Travel - 7Springs Mountain Resort
It has been many years now since the Elks have had their conventions at 7Springs. I believe that it was the intent of the newest owners to discourage our group from entertaining there since they put so many big hotel restrictions on our hospitality and increased the prices out of the range of most of our members.
It is my impression that the management is intent on attracting a different type of clientele. This can only be demonstrated by one of my stepdaughters and her friends spending so much of their time at the Springs. They started going in October and practically lived there except for time out to go to work during the weekdays.
While these younger members of society attend all kinds of attractions put on by the hotel, I also see a lot of upper class families taking weekenders at the resort.
You might say the split up of our twice a year convention at the Springs was a mutual decision. Theirs to price us out, ours to look for more affordable housing. It is a shame though because some of my fondest memories as an Elk are the conventions at 7Springs.
Final Stay Overview
7Springs deserves a recommendation for their clean and inviting decor and rooms. Their employees extend a gracious and welcoming atmosphere. The only area that needs improvement is their banquet and buffet menu. The breakfast buffet does not require any changes. Since I have never had any reason to be dissatisfied in the past, I intend to revisit the resort and get another feeling for their cuisine.
Arrival and Breakfast Buffet
For many years, I have traveled to what was one of my favorite buffet eating resorts. Yes, it was primarily a ski resort in the winter and convention meeting rooms throughout the year; but, for me it was a culinary pleasure trip. The resort was built and owned by the Dupre family and there was no finer resort in the area where you could enjoy Creme Bulie, home baked breads and other culinary delights. They originally raised their own cattle and farmed the farm to be used in some of their recipes. Their chefs were skilled artisans that made you daydream on the entire trip across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Donegal exit. No matter in what direction you traveled to one of our conventions the end result was the same, three days and evenings of excellent dining.
The resort was sold recently after being owned by generations of Dupre decendents and my latest trip to 7Springs resulted in the following experiences.
I arrived early Friday morning which is my normal arrival time to the inability of getting situated in my room for the first time in about 20 years. I understand that hotels do not hold rooms for early arrival only late arrivals and was not put out because the check in clerk was ever so apologetic and friendly to deal with. She took care of my dining needs and parking passes with the promise that the Bell Staff would handle my luggage for me until the rooms were available. The man at the Bell Desk did exactly that he took my bags and put them away for me. OOPS! I forgot to get my credentials out of my briefcase and when I returned not 15 minutes after he had housed my luggage he retrieve my briefcase for me with a twinkling smile that told me I was not the first person to forget something in their luggage.
Off I went to breakfast and even though the standard griddles for eggs any way and omelettes was removed there was a breakfast chef ready to do the same in four individual frying pans. My omelette was excellent and there was nothing I could complain about with this change in venue.
The last time I had attended a breakfast buffet I was disappointed that one of the standards had been removed from the serving line. They no longer had Apple Bread Pudding as a selection on their Buffet. Of course, you know I'm not backward about voicing my opinions and at that time I let everyone I saw know of my displeasure. Lo and behold, in my investigation of the various tables of culinary delights there was my favorite Apple Bread Pudding and I didn't pass it up any of the mornings that I dined at the buffet.
There were many of my favorites that I had to pass up because I'm now a diabetic so the danish and other doughnuts I sampled by begging pieces from the people that I shared tables with. No, I didn't totally give up sweets and I allowed myself a couple of pieces of their cinnamon bread with creamy butter that you cut from the butter balls near the bread selections. When I say butter balls I mean that they have flavored balls of butter such as cinnamon butter and chocolate butter balls available. I didn't sample these because I prefer my creamy butter.
Rooms and Service
The hallways at 7Springs are long and because of my disability I always ask for a room on the Fourth Floor as close to Center Lobby as possible. That puts me right in the center of everything that I need at the resort, meeting rooms, convention dining rooms and, of course, hospitality rooms.
After the first business session, I went back to registration and was checked into my room which was slopeside and only 4 doors away from Center Lobby. I couldn't ask for a better location. These rooms unfortunately do not have balconies but they are close to the action and you can see the slopes and any activity that is in play at the pool. The Bellman brought my bags and met me at my room which was very bright with a window that went wall to wall on the outside wall. Newly remodeled, the ceiling is still decorated with beautifully stained tree trunks that support the upper levels. The trappings of the rooms have always been very nice but the bedding and furniture have all been upgraded. The orange bedspreads are very festive looking and whole room is inviting. I would expect any hotel to remodel from time to time but I must say the new owner has made some very nice selections for the comfort of his guests.
As far as the staff is concerned they could not have picked friendlier more helpful people. If there are some that do not fit this bill, I never ran into any of them. As a matter of fact, I had to take a carton to my car which was parked 2 spaces outside the Center Lobby door. I was carrying it with some difficulty when an employee who was just coming on duty stopped and carried it to my car for me. I'm not even sure if he wasn't a maintenance person or if that was one of his regular duties because his shirt was a different color than the regular service people.
The only mishap for me was that the original elevator in the old section of the hotel went out of service. This made it necessary for me to walk to the new elevators in order to get from floor to floor. That may not sound like a big deal to most people but for me with my disability it hurt. I managed though and was back and forth to our hospitality room one floor below by using the stairs to go down and the center elevators to come back.
Talking about Hospitality Rooms, our district had always had our room on the 9th Floor right off the center elevators. This was a very large room with a bar, soft furniture and a bedroom separated by a doorway. This year we couldnot get our normal room because it is not being remodeled into an executive suite which will be too expensive for our group to rent in future years. As an accommodation to our group they provided one of the connecting bedroom groups and removed all of the furnishings. This worked very well with the portable bar that they provided at a reduced rate. At least 3 times a day their service staff provided the room with ice and anything else that was needed. As I said the staff could not be friendlier or more helpful.
Western Buffet and Saturday Banquet
This part of the review is not easy for me to prepare. I ate Steamboat Round Steak and Filet Mignon at my main evening meals. Friday night I asked for medium rare and the slices I ate were done to perfection. The taste was wonderful and I did not need any steak sauces to achieve that sensational taste. Saturday night, I had the Filet and again the piece I was served was superb. Obviously, their entree chef is of top quality.
The breads were done to perfection and had a great crusty taste. There was no hint of too much yeast and the as I stated earlier the cinnamon bread is to die for.
I've put this off as long as I could but I heard several moaning that the salad bar offerings were not as good as they had been in the past. I didn't eat salads on Friday but if Saturday night's offering was proof of the taste I have to agree that the salads are not the same quality they have been in the past.
I sampled their ices, cheesecake and apple pie over my stay at the resort. I must say that none of these came up to standard. The ice served at the banquet was bitter and I'm not sure what the flavor was supposed to be. The cheesecake with berries lacked flavor also. It almost tasted like vanilla pudding that had been solidified somehow. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know my feelings on pie. A good pie is only good if the crust is flaky. The apple pie I ate at 7Springs did not have a flaky crust and the apples were so tart that I could have been eating lemons. I noticed that they still make the creme brule and the people with whom I sat tried it remembering the brules of yesteryear's. The presentation lacked the caramelized coloring and I was told by my friends that the brule also lacked flavor. My recommendation is for the resort to send their chefs for schooling or look for new salad and pastry chefs.