All in all, this was an enjoyable two-night stay in a very nice location. The inn is very well kept, with highly attentive staff, yet I have to point out a number of little things that really should be in better order for the prices being charged.
Check-in was fast and easy, after we waited a very long time in the small circular drive for two wedding limos to load items and people and then clear out. Sure, it’s a big night, and the inn isn’t that big of a place, so these two limos took up the entire roundabout, completely blocking it. I would think that the welcome staff would be alert enough to see other guests were waiting to check in, and come to us so we could conduct our business as well.
The grounds are very nice, and there is ample parking. You can self-park, and it’s a very short walk in, or they offer a free valet service from a couple of wonderful and very obliging gents.
We stayed in a junior suite, which comes in at more than seven bills/night. But, it’s not a suite in the traditional sense with a sitting room/parlor/living room, and the separate bedroom and bath. Given the space restrictions of the building, it’s really a top-floor corner room, larger in space, with the sitting area integrated into the bedroom in a corner. There is ample space, sure, but given that it’s on the top floor, there is a bit of ceiling slant due to the roof lines, with the desk in a dormer and a small alcove that we used for a suitcase in another dormer.
There is a very small mini-bar of some snacks and a choice of two bottles of wine, but amazingly no fridge. A junior suite, and no refrigerator? That didn’t really make a lot of sense, as there is ample space in the room to situate one. I recommend that for an addition to the room.
Yes, there is a separate bath, with separate shower and free-standing claw-foot tub, but disappointingly only one surprisingly small sink, with correspondingly small shelf space, not adequate for two traveling adults. There was a towel heater—nice touch. There were separate amenities laid out for the sink, tub and shower, which was nice. But, as the very first bath proved, there was a very pronounced leak from the tub overflow drain, which I reported to the hotel quickly, and they promised they would fix. If fixed, I don’t know, as I didn’t test it and didn’t want to deal with the leak and all that water again. Also, the amenities for the tub that were there on our arrival were not replaced at all after the repair of the tub—that’s rather surprising, given the rest of the service, and the high cost of this suite per night. I expected better attention to detail.
When we arrived, the ice bucket was filled—nice touch. They offer a standard evening turn-down service, and the towels are checked and replaced as needed, the trash cans emptied and the ice bucket filled again—nice, once again.
Sleeping was very good, with it quiet inside the hotel and outside. They are close to a train line, though, about 500 yards to the west, and we noted its passage at least twice a day.
The TV had an excellent selection of DirecTV cable. The default channel when you turn it on is Fox News; I can’t help but see this as someone’s intentional decision (and not a good one). But there are no interactives, no games, no choices of PPV movies, none of that—it’s the cable only. They do offer a DVD library of about 80 top-flight movies, and the staff will bring the movies and a small player to your room, at no charge. This was a nice amenity. The DVD player only loads, plays and stops—it has no FF or rewind, and no remote control.
We had dinner at Fossett’s, and it was okay, but not great. Service was excellent, but the food was, ah, well, it seemed they were just trying too hard, with strange taste combinations. I made this same observation at the Inn at the Biltmore—the dining room was sumptuous, well-appointed and very well maintained, except for the chairs, all of which were horribly beat up and in need of refinishing or replacement.
We had the brunch at Palmer’s at the golf clubhouse on Sunday, and at 1100 when they opened there was no one around, and the clubhouse secretary had no idea what was going on—she had to call to find out the plan for the day. The service was good and food was okay, but avoid the hummus nachos (not a good combo) and the big, fat, honkin’ breakfast burrito (bland and messy).
We took advantage of the offer of (free) bicycle rides, but I was extremely disappointed in the bikes on offer and with their sad state. All of the bikes were in serious need of both repair and cleaning. There were only three bikes my size, one with a broken pedal, one with an off-center handlebar, and the one I chose. This one was very dirty, with the front derailleur inoperable and the rear brakes badly out of whack. They need to put some very serious attention to their bike fleet, and keep it serviceable and clean. There was no one to tell this to when we returned the bikes, but our waitress the next day said she worked with the club staff, so we told her about the problems, which she said she would pass along.
Each night in addition to the room charge and taxes, we were charged a $37 “resort fee.” I’m guessing that’s what gives us access to the Keswick Club. But again, at $700/night, I would argue that another $74 on top is not really necessary.
Bottom line: the wife and I had heard of this place for a long time, so had to visit. We did, and it was fun and enjoyable. But, splurging on a very expensive room, we both expected fully commensurate service, preparation and execution, especially in a venue of such modest size. Little things added up and while we were not turned off to the place we were somewhat disappointed in the lack of attention to detail, given the cost.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover Keswick Hall, a grand Italianate villa surrounded by a breathtaking 600 acre estate. Nestled in the rolling hills of Virginia's hunt country, bordering Charlottesville and the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains, is a location best described by Mr Thomas Jefferson as "The Eden of the United States." With 48 unique and elegantly appointed guest rooms, relaxing spacious lounging areas with wood burning fireplaces, expansive terraces sharing unparalleled views, an abundance of sporting activities available, award-winning cuisine; makes this luxurious and inviting mansion truly the ultimate home away from home! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Keswick Hall Hotel Keswick
- Hall At Monticello Charlottesville Keswick