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“The Homestead Spa disappoints...” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Omni Homestead Resort

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The Omni Homestead Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   7696 Sam Snead Highway, Hot Springs, VA 24445   |  
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Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Hot Springs
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terca
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“The Homestead Spa disappoints...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2008

I had never been to The Homestead...was quite excited to get away for a long weekend with my 5-year-old son.

I'm sure there are many reviews that tout the tradition and beauty of the resort, so I'm just going to focus on the things that stood out for me.

We arrived at the end of ski season with the hopes that my son might be able to do Bunny School for a couple of days. Unfortunately weather disallowed that after only an hour on skis. But the staff was very accommodating, did not charge me, etc. I do believe that, when the conditions allow, this is a good deal @ $65/half day which includes lessons, lift ticket, snack for about 2.5 hours - one session in a.m. and one in the afternoon OR you can do all day.

Also of note, I found the staff very accommodating at check-in. We arrived on a Thursday and the resort was not fully booked. The bumped our room class up slightly which gave us a little more room (great for when you're travelling with children). However, I did come to find out (from housekeeping) that not all of the rooms have been renovated (ours had not) and that was a bit disappointing. In fact, it seems like only a small % actually have in a certain section/area. You may want to inquire about that when making a reservation. All-in-all, it was great to have spacious quarters.

And - I have to also say that the Kid's Club is GREAT. My son loved spending time there and meeting other children at the resort. And it was fun to see them run into each other outside the club. A nice connection!

The flip-side of the above positive experiences: the spa was a disappointment. I've been to spas all around the country, so I know I have a higher expectation - but that should be okay when you're going to a high-end resort like The Homestead. Here are my thoughts:

1) It's very spacious, with a great wet area and a couple of nice relaxation areas. I wish I had known about the "Serenity Lounge" before my treatment when I actually had more time to enjoy it.

2) The swedish massage I received was "okay"; I wouldn't say it was necessarily worth $140 for 50 minutes. But it was a nice treatment. Perhaps some of the other, specialty treatments would be more enjoyable - can't say...

3) BIG DISAPPIONTMENT that took the whole experience down to be the singularly most low-end spa experience that I've ever had...and certainly one would expect more from an established resort such The Homestead. Here's what happened:
* I ordered lunch, which is generally not an unusual request at other spas that I've visited.
* It came on time and was handed to me in a large brown grocery-style bag while I was in the shower/sauna area. Not a very appetizing presentation.
* I asked if there was anywhere special to go and was told "just anywhere". I was not able to find even a single cafe-style table to sit and eat respectably.
* The food was served in a styrofoam container with the marg. pizza right on top of the salad and thus messy and soggy. I'm just shocked that it couldn't even be provided with the minimum level of courtesy that you might show to someone ordering room service.
* So, there I finally sat in the middle of one of the relaxation areas upstairs trying to balance a pizza and salad in a single styrofoam container on my lap and enjoy it?
* Messy, unappetizing, unappealing.

I dare say that they could purchase a cafe table and 2 chairs for less than $150 and find a quiet nook for them. And I would further venture that the restaurant could take the service/presentation at least a half-step further.

In this regard, I believe they owe more to their guests and also to the history and tradition that The Homestead represents.

Since we live only 3 hours from the resort, we may try it again during warm weather season. There seem to be a lot of great activities to enjoy year-round. However, I'll probably save my "spa-ing" for other locations.

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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usa
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2008

