The Homestead is one of those legendary destination resorts I had heard much about but never had the opportunity to visit. Its out of the way location makes it the kind of place that one must make a concerted effort to visit.
The hotel is a real grande dame and far more sprawling than I had expected. Indeed, our three day stay didn't afford us enough time to take advantage of all that we would have liked to do. Nevertheless, it did provide us enough time to allow us to appreciate what an attraction it is.
Check in proved to be courteous and professional. It certainly helped that they were thoughtful enough to upgrade my family into a junior suite. The room was quite lovely and very spacious providing my young daughter with ample room to toddle around. However, our plan wasn't to spend our time in the room. The Homestead offers a vast array of activities to keep yourself occupied, so there's little reason to spend your time in your room anyway.
Walking around the resort and its grounds was a real pleasure. The weather was great and the fall foliage was lovely. Indeed, one of the reasons we had travelled to the Virginia mountains was to enjoy some leaf peeping. It might seem somewhat counterintuitive for some of my northeastern neighbors to head anywhere but north into New England for the foliage, but it turned out to be a great way to go. Far fewer crowds and lower room rates than what we would've found up in Vermont or New Hampshire proved to be a real benefit. The hotel offered wagon rides and horseback riding for folks to get into the fall spirit.
The indoor pool proved to be a huge hit for my family. The pool is huge and really impressive. Even better was the fact that so few people seemed to use it while we were there. Next door was a game room and even a bowling alley. Another facility that impressed me was the huge movie theatre that seemed to show something family friendly each evening. In fact, a showing of Bedknobs and Broomsticks really took me back to my own early childhood.
One member of our party enjoyed a massage at the spa, and I really enjoyed a visit to the Jefferson Pools. Needing a break from the family, I took the resort shuttle out to the Pools. Much has been written about how they appear to be falling apart. Admittedly the structures are hundreds of years old, but I thought they were really cool. In the afternoon the bath is coed, but I went in the morning when men and women can enjoy seperate bathing facilities. As such, I walked in, doffed my jeans and shirt, grabbed a noodle float and went for a proper soak in my birthday suit. To tell the truth, I'd drive all the way back there just to float around in the hot spring again. One local old timer told me how he and his buddies would soak there for a while after they'd been out hunting on a cold day.
Speaking of hunting, the Hometead has a gun club. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to take advantage of it, which gives me another reason to make a trip back.
Dining seems to be a controversial issue on this board. Our package included the breakfast buffet, which we really enjoyed. Dinner in the very dressy main dining room wasn't an option with a toddler, but we did have dinner one evening at the Casino Club restaurant, which was a bit expensve but quite good. One evening we took another local's advise and had dinner down the road at the Country Cafe. Dinner there proved to be very casual, very inexpensive and very good.
I found the Hometead to be a real pleasure that provided us with a beautiful fall weekend visit. It's not cheap. However, I imagine that folks were complaining about its rates in the eighteenth century, in the nineteenth century, in the twentieth century, and certainly now in the twenty-first century. Indeed, people will probably be complaing about the costs in the twenty-second century as well. Nevertheless, it's a unique enough place that it's safe to say it'll still be attracting a crowd in another hundred years.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Open since 1766, The Omni Homestead is one of America's most storied resorts, offering unparalleled hospitality and southern charm in a 2,000-acre setting within the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Virginia. Renowned for its natural hot springs, The Homestead is distinguished by 483 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 72,000 square feet of meeting space, a wide array of fine and casual dining choices, an expansive spa, championship golf courses that include one of the nation's finest mountain courses (The Cascades), Allegheny Springs, a two-acre family-friendly water attraction complete with lazy river, water slides and water play zone. The resort also offers the South's first downhill ski area, an Equestrian Center, top-rated Shooting Club, archery, canoeing, falconry, Segway tours and a wealth of other recreational attractions. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- The Homestead Hotel Hot Springs
- Homestead Hotel Hot Springs
- Homestead Va
- Homestead Hot Springs Virginia
- Homestead Hot Springs Va
- Homestead Resort Hot Springs