – ing and gaming operations at Mount Airy Casino Resort. “Our new event space is the ideal venue for groups of every size.”

The resort’s 288 upscale guest  rooms and suites serve every need while guests can dis – cover a variety of signature restaurant options, including Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen; Bistecca by Il Mulino; Lucky 8 Noodle and Sushi Bar; Pizzeria Montagna; and The Signature Buffet, including custom offerings at the Chef’s Table.

“Mount Airy Casino and Resort offers great food, top-notch A/V equipment and more than 20,000 square feet of brand new, flexible meeting space,” Jordan says. “Mix in the countless property amenities including the golf course, dining options, Get Wet pool, spa and casino, there are plenty of options on property to keep guests relaxed and engaged throughout their stay.”

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa features 30,799 square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate groups of 10 to 400.

“We are located in a very sweet spot, right off of the highway, and you quickly feel like you’ve fallen into another place and get that ‘away’ feel,” says Ali Schratt , director of sales and marketing for the resort. “The property opened in 1902, and a lot of our meeting space has stone walls so the space is sort of unique.”

Schratt notes all meeting rooms offer complimentary high-speed internet access and teleconference capabilities.

“The resort’s staff attends to every detail and guests will enjoy our complete culture,” Schratt says. “A visit to the Poconos is an experience no one will forget.”