We have been visiting the Homestead on and off for fifteen years. It was once an expensive but friendly place. In the hands of its most recent owners, KSL Capital Partners, it has become something quite different -- the subject of a corporate plan to extract as much money from guests as it can. I thought our experience on a recent weekend was an anomaly, but reading the reviews below back to last summer, many guests have had similar complaints. Here are some of the things we were faced with: the entire wing of the hotel we were in was about ten degrees colder than the rest of the building. In our room, the heater was on constantly but just blew cold air. Putting the thermostat up to 80 made no difference. There are no prices on the menus in the main dining room. I'm not surprised. For the price they charged, I could eat at the best restaurants in any major city -- and not be surrounded by 300 other diners, have a waiter who is actually assigned to my table, and a sommelier who knows the wines on the list. At breakfast, the only option was a buffet, no a la carte choices. So I went to the coffee shop and was charged $4.50 for a small cafe au lait. The afternoon tea, which was once served to you in the Great Hall, and then declined to a do it yourself service, has recently had everything but the tea eliminated, unless you want to pay $17 for a few tiny sandwiches or $33 for that plus some cake. It used to be free. The crowning corporate achievement came when my daughter booked us on a one hour fly-fishing lesson. We were a little surprised when it went on for over two hours but discovered the reason when we checked out. The concierge had, without our permission, booked us on something called a `Cascades Experience', which was neither in the brochure nor on the price list, at $159 per person. After we received a hostile response from the concierge, I spoke with the manager who reduced the charge to the one hour fee. I thought this was just a mistake, but if you read the reviews below, you'll see a disturbing pattern of similar overcharges. Draw your own conclusions and check your bill carefully. After this, I'm not returning the the Homestead. I'll be going somewhere where my family is more than just a name on a credit card to the owners.

  • Stayed February 2008
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2008

The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA wasn't so hot! Our very expensive room overlooked a huge roof. No view. Dinner in one of their restaurants, that had a sur-charge, cost our family almost $600.! No prices on menu. Yikes. My spa experience was below average. My room was cold and light. No warmth, no soft music. My body scrub was very quick. Not worth the price or my time. Everything cost extra--skiing, skating, tubing etc. After our dining disaster we chose to go to a couple of restaurants in the area that were very nice. We couldn't get a hold of anyone at the front desk when we tried. We were told we had to go up the hill to the ski lodge to view some fireworks. We actually stayed on the front porch and had a great view. So, service was not great.

  • Liked — The Presiden't lounge
  • Disliked — Cost and spa
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jennifer2280
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2008

Summary: Our accommodations were not worth $300/night. The food is not that good and definitely not worth the price--go off the property to eat. They seem to market themselves as an all-inclusive, but everything you want to do costs extra and you have to make reservations for everything in advance, even dining. (Doesn't it seem weird to have to decide in advance what time and in what restaurant you want to eat in every night of your vacation?) Touted as a luxury resort, but is missing the luxury products and luxury hotel touches and services. Many staff don't seem happy and service is not on the level I expect in a "resort" where I'm paying $300/night.

Let me preface this long review by saying that I don't normally pick apart a hotel like this but I couldn't help doing so because of the inconsistencies in the image of the resort and reality. Also, when this luxury resort wants to nickle and dime the guests and add a resort tax to everything, I have to let others know to beware.

My husband and I stayed at the Homestead February 15-18 for a long weekend. We were given (3) gift certificates for Christmas: one night stay, dinner in the 1766 Grille, and one breakfast buffet for two. We booked a Preferred Resort room as part of a deal they were running for their "All American" weekend--buy two nights, get the third night free. We paid $300 a night for our room that was supposed to have breathtaking resort views. Our room was located in the Garden wing, about 1/2 a mile from the indoor pool, spa, and bowling alley. What I found ironic was that the hotel info book in the room said that "jeans are discouraged" in the Great Hall (the lobby and main hall of the hotel) but from our room you had to walk through this hall to get to the pool and spa. We ended up never going to the pool because I didn't feel comfortable walking through this public area in my hotel robe or beach coverup. I inquired at the concierge desk about another way to get to the pool and was told that there was no other way. I also asked about walking through the Great Hall in a robe and was told it was okay, but probably not after 6pm.

ROOM: The bed and sitting area were very nice, but there were some stains on the carpet and bumps/crevices in the floor. We had two nice windows with shutters and a door that went onto a patio. Our view was supposed to be breathtaking, but outside of our room was a stone wall and hill. I called the front desk and was given a $30 per night because I contested that our room was not truly a Preferred Resort because we did not have a view. The walls were thin because one night I could hear our neighbor snoring. The TV was nice--a big LCD LG. Limited cable though, and no HBO!!! That really suprised me. We requested turndown twice and got it. Several times, I heard the maids on our hall complaining about their work.

