Guys, I Got to Stay at Matt James's Bachelor Mansion Resort—And It Was the Bougiest Experience Ever

If you’re watching this season of the Bachelor, you’ve probably seen the memes about the COVID-secure mansions. Basically, Matt James’s digs > Clare’s. Yes, the show’s production team is capable of mood-setting magic, but Nemacolin, the resort two hours outside of Pittsburgh in the Laural Highlands, where the show was filmed, looks like it was plucked from the European Alps.

Shortly after filming wrapped, I visited the resort for a chilly December weekend and even brought my own Matt (that’s my bf). Every corner of the resort is a TV-ready vignette with plush seating, priceless art, and vibey lighting. The property is secluded on 2,000 acres, including not one, but two golf courses. You see where I’m going with this, but lemme just say they make social distancing completely possible—and even enjoyable.

Nemacolin has many choose-your-own-adventure lodging options, from the iconic Chateau, the boutique Falling Rock hotel (where the contestants are staying), and several private homes a la Matt James’s fancy-ass residence.

I spent most of my visit outside exploring the meticulously-groomed grounds, guessing where Chris Harrison would plop the infamous Bach hot tub (answer: in the woods as we see on Bri’s date). When I wasn’t snooping, I’d be found cozied TF up to a fireplace with a glass of wine. In between all that relaxation, I was able to experience a few COVID-safe activities and restaurants on the property. One quick thing: While I WAS served bits of tea about this season from some staffers, I’m sworn to secrecy—but know it’s very, very hot. Here’s what a visit to Camp Bachelor is really like.

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It’s really, truly gorgeous IRL.

Already the most iconic visual of this Bachelor season, the Chateau is modeled after the Ritz Carlton in Paris (Google it and drool) and def lives up to its inspiration. Filled with throne-like chairs, plush settees, and gilded light fixtures, it’s no surprise that the cocktail parties and rose ceremonies are filmed in its lobby. Just like a Bach contestant, sipping a cocktail from the adjacent lobby bar and snuggling up next to the massive fireplace was a nightly ritual during my stay, minus the drama though. I could have spent much of my stay cosplaying a Bridgerton character, chilling among the Chateau’s extravagant decor and wandering through its opulent wings.

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I was lucky enough to stay in the Chateau, which has rooms with fluffy white bedding on four-poster beds and deep marble bathtubs. Since mingling at the bar isn’t exactly an option right now, I passed the evenings soaking in frothy bubbles or lounging in a bathrobe with champagne in hand. Time well spent, IMO.

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There’s also an insane spa.

The Chateau’s apres-ski retreat vibes continue into Nemacolin’s spa, Woodland’s. Entering this lodge-like oasis immediately made my shoulders relax and jaw unclench. I started my spa day with a steam in the eucalyptus sauna before a massage so good I fell asleep. As if I couldn’t get any more blissed out, the experience was capped with a mimosa and a fuzzy blanket. If Matt spends a date here, every amenity, including the locker room, is sure to get ~steamy.~

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There is SO MUCH room for activities.

Between Lautrec, the light-filled tea room and the luxe room service, I never got bored—or full.

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To tide my appetite over before dinner on my arrival, I sat for high tea in the lobby-adjacent solarium. The pastry tower and tea set rivaled that of Harrod’s, while actual finches (yeah, the birds) chirped in a spacious cage next to the massive windows. Yeah, THIS is the room where the first cocktail party and Matt’s toast to “the journey” took place.

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One evening, leaning heavily into the baller energy, I took advantage of the vibes coming off the resort’s cigar lounge. I don’t smoke, but the roaring fireplace framed by cowhide chairs was too indulgently cozy to pass up. I get why this was the spot where Matt and Chris bro-out on the first night. (When I visited, Nemacolin was following CDC guidelines for indoor dining and the cigar lounge, meaning patrons were limited and spread out.)

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With 2,000 acres to play with, Nemacolin’s outdoor activities are various but seasonal, like golf in the summer or dog sled when there’s snow on the ground. For example, I pretended to be Johnny Weir on an ice rink in the shadow of the Chateau in December.

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For most of the year, Nemacolin offers horseback riding. I’m a novice but still love equestrian activities, so I enjoy a leisurely guided ride through the trails of the surrounding highlands. Matt James and Serena deff looked much hotter on horseback, but here I am with my Matt.

Never shot a gun? Me neither! I thought a professionally-guided, safely-equipped clay shooting lesson was a good place to learn. Nemacolin has its own Field Club (aka area to fly fish, practice archery, and hunt), where I booked a 1:1 which promises that “even first-time shooters are guaranteed to break targets with the help of our certified instructors.” I can attest to this — though it took me most of the two-hour session to get the hang of it, with my guide’s help I was metaphorically able to feed my family with (clay) pigeons. On top of that, it was super satisfying to learn something. Plus, I had an adrenaline rush for the rest of the day.

There’s no sad motel art here.

While many museums are currently closed, this satisfied my culture itch. Unlike the stale, generic art at many hotels, the sprawling art collection and its casual presence make Nemacolin’s atmosphere special. At Lautrec, the resort’s fine-dining option, I nibbled on decadent dishes under lithographs by Henri Toulouse Lautrec himself (major Moulin Rouge vibes). In another lounge filled with designer chairs, you can light your selfie with a collection of Tiffany lamps. Nemacolin offers indoor and outdoor sculpture tours, but I opted for an independent stroll in my finest turtleneck and a glass of Merlot.

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If you’re up for a half-day trip (and COVID allows), the famed Frank Loyd Wright house Falling Water is only 20 minutes away from Nemacolin. Unfortunately, the house was closed for tours during my stay. In normal times, the resort offers transport to and from the architectural site.

There’s an adult toy store

I’ll just say it: Matt James in a cockpit > Pilot Pete in uniform. But I’m not here to ruffle feathers. If you are into planes (and things with engines), Nemacolin has quite the collection and most of them are for sale. Unforch since I’m not Sarah or Matt, I wasn’t able to take one out for a spin, but I got up close to some classic cars, like a navy Bentley (pretty sure this is what Matt rolled up in Night One) and a plane that used to belong to Steve McQueen. Luxe!

Since Nemacolin has an airplane hangar, it obviously has an airstrip too (“obviously” lol). If you fancy, you can fly yourself privately and touch down behind the Chateau. For those of us who travel on mere wheels.

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Once it’s safe to travel again, I’d love to visit Nemacolin a second time. Until then, at least I can live vicariously through The Bachelor contestants.

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