We made a first time visit to The Homestead under a promotion from Livingsocial for a weekend, which turned out to be a beautiful weekend in this unique and picturesque part of the country. Bath County is peppered with various hot springs--the warmest of the ones we encountered locally was 98 degrees and moderate minerality (including sulfur) [Jefferson Pools]. The environment alone makes a trip worthwhile as there is beauty in all directions with plentiful outdoor activities, including a golf course (Cascades) in a stunning setting. We didn't partake in golf, however, that is a particularly popular and storied activity here.
Overall, the property is attractive, and the rooms are clean, spacious, and well-appointed. The property is a hodge-podge of connected wings and makes for a convoluted path from the main part of the hotel to the historic spa area. The indoor pool, heated by the hot spring and with light minerality, was large, warm, and particularly relaxing. Overall, the property does show wear and tear, which I think is simply the result of a historic property gracefully aging (for the most part, the hotel wings date back to the early 1900's while the spa and "Casino" are older). The hotel is planning a large, multi-phase renovation effort already underway and continuing well into next year, although I am not sure what exactly is planned for the hotel wings.
We found the food to be quite satisfying. We had an excellent dinner at 1766 Grille which features several items prepared tableside, including Caesar salad, Chateaubriand steak, and bananas foster dessert (all highly recommendable). The buffet breakfast in the main dining room is extensive, fresh, and well-stocked. We also visited San Snead's Tavern for dinner another night and had another good meal, which features a number of meat options as well. However, Sam Snead's is more downscale from the primary hotel options (the hotel runs the Tavern as well), and the interior is a bit dank. We dined under a breakfast+dinner meal plan (i.e. fixed-price per person per day) which seemed to be a good deal if one is not a dainty eater and were going to indulge in multiple courses for a meal. Otherwise, the a la carte prices are a bit high. In addition to the meat feature, we were pleased to see the rest of the plate filled with a nice variety of vegetable accompaniment as well. One minor strike on the menu is that the wine choices by the glass were somewhat limited and middling, and bottle prices were rather high (e.g. $45 for Blackstone Merlot!) [NB: no issue with Merlot here!]. However, the Malbec and Pinot Noir by the glass were fine and consisted of a generous pour.
The resort certainly provides one-stop shopping for food, even clothing, and for scads of activities, which is good since there really isn't a town to speak of for quite some distance around the hotel. We did an hour of horseback riding with a guide in the lead around some trails in the surrounding woods, and finished the weekend with a guided hike tracing a vigorous stream/river that sources to the main hot spring for the hotel. The hike was particularly picturesque, featuring at this time of year many wildflowers, and led by Billy, a sage and entertaining naturalist. The resort provides generous shuttle service to all points in the surrounding area.
One criticism I do have for The Homestead is that there are several service charges added in various places, which can leave an impression of some nickel-and-diming, but the activity prices seemed fair. I think they need to be more transparent as to what these service charges are paying for and what proportion is going to staff as gratuity. It seems almost deliberately unclear on that point. If there is an automatic gratuity, then simply label it as such on the bill. The website could use an update to easily provide such information on the various charges, tipping policy, and a better description and pricing of the meal plan, for example.
Overall, a visit to The Homestead makes a perfect weekend, and the resort readily facilitates filling your agenda with many activities such that you can fully partake in what The Homestead and Bath County, VA has to offer.
- 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