BATHROOM: We had a very nice double sink, but there was no towel rack and because of this all of the towels were in the room to the side that had the shower and toilet. So when you washed your hands, you had to get a towel out of the toilet/shower room and then leave it on the sink. The tissues were truly brand X and were the coarsest tissues I have ever come across. The hotel toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, and facial soap) were all brand X as well. Though they said "Made Exclusively for the Homestead" I expect brand name products when paying $300 a night for a room. I only used the body and face soaps, but my husband used the shampoo and conditioner and said they were horrible and the conditioner was very soupy. The shower/toilet room was like something in a 2/3 star chain hotel. Nothing spectacular, nothing horrible.

FOOD: The hotel seems to want its guests to do a meal plan--either breakfast only or breakfast and dinner. Because of this, there are no prices on the menu for the main dining room. So if you're not on the meal plan, you have to ask in advance how much things are, which seems odd to me.
The only reservation we made on the resort was for dinner at the 1766 Grille for Saturday night. Friday night we could not get a reservation at any restaurant so we went off campus to a small Italian restaurant, Cucci's, about 5 minutes up 220 North. It was pretty good--just a run of the mill Italian restaurant. We came back to the resort to have coffee and desert and were told that there was no where to get dessert and that we could get a cup of coffee at the bar. We went to bed. Saturday morning we used our gift certificate and had the breakfast buffet. They ran out of bacon and didn't replenish. The sausage was dried up. When I asked for an iced tea, they said they didn't have that. The donuts and fresh fruit were very good. My husband said the eggs were tasteless. That night, we had dinner in the 1766 Grille. I was impressed with my fried shrimp appetizer--it had the largest shrimp I've ever seen. The bread was very good, but they brought us each a roll and then we had to ask for a second roll. Our salads were okay. My husband enjoyed his steak au poivre. My veal oscar was nothing spectacular. Our desserts were bad. I got the coffee mousse cake and he got the raspbery ganache cake. They were both premade and not very good at all. I have a big sweet tooth and I didn't finish my desert. This meal cost $270, not including any alcohol. It wasn't even worth $100. On Sunday, we skipped breakfast (we tried to get a danish or donut in the hotel coffee shop but they had none) and had lunch off the property at the Country Cafe, about 5 minutes south on 220. The had a nice salad bar and our food was good; nothing gourmet but just good food for the price--and very good homemade pie! We tried to have dinner at Sam Snead's on Sunday, but the only open times were 8:30 or 9pm, so we opted against that and ate dinner off the property as well (and we're so glad we did). We had dinner at John's Steakhouse, across the street from Cucci's (5 minutes on 220N). The restaurant was quaint, with a nice fireplace and the food was delicious! We also had desert and it was 10 times better than the deserts we had at the 1766 Grille. Before we left the hotel on Monday, we had breakfast again and it was a little better than Saturdays. The bacon was plentiful, they gave me a glass of iced tea, and they had a pancake station that was very nice, but I did have to wait about 10 minutes in line to get a pancake. My husband and I differed in opinion, though, because I believe that they whipped cream and butter that they had a the buffet were both fakes--whipped topping and margarine instead of the real stuff. Again, not worth the $73 we paid.

AFTERNOON TEA: All the literature says that the 15% resort tax includes afternoon tea, and it did, but not traditional afternoon tea. The hotel info book in the room says "tea, cookies, and sandwiches" but I was told by the front desk that after Jan 1 2008, you had to pay if you wanted cookies and sandwiches. So now, all you get is a buffet style table set up where you serve yourself a cup of tea. There are no sandwiches or cookies.

ACTIVITIES: There is not much to do that you don't have to pay for. We watched a movie one night and we played bingo one day, both of which were free. We tried to bowl Friday night, but it closed early at 7pm because they were having a private party. We took a nice drive on Saturday to a couple close towns--nothing spectacular. We drove past the Jefferson pools. They look like shacks! They look like old barn buildings that need painting. On Sunday we drove to Lexington--about 50 minutes away--and wished we had gone there on Saturday. It's a really cute town with a very nice downtown, but all the shops were closed on Sunday. The hotel was supposed to have fireworks on Sunday night, but they cancelled them due to fog.

