Every year, my wife's company takes the first or second weekend in August as their company "offsite." Basically, employees and their families get 2 nights paid in a hotel (usually nearish the DC area). That includes the room, an open bar cocktail reception Friday night, a seated banquet with an open bar Saturday night and a per-person stipend to spend around the resort as you please. This is my review of the resort, as someone who got to experience it for free.
My overall impression is that the resort is very nice, if not a bit odd. As in, you find yourself thinking "what is this big resort/golf complex/spa doing in the middle of Leesburg?" It seems out of place, but that doesn't detract from the experience any. From the moment you walk in, the staff is friendly and helpful without being overbearingly so (no one's going to harass you to carry your bags for you, for example).
The rooms are small and oddly furnished, with a kind of 1960's vibe to them. Obviously decor preferences are very personal, but it's not what I would expect from such a new hotel. The bed is a bed, and the TV's are nice flat-screen Samsungs. Mini fridges would be a nice touch, but were sadly absent. The bathroom is spacious and clean, but again for such a new hotel nothing remarkable. The water pressure in our room was particularly disappointing. On the plus side, the toiletries were both high-quality and plentiful. The hotel also provides free WiFi, which I found serviceable enough (hotel WiFi is notoriously weak, even when you have to pay for it). In general, it's a hotel room that's completely unremarkable in every way. Perfectly fine for sleeping, and comfortable enough for relaxing during the day if that's your prerogative.
My biggest beef with the dining options is that they were almost too plentiful, as if the hotel wants to create the illusion of choice when there doesn't need to be as much. As a result, a lot of the menu items seemed duplicative, and there was no real indication as to why you should choose one place over another. That said, I'll review the places we visited.
- Riverside Hearth: This is where we had dinner Friday night after the cocktail reception. It's buffet style, and when we placed our reservations early we were quoted a price of $29/person (as I said, we didn't have to "pay" for things, but everything counted against our stipend). Other employees who did not make early reservations claimed to have paid more, something like $40/head. At any price, it wasn't worth it. The menu that night was Italian, and Italian food doesn't do so well in chafing dishes. There was lasagna that was tasty but not actually lasagna, seafood pappardelle that was just noodles and seafood, cold mozzarella sticks, undercooked pizza, and "chicken tenders parmesan" that would have been good if they weren't soggy. The ceasar salad was good. The staff was attentive enough, I guess, though how attentive does a buffet waiter need to be? Come to think of it, we were never offered a refill on our wine, which turned out to be fine because it was $8/glass.
- Stonewalls Tavern: We didn't eat here, but we did come here for drinks and to watch the Nationals game. The staff here was very attentive and accommodating. It's a pretty neat bar, with shuffleboard and Nintendo Wii's set up. Unfortunately (for us), that also made it very kid-friendly, though that abated as the night went on. They had a little live 2-man band playing covers, and they were fine. They took requests, and they even accommodated me going up and singing a song they knew how to play but not sing. Drink prices were all over the map. A Budweiser was only $4.50, but a cocktail could set you back $10+. Like I said we didn't eat, but the menu seemed to be a step or two above standard bar fare, with prices to match. Overall, this was probably our favorite place.
- Crooked Billet/Pub 46 Lounge: This was a case where I'm not even sure which restaurant we were in because there was nothing to distinguish the two. I think we were in the lounge because we were in the bar area, but there was no way to tell. The hostess was perfect, but from there things went downhill. There were approximately 194 servers running around with only a few seated tables, but we sat unattended for 5-10 minutes until the bartender finally came over to take our order. The food, when it finally came, was delicious (get the truffle fries). Portions were gigantic and very reasonably priced for a faux clubhouse at a golf resort, I think $12 for my burger and the same for her comically large club sandwich. Things actually improved when we went outside to spend the rest of the afternoon sipping beers on the lovely porch area. I could pop inside for a couple of refills and receive prompter service than I could at the table, and by this time things were busier than when we arrived. Not a bad experience, per se, but an odd one, and table service was arduously slow given the apparent number of staff on hand.
- Catered Banquet: This isn't something you'd encounter as an average guest, but if you're thinking of having a wedding reception or event here, just know that the banquet food sucks. Bad. To be fair, I've never really expected the food to shine at a 200+ person seated banquet, but this was worse than normal. We both had the chicken dish, which was a flavorless chicken breast wrapped in a flavorless pastry and cooked just enough that it was dry. Others had the steak, which was a fillet served to varying degrees of doneness (not by choice, it was just luck of the draw). Some chose the fish dish and had nothing good to say about it, but that's on them because if you order fish at that kind of event you deserve whatever you get. Dessert was a bland chocolate cake thing with a tasteless whipped topping. The ceasar salad was good, though. Apparently that's something they do well.
Unfortunately it rained on Saturday, so most of our plans were shot and we spent the day just hanging out on the clubhouse porch. Still, I'll review the few things I did experience, along with secondhand accounts from other employees.
- Golf: The resort boasts 45 holes, two championship courses and a little 9-holer. I didn't play, because I was quoted $70 for just nine holes on either of the big courses, which is ridiculous. They also attempted to make a tee-time for a single, which to me is unheard of. I did get to use their practice facility, which was nice because the range balls were free and it's located very close to the main hotel building. All the golf staff I encountered were pleasant, eager to help, and very engaging. The only bummer is that we were hitting off of turf mats, despite there appearing to be three tiers of lush, fully recovered grass. The range is huge, easily 400+ yards, and at the far end I could see golfers hitting balls off of grass. I have no idea how you get down there though, because no one offered an explanation.
- Pool: We didn't bother with the pool but others did, and no one had anything bad to say. There are a ton of them, including a waterfall pool, water slide, kids area, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, etc. There's also a poolside cafe serving drinks and lite fare, and I'm told it was convenient and reasonably priced. If the weather's nice, it's worth checking out.
- Spa: I didn't go to the spa, but I was told by those who did that it was a good experience and not outrageously priced as far as hotel spas go. I just looked, and a spa pedicure is $90, which is double what my wife pays at home. I guess that's to be expected.
- Basketball/Tennis: The resort has basketball and tennis courts on site which, from what I could tell, were free to use and equipment is available. Kind of self explanatory, but I thought it bears mentioning. If you're an active person staying in the Leesburg area, this might be the place for you.
Overall, it was a fine experience, great amenities coupled with at-times wonky service. If you had to stay in the area, I guess I would recommend it, but I'm not going to do backflips over it or anything. It's located close to several of the area's wineries, which is a nice touch and something we took advantage of when we checked out. I think if I had to pay for everything out of pocket, I'd probably knock it down a notch - the value for your money wouldn't be there. Again, that's not to say it's bad, but if I were to pay a premium price, I would expect a premium product.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Leesburg, Virginia luxury resort near Washington, DC offering three world class golf courses, a 12,000 sq ft destination spa, multiple on-site restaurants, wedding venues and conference facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lansdowne Hotel Leesburg
- Lansdowne Resort Leesburg
- Lansdowne Resort Va