Story by Barbara Penny Angelakis
Photography by Manos Angelakis
Mount Airy Casino Resort
44 Woodland Road
Mt. Pocono, Pa 18344
As long as I can remember, Mount Airy Lodge was known as a romantic getaway in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. An easy drive from major east coast cities like New York and Philadelphia made it a perfect mini-vacation that in summer offered swimming, hiking, boating and just hanging out around the pool, and in winter there was access to skiing, with the added incentive for antiquing in any season. Famous for its heart shaped beds, mirrors on the ceiling, and Champaign glass bathtubs, it was considered the ultimate in fun honeymoon destinations. By the turn of the 21st century, Mount Airy had seen much better days and was no longer a premier destination. In 2005 the property was acquired by the DeNaples family, a family local to the area, and raised to the ground. In 2007 after a 440 Million Dollar investment, Mount Airy Casino Resort was opened as a contemporary luxury hotel with gourmet restaurants, full service salon and spa, and state-of-the-art casino.
The rooms are comfortable and well appointed. Our room faced out over the lake and the 18-hole golf course with over 6,000 yards of challenging scenic terrain, and the golf shop which was being enlarged in time for the upcoming golfing season. Also soon to be under construction will be a massive indoor/outdoor pool connecting to the Spa. The large 2-level spa is entered from the lobby floor with elevator or staircase leading down to the treatment floor. The male and female segregated dressing rooms offer large private changing areas, showers, sauna and steam rooms, lounge recliners, and every personal amenity for après treatments. Manos and I both indulged in a Collagen Facial which used a mineral microderm-abrasion of volcanic rock and salicylic acid to prepare the face for the collagen serums and masks. We both looked and felt refreshed and brighter after the treatment which set us up for our next experience, dining at Red Steakhouse.
As in most steak houses, the décor was simple and the service superb. Our waiter was well versed in all aspects of the menu and wine list and made suggestions according to our stated preferences. Manos settled on one of the best prime Filet Minion’s ever and I choose the Chilean Sea Bass. We shared a fresh and savory beet salad with citrus and gorgonzola cheese starter, to save ourselves for the oversized entrée to come. We also shared a wonderful passion fruit Crème Brule for dessert. The meal was terrific and even better then the dinner we had the previous night at Le Sorelle Cucina.
The DeNaples family has five daughters and the name of the restaurant means “The Kitchen of the Five Sisters” in Italian. Family pictures line the walls and give a nice feeling to the otherwise simple restaurant décor. Manos ordered the Fried Calamari and I ordered Clams Oreganata as starters. The Calamari was amazing, tender fresh fish perfectly seasoned and fried with zucchini and carrot sticks over a spicy tomato coulis. Unfortunately my Clams were tiny and covered with so much breading that I felt I was eating baked bread crumbs. Manos’s Duck Breast was perfect but the Barley Risotto accompaniment just did not work and my large succulent Scallops were a total disappointment. The flavor was great, they were cooked to perfection but not one piece had been shelled properly and instead of silky smooth Scallops I got a mouthful of shells. The Tiramisu almost made up for the imperfect dinner, being probably one of the best I ever tasted, in a long history of eating Tiramisu.
There is also a very good Asian-food restaurant behind the buffet area, that we tried for lunch. The Chinese food was cooked to order in an open kitchen right in front of you. Very good Hong Kong style noodle soups and other Cantonese dishes, a few interesting Thai dishes, absolutely fresh sushi... everything geared to the Asian gambling clientele, of which there were many.
We also stayed Sunday morning for the Jazz Brunch and it was terrific. The entertainment was really good and the food display was enormous, especially the station where steamed jumbo shrimps and king crab legs were piled high. They had breakfast choices and an egg station to cook to order, prime joints of meat with a chef for slicing, every salad, accompaniment, bread, pastry and dessert imaginable. One price gets you in from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and you can eat until you drop. The Executive Chef at Mount Airy is Keven Kleinhof and he managed to keep the quality of food high, even at the Buffet.
Right in the center of the 65,000 square foot gaming floor is The Glass Bar. The bar is made from imported marble that has an inner glow and the setting is literally made of glass that reaches almost to the ceiling and changes colors constantly. But of course the crowning glory at Mount Airy is the Casino. The main floor offers poker, roulette, craps, black-jack, baccarat, Asian games, high-stake games, and slot machines... slot machines... slot machines. There is another gaming floor that’s smoke free when the haze from hundreds of people smoking gets too much. The activity is high energy with the floor packed with players on both levels. If gambling is your thing you will certainly find your nirvana at Mount Airy Casino Resort.
© April 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.