Mere seconds into The Bachelor, and it’s clear the location will be as much a character on the show as its much-talked-about contestants. Filmed at Nemacolin in a quarantine bubble in the fall (much like the most recent season of The Bachelorette), all dates and alliances, intrigues and drama will take place at the resort, which is set on more than 2,000 acres in the Allegheny mountains outside of Pittsburgh. Lest you worry that the lone destination could be confining for the supremely photogenic Matt James and his belles, the sprawling estate features three hotels, seven eateries, a spa, two golf courses, and no shortage of outdoor activities tailored to the seasons.
And while just three episodes in, the focus has been on a few frontrunners and the delicious antics of Victoria, don’t be surprised if you find yourself forming a deep connection to Team Nemacolin, too. During my visit in December, shortly after filming wrapped on season 25 of The Bachelor, I saw firsthand how the resort proved a worthy addition to the season. Here’s what to know should the show inspire you to book a getaway.
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So far, most of the group activity has happened at the Chateau, whose grand exterior was modeled after the Ritz Paris. Matt stood on the sweeping staircase out front to greet his guests; then, the ladies went inside and waited for him in the salon where the hotel usually serves a proper tea service Tuesday through Saturday. When Matt has a moment of panic and needs to speak with Chris? They sit by the fireplace in the cigar bar, a great spot for a fine Scotch or bourbon as a nightcap during your visit.
While Matt is staying in one of the resort’s private estates (which is why his set-up does not at all resemble a hotel room), the contestants are staying at Falling Rock, which was inspired by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and originally opened as a hub for golfers. While guests at Falling Rock are unlikely to have strangers as roommates the way the contestants do, they do have access to a dedicated restaurant, an infinity pool, and sweeping views of the golf courses, ponds, and sculptures that dot the grounds.
I stayed at the Chateau, which I consider the resort’s hub, and loved the proximity it afforded me to the tea room and cigar bar. It also houses Lautrec, an innovative, Michelin-starred restaurant with unique tasting menus. Finally, it’s an easy walk to the Lodge, another on-site hotel, as well as a shopping area, diner, pub, and spa. The Chateau has a club level on the fifth floor, where your spacious suite comes with the added benefit of a private butler who will bring you bubbly and draw a bath for you. The contestants may have a shot at Matt James, but you could have a plush suite and private lounge with drinks and snacks instead.
It’s a little early to see exactly how Matt and his suitors will take full advantage of Nemacolin’s date options, but this is a good time to point out two things the resort does well: outdoor activities and events like weddings and other gatherings (though ideally your stay won’t involve rifling through rental wedding dresses for a faux photo shoot or a paintball-meets-capture-the-flag competition, this is the site of an annual GOP retreat).
The ATVs that Matt and Bri take out while the women watch on in envy are most certainly an option for guests, as is—believe it or not—making use of the private airfield; guests often arrive by private plane, according to resort staff. There are also stables available, should you prefer to go horseback riding, as Matt and Serena P. did on their date.
We see Matt running on the grounds for exercise, and there are trails all over for walking or hiking, with bike rentals available, too. If that’s too lo-fi for you, head to the Adventure Center, where you can be set up with paintballing and zip-lining, or join the Wildlife Academy, which offers safaris of the lions, tigers, bears, wolves, mountain lions, and other animals that the resort cares for in its animal sanctuary.
For some R&R, do not miss your chance to test out the spa. It spans three levels, and includes a sauna, steam rooms, and indoor pool. My favorite part? You can book a private chaise in the relaxation lounge after your treatment, where you can cozy up by a fireplace, order something to eat, and revel in the calm vibes (and even nap if you want to).
COVID-19 safety precautions
Matt and the contestants are able to socialize in close quarters—sharing rooms, meals, and hanging out without masks—because of stringent safety protocols and ongoing testing conducted at the hotel. As far as we know, this season’s filming went off without a hitch on that front, and Nemacolin has elected to continue offering on-site testing for staff, while conducting temperature screenings for guests, says Maggie Hardy Knox, Nemacolin’s CEO. Fittingly, it was my first hotel stay amid the pandemic, and I found every area had social distancing built in; meanwhile, everyone wore masks in public spaces. Private concierge services are on offer 24/7, though there’s no need to hole up in your room. Nemacolin has undertaken the measures to ensure a safe visit, and as the contestants might say: Why would you want to miss your chance?
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