STAFF: The bellmen were very nice and helpful. When we checked in, the front desk didn't give us a map, so when the bellman brought our bags he offered to get us a map from the desk. We didn't take him up on this, but it was nice of him to offer. Other staff were friendly, but like I said before, we heard more than once the maids complaining about their work. The waiters/waitresses were okay, but nothing spectacular.

PARKING: There are two parking lots up the hill with limited parking. There is also a parking lot further away that a hotel shuttle will take you to. So parking is not too convenient. I guess the hotel's expectation is that the guests will stay on the property which we didn't so we were using our car once or twice a daily.

  • Liked — The room was very nicely decorated
  • Disliked — Too expensive for what you get
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, VA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2008

Spent a weekend at the Homestead in early February 2008. Wonderful service, helpful staff, lovely room. Lots of activities for both children and adults. The food is always great but you must make your dinner reservations when you reserve your room. The restaurants on the property and the Tavern across the street are all run by the Homestead and fill up on busy weekend. Otherwise, you have to drive to a restaurant and there are not many around in lil' ol' Hot Springs, VA! I would recommend this hotel for couples or families.

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Frederick, MD
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2008

This was our first time at The Homestead, and we also got the $150/nt plus breakfast deal through Travelzoo. I'm glad I didn't pay more.

First, the resort is beautiful in many ways. I've never been to a more expansive hotel with so many nice sitting areas. Nice grounds too. I would rate the common areas top-notch and just walking around the place is a lot of fun.

Now the bad part. We had a decent room -- a little worn, but spacious. The bathroom, however, was atrocious. Everything was white -- well, off-white -- worn and stained. The shower curtain was a lovely brand called Hospi-Tel, and the bath and facial tissues felt like sandpaper. The whitish wallpaper was literally pealing off the walls, and the fixtures didn't work well. I had a nicer bathroom when I was in college. Seriously. It was really disconcerting to walk through a very nice lobby, down a very nice hallway, into a pretty nice room and then into a downright disgusting bathroom. I called a manager after our stay and told him that he needed to visit the room (#1279) to see for himself. He seemed sympathetic and said they were working on updating the rooms and were changing tissue suppliers. I hate to pick on such a small thing, but my wife had a cold and used a lot of the ultra-low-grade tissues. It's baffling why such a high-fallutin resort would use such roadside-motel-grade supplies.

We had our dinners over at Sam Sneads, which was pretty good and much more relaxed than the dining options in the hotel. The main dining room was closed, too. I think that they time the $150 specials with renovations, etc. We wanted to avail ourselves of the free movies each night (sounds like a neat idea) but the regular movie theater was also closed. The substitute was a small room in the convention area of the hotel with about 15 chairs and a TV that was, literally, smaller than the one in our room. That was pretty tacky.

If you want to try The Homestead, try to go when you can get a deal and definitely demand a completely updated room.

  • Liked — common areas
  • Disliked — bathroom
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
whippany, new jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2008

Room: comfortable, clean, except the bathroom had visible mold/mildew inside and around the tub spigots.

Activities: Just about everything costs extra at this resort, but the extras are not unreasonably priced (e.g., tubing costs 20 pp, riflery 15 pp, which is the same or less as at other ski areas). We had a wonderful time.

Whatever you do, if you do nothing else, take the nature hikes with Brian. It's 25 pp but he's a blast, highly knowledgeable, and the wooded areas he takes you through couldn't be prettier, especially the hike with the 13 waterfalls. Be sure you have sturdy shoes and are capable of a little bit of clambering.

Service: We had no problems with the service.I would HIGHLY recommend that you check your bill carefully, however. We had a group of 20 with quite a number of rooms and every single one of us had incorrect/over-charges.

Food: really very good, except for the desserts, which were truly awful (and this was the opinion of our entire party). Nice little
coffee shop with reasonable prices if you don't want to spend 30pp for the breakfast buffet.

Overall, I'd say the Homestead is a nice place to go if you can get them on sale.

  • Stayed February 2008
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Additional Information about The Omni Homestead Resort

Address: 7696 Sam Snead Highway, Hot Springs, VA 24445
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Virginia > Hot Springs
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Hot Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Omni Homestead Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 483
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 
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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

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