Last week, Select Registry sent me and my partner Lindsay to review The French Manor Inn and Spa for LGBT couples. It didn’t disappoint. French Manor is located in the middle of the woods in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s natural setting makes it a perfect alternative to the city getaway. They are all about relaxation and indulgence with spa packages and their beautiful French restaurant. I’d recommend it for the couple looking for a quiet and romantic weekend away to celebrate.
We stayed in the Evian Spa Suite. It was beautifully designed to cater to a relaxing evening. The king sized bed was placed in the center of the room. There was a gas fireplace with controls next to the bed.On the opposite side of the room was the biggest bathtub jacuzzi I’ve ever seen. Clearly this place was designed with some BowChickaWowWow in mind.
There was a sitting room setup next to a small dining table. Our room also had a large balcony overlooking the fall foliage view with two patio chairs. The linens were really the star of the room. We had soft, thick, almost satin like robes and giant fluffy towels waiting for us beside the hot tub. The bed was quilted in some fancy sheets that Lindsay decided we need at home and the pillows were that perfect balance between luxurious and not obnoxious.
One of the small touches that I really enjoyed was the journal left at the bedside. It was filled with love notes, advice and tips from guests who had stayed in the same suite. Some of the notes were very practical and others were reminiscent and romantic. I really enjoyed flipping through and reading their stories. The attention to detail is one thing that really impressed me about French Manor.
I love a spa day. Getting primped and pampered is the best way to spend an afternoon. Le Spa Foret at French Manor was exactly what I needed after working 60+ hours a week for the last five months. We got an hour long couple’s massage with Aromachology. I had no idea what that meant, but apparently it means you get to pick the scents they use in the massage oils. It was kinda cool sitting and sniffing all the different samples to pick our favorites. Lindsay was really nervous that they’d react weirdly to us being queer, but they didn’t bat an eyelash and they didn’t misgender Lindsay. They knew we were a couple and gave us plenty of time pre and post massage to relax together. The deep tissue massage was exactly what I needed to revamp my energy levels. They even went as far as to prepare fresh cucumber infused water and tea for us after our massages. The spa offers a variety of services you can read about here, but the salt water float pool and the hot tubs were my favorite.
The dining room at the French Manor was old school elegant. With white tablecloths, candlelight, 40 foot vaulted ceilings and two giant fireplaces on either side of the room, it’s a nice setting to enjoy a meal. Each table was set with red roses in the center of the table. We were there on a Wednesday night so we had the dining room to ourselves for most of the night.
The dining room has a dress code requiring men to wear jackets which created a bit of an awkward situation for my partner Lindsay and I. Lindsay typically wears men’s clothing but she identifies as a woman. Was she supposed to wear a jacket or not? She wore one just in case it became an issue, but it was something that could have been elevated by wording the dress code differently. Don’t get me wrong, Lindsay and I loved getting all dressed up to have dinner, but an issue like that could be extremely anxiety-inducing for some gender nonconforming people.
The dinner itself was a five-course feast with all the trimmings. We started with a chef’s tasting and even had a palate cleanser of blood orange sorbet. Lindsay said the sorbet was the best part of our stay. For our main course, we went with the filet mignon and lobster tail over mashed potatoes. It was glorious. The entrees were between $40-$50 each, so this restaurant is a bit pricey but definitely an experience.
Breakfast is complimentary with a guest stay and was my favorite meal we experienced. It was set with the same old school nouveau French vibes, but frankly I enjoyed the food a lot more than the dinner. For an additional charge, you can add a mimosa or bloody mary to your meal so of course we added on. Because… duh. Mimosas.
The food just kept coming and each thing was better than the next. The table was set with fresh baked muffins and jam. I ordered french press coffee and was beyond satisfied with my morning caffeine. Check out their breakfast menu, it’s definitely way beyond your typical continental breakfast.
French Manor is located in the Poconos Mountains. It’s in a very rural town called South Sterling. The property itself is up a big hill down a twisting driveway. In the winter four wheel drive vehicles will be a must. A vacation to the Poconos is one filled with outdoor activities, antiquing and relaxing. Guests can hike in the summer or ski in the winter. French Manor offers horseback riding tours, waterfall hikes, and boating/kayaking. About 20 minutes away is The Crossings Premium Outlet mall with over 100 stores. Lots of guests go hunting for antiques or visit the local casino for a bit of nightlife and gambling.
Our stay was all inclusive for $480. That included $100 per person Spa Credit, a Welcome Fruit and Cheese plate and a decanter of sherry in the suite upon arrival, afternoon tea served daily in our Cafe from 3-5 pm, and a Gourmet Breakfast for two in the morning. The package we received was actually very reasonably priced when you consider what you’re getting. A romantic meal, an overnight stay in a giant hot tub suite, a tea and snack service, plus the spa package, that’s breaking it down to $240 per person for a romantic weekend getaway.
LGBT Friendly Hotel?
Lindsay and I are obviously a queer couple. She’s 6’1 and wears men’s clothes and I’m all about the dresses and heels. There was no mistaking us for BFFs or sisters. I never felt uncomfortable during my stay, but I have to be honest, I was very nervous going to this location as a queer woman. Small rural towns are stereotyped as being narrow-minded. We got a couple sideways looks while we were shopping in the area, but nothing beyond curious stares. It wildly exceeded my expectations. At the French Manor itself, we were treated with respect and care for our entire stay. We were treated just like any other couple.
That being said, I should add that this was a sponsored stay. Their PR people knew that I was a queer travel writer when we set up this stay. I’m not sure if they briefed their staff before we arrived or if inclusion is a year-round policy, but it was a nonissue for us. Our experience as a white middle-class lesbian couple who was reviewing the property for publication may be different than the experiences of someone else with different identities. I’m just trying to keep it real in terms of the complexity of social issues. That being said, I would recommend the French Manor to a friend looking for a romantic country getaway based on my experiences there.