There are few places on earth as joyous as Nemacolin, set on 2,000 wondrous acres in Pennsylvania. The resort’s legendary founder Maggie Hardy Knox tells THE DAILY what’s ahead for the all-season luxury resort and there’s plenty! Have you booked your trip yet? (PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORDAN MILLINGTON)
There’s always something new happening at Nemacolin! What’s ahead for 2022?
The last year and a half, almost two years, we’ve been dealing with COVID, which has drastically changed how we have been handling everything at Nemacolin. We’ve gone from an open to the public, 4-star property to now an exclusive property where you have to either be a member or a guest. The expectations of our guests have greatly increased and the service and people who we employ and the training behind the scenes has been a great investment. You can build whatever you want but you need to have the right people to run it. Nemacolin is committed to the luxury market, and we have high expectations for the property and who we employ. So, moving forward to 2022 we’re reinvesting into the people and adding a fabulous community of beautiful homes and beautiful facilities for our associates to interact as well as a country store for necessary products and really just taking care of our people. We can’t do what we really want to do unless we surround ourselves with the best possible people for the industry.
What else can we expect?
We are currently designing the “Original Inn” and the “Inn Annex,” which are both going to become “The Inn.” This is going to be a 5-star standard part of the property and in the next year and a half the rooms will be butler served rooms. The real need in the luxury market is housing and I will continue to build homes and estates to rent, not to buy. We are also expanding on [the hotel] Falling Rock and its services. We are building large 3,000 sq ft villas that will follow the 5-star standards. A lot is going on but again, it is really up to the people that we surround ourselves with at Nemacolin so that we can meet the expectations of our distinguished, traveling guests.
Tell us about The Peak.
At The Peak, pools are one of our biggest attractions and this has become a year-round entertainment complex with a lazy river, a stage for entertainment and much more. It is going to be run 12 months out of the year and while your kids are playing, you can sit in a cabana, sipping champagne or watch a concert on the stage. It was 15 weeks from design to build, very aggressive but it is such a wonderful facility to enjoy.
The spa is one of the best parts of the Nemacolin experience. What are some of the most popular treatments?
Who doesn’t love a good spa and I believe our spa is number one in the united states. The estheticians and massage therapists have been there for years, and you cannot beat it. I would recommend any treatment and we introduce seasonal treatments for a little spice. The staff are constantly being trained and we’re always investing in our people in the spa to try new treatments and take educational classes. I believe the spa is phenomenal. You have to try the 2-hour massage. The holistic center is also something to watch in 2022 and 2023. We love evolving and putting the science behind the feel good of the spa and encouraging people to live healthier lives.
What are your favorite parts of the Nemacolin experience?
I think when you talk about Nemacolin you can have so many different experiences as soon as you enter the property. If you like flowers, we will blow your mind. If you’re staying on the 5th floor of The Chateau which is modeled after The Ritz in Paris and you’re currently in Pennsylvania, it will just blow you away. You feel like you’re in Versailles. How our team takes care of the landscaping is unbelievable. If you like art, well we have Calder to Monet to Botero and we have all types of artists whether it be abstract or modern. When my dad [Josephy Hardy] started the art collection, he undertood the minds of artists and doesn’t sway one way but believes it’s the stories behind each piece and the individuals that painted it and what they felt while painting it. I first designed the spa when I was 23 so I love the spa and we’ve since then had it redesigned. We hosted a PGA tournament for golf. We have a championship golf course called Mystic Rock and a completely different course called Shepherds rock. The Golf Academy was just redone so it’s also a golf destination. Both courses have been rated by Readers Digest. If you like cigars, go to the cigar bar at night. Lautrec restaurant is a beautiful, artistic, and well collaborated meal. Or you can go and shoot pool at The Tavern. It’s a magical place! I could go on and on. It’s the things we enjoy and love and thought why not share it with the rest of the world? Ironically people love it, too.
What is the holiday experience like at Nemacolin?
The holiday experiences are one of the most magical times at Nemacolin. It begins the Friday after Thanksgiving with the traditional Light Up Night, which is about lighting up and being thankful. The artistic creativity of the property really comes out with a bigger-than-life bow on The Chateau and you can smell gingerbread when you enter the lobby. You get to see all the kids filled with joy and they have bright smiles on their faces. It truly is one of my favorite times at Nemacolin, especially when it’s snowing. The tradition each year is so warming.
You’re also the owner of 84 Lumber. How do you manage so many roles?
It doesn’t matter the magnitude or size of any business, if you want to grow, in my opinion, you have to surround yourself with good people, great people that have a wonderful attitude and will do whatever to make it work. Also, you have to make it fun to get through obstacles. It’s not me, it’s my team that pulls everything together, especially when you’re down and you can rely on people when you’re down to lift you up and make the impossible possible. I never take it for granted and I’m very blessed to be surrounded with the best associates in the entire world.
What’s your best advice for having balance in your life?
There is no best advice because when you’re running a living breathing entity with my kids and my businesses, it’s hard to have balance between. But I believe the balance is dictated by the need of each thing. When people and businesses are happy, I let them go on their way and when there is stress, I dive deep and make sure to figure it out together.
When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the family business?
I always felt a gravitational pull and interest with Nemacolin; it’s a fantasy land to me, especially growing up here as a child. I have so many things I want to do, but Nemacolin has always been and will always be a huge part of my life!
What’s your everyday role now?
As the VP of Brand Strategy, I’m always challenging myself and the team to continue to transcend the Nemacolin experience!
What has been the most rewarding part of your role in recent years?
Working with family and friends and seeing the resort to evolve in ways that I could never imagine!
What are you most excited about these days within the property?
The Après-ski experience at The Peak! The hot cocoa, the heated pool amongst the snow is just so romantic
What would you still like to see at Nemacolin down the road?
More drama and more theater! You best believe it’s on the way! Now with the stage by the pool at The Peak, there’s a lot of exciting entertainment experiences down the road like a summer concert series, drag shows and more!
What’s a fun fact about Nemacolin we should know?
The resort is haunted!
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