Deserve some pampering? then look no further than Pennsylvania's golf spa/resorts

By Darryl Berger, Contributor

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Some folks think it doesn't get much better than spending a long weekend at a golf resort, but spending a long weekend at a golf/spa resort ratchets up the decadence several notches. Golf in the morning, a steam and rubdown before heading out for an afternoon round.

Here are five Keystone State resorts where self-indulgence is possible.

5) Pocono Manor Golf Resort & Spa

Historic Pocono Manor Inn has been around for more than 100 years so the folks there know a thing or two about pampering. The Laurel Spa captures the spirit of the European Spa experience, offering treatments ranging from facials to vichy showers to thalassotherapy.

The resort's old East Course, a Donald Ross design, hosted an event during the early days of the senior tour. The newer West Course is a George Fazio design built in the 1960s. Both courses are good, but neither is great. The resort's "Golf Around" program will give you access to five other areas courses.

If you're looking for "Old World" charm and aren't terribly fussy about the golf, Pocono Manor Golf Resort & Spa offers weekend packages that include breakfast and dinner, unlimited green fees and use of the facilities for $268 a night per couple. Other golf and spa packages are also available.

Pocono Manor Golf Resort & Spa is located about 20 miles southeast of Scranton, just off of Interstate 380.

4) Eagle Rock Resort

Eagle Rock's relatively new spa services are restricted to manicure, pedicure and massage - well executed and more than enough for most golfers. The spa salon is connected to a well-equipped fitness facility.

The course at Eagle Rock is player friendly, with exceptional scenery and Arnold Palmer's design on nine holes.

The resort has an inn, a lodge and some two-bedroom townhomes. If you don't mind subjecting yourself to a sales pitch, Eagle Rock offers some very low cost getaways. Evern at full freight, prices are quite reasonable.

Eagle Rock Resort is just outside the town of Hazleton and just off I-81.

3) Felicita Resort

An hour south on I-81, Felicita Resort is very European and, more specifically, Italian. Felicita is Italian for"great happiness," and visiting golfers are likely to find it here.

Felicita is manicured to a T, with a "get-away-from-it all" atmosphere and a spa with exotic choices such as seaweed body wraps, salt scrubs and mud baths.

In fact, the spa outshines the golf - which is not a rap on the course. It's in a pretty setting, well manicured and challenging, but falls short of great island tracks.

Look into the 'Great Happiness' package, which includes golf and spa treatments for about $450 per couple, per night, on weekends during the high season.

Felicita Resort is just a few miles off I-81 and just north of Harrisburg.

2) Hershey Resorts

Just a half-hour to the south is Hershey Resorts in Pennsylvania's chocolate capital. Here we enter a whole new level of decadence. We've got championship golf, world-class spa facilities and lots of chocolate to eat!

Stay at the Hotel Hershey which exudes elegance and class. Milton Hershey built it in the 30's and it remains today one of the great old hotels in the country. The spa offers the best of the best services, but with a uniquely Hershey twist. They offer a whipped cocoa bath where you literally soak in milk chocolate.

But as good as the spa is, golf doesn't have to take a backseat. There are a total of 72-holes on five courses, but the anchors are the West and East Courses. The East Course is an exceptional layout that hosts a Nationwide Tour event in July. But the West Course is even better. It's a standout parkland-style course built in 1930. Ben Hogan was the pro there in the 40's.

They offer a one spa, one golf package for spouses that don't golf together. It runs $578 a night during the summer season.

Hershey Resorts is located in the town of Hershey just east of Harrisburg.

And now, drum roll please..

1) Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa

We'll put the pedal to the metal and hightail it west to the forests of southwest Pennsylvania, an hour south of Pittsburgh where we will find Nemacolin Woodlands. Here we have reached the summit in our search for the best combination of a pampering spa and championship golf.

The spa is simply world class, offering the facilities and services you'd expect. Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked it in the Top 10 spas in North America. It is that good!

The golf has to go some to keep up and fortunately it does. The resort offers two championship courses. The0-par 71 Links Course is just what the name suggests, a very good links style design. But the real star is Mystic Rock which is a Pete Dye gem. With back tees that play to more than 7300 yards and a course rating of 76.4, it's good enough to support a PGA tour stop. And it does! The 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania is held there in September. The owner of 84 Lumber also owns Nemacolin.

This kind of luxury does not come cheap. A couple spending the weekend during the summer and fully availing themselves of the golf and spa services could see their bill total in excess of $1,500 without too much trouble. It is the epitome of luxurious, expensive and as good as it gets in Pennsylvania.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa is just off Route 40, east of Uniontown.

Darryl Berger, Contributor


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