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“Still The Grand Dame”

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The Omni Homestead Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Hot Springs
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Orlando, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
65 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Still The Grand Dame”
Reviewed February 2, 2011

Just returned from a conference with my wife at The Homestead and I must say that this destination landmark continues to deliver. The service was fabulous and the facility is in remarkable shape given its age.

We stayed in the newer wing which was convenient as the conference rooms were located very close to our room. The Homestead is a great choice for a group event given the large amount of meeting space and the character of the ballrooms.

Dinner in the Main Dining Room was great on Day 1 but by the 4th night I was tired of the limited menu. The menu does not change and there are no nightly specials. Dinner is clearly an event (jackets and slacks as a minimum for men) but spending 2.5 hours at a meal each night begins to take its toll. Regardless of how crowded the dining room is the pace is slow and I am sure this is the plan as there is little to no nightlife after dinner.
The quality of the food was excellent and the portion size is fair. We chose the meal plan which proved to be a good value given the ala carte pricing. For some odd reason our party did not book a dinner at the 1766 Grill and this would have provided some much needed variety. Our fault!

We snow tubed and skiied and the prices were inexpensive. $35 lift tickets and $35 rentals were downright cheap! Snow tubing was $15 for an hour which was a deal given that we made 10 runs in the hour and the j-bar lift saved climbing up the hill! Not to knock the ski hut's cafeteria but the food was pretty greasy and seemed poor given the wonderful food in the hotel. This is a serious area for improvement!

We bowled ($10 a game) and beers were $7.75 a can. Not cheap and you have to manually score your game.

We ice skated ($14 a session - two or three hour sessions) on the outdoor rink. Small but fun.

The spa was great but $145 plus $29 gratuity for a 50 minute Swedish massage seemed high given my experiences at other high end resorts.

The sports bar was fun (darts, pool and Golden Tee) and the staff let me plug in my iPhone so we could listen to some music. It's pretty quiet in there regardless of the size of the crowd.

Lindsey's Roost located just behind the resort in town proved to be a diamond in the rough. Great service, cheap drinks, pool table and the staff were downright friendly! There is a convenience store across the street if you want to buy some drinks or snacks to avoid in-room mini-bar charges.

The room was adequate with a nice balcony overlooking the mountains. Nothing special but given the age of the hotel I was pleased.

We played chess, checkers and did some puzzles because all you have is time when you visit The Homestead. The pace harkens back to a simpler time and if you give in to it you will enjoy your stay!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
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3 Thank BigBlueiFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Oakton, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2011

stayed at the Homestead over last wkend of January. beautiful, grand hotel that is very family-oriented. we travelled w/our 4-yr old twins, here are some tips and things to look for:
- coffee service in the morning in the Jefferson Parlor
- bring floaties for the pool, there is no beach area to rest
- complimentary popcorn and hot dogs at the Player's Club (great with their complimenary nightly movie).
- Player's Club also had a simple buffet which was reasonably priced and perfect for quick dinner.
- bring sleds for the hills overlooking the skaking rink
- we had the buffet breakfast in the main dining room-- get there early over the wkends. when we finished at 10AM, there was a line down the hall.
- we had lunch at the Casino restaurant-- more resonably priced at $17/entree, kids $8/entree
- book the activities early, esp the snow mobiles.
- you can request a fridge for you room for juices and snacks.
- we didn't soak at the Jefferson Pools, but took a quick tour, it was fascinating, esp if you're a history buff (like my hubs).

we enjoyed the skating, s'mores, tubing, ski-ing, pool, movie-- a jam-packed fun-filled wkend!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank terrdeter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2011

My husband and infant daughter and i stayed at the Homestead this weekend for two nights. I was slightly concerned after reading many of the negative reviews on the hotel but we had a great stay. I would say the only slight issues that we did notice which we previously mentioned in the reviews were 1) food was overpriced for the quality and portions but food was still good (I would expect this at an isolated resort such as Homestead) and 2) housekeeping didn't come to clean out room, however when we called to request a crib and change of linens the housekeeper was there within an hour 3) we also experienced many of the restaurants being "full" and not accepting reservations but when we tried to walk in more than half of the restaurant was empty and they seated us immediately (strange) and 4) our bill was indeed incorrect at checkout, we had been overcharged by $100+ for our second night of the stay.

On a positive note - we had a great stay. The staff was VERY friendly and warm. Almost every staff member we came in contact with asked how our stay was and said that they hoped we would come back to see them again. The reservation agent upgraded us to a bigger room with a view when I told her it was our first trip and that it was for my husband's birthday. We got a room in the main tower on the top floor - it was gorgeous! The food was much better than expected after reading the reviews, the wine selection was good and I would definitely recommend the Grill over the Dining Room, which feels more like a banquet hall.

The bellmen were friendly and courteous upon checkin. The property was in good shape, almost every wall had fresh coats of paint and I was impressed with how well the hotel has been kept up. My husband went skiing and enjoyed it but the mountain was definitely geared towards more of a beginners mountain. He also went skeet shooting and had a great time. He enjoyed a massage in the spa and his experience was average, nothing extraordinary but not bad.

Before you visit Homestead for the first time:
1. Make all dinner and activity reservations in advance. The Grille is by far the best restaurant but pricey. I'd recommend doing Sam Sneads Tavern one night (more casual) and Grill the second night. A history tour is also offered each day at 10:00am, you need to reserve a spot in the tour but it's a good intro to the hotel. Also high tea at 3:00pm in the lobby - no reservations needed.

2. Ask the reservation agent for an upgrade nicely if you are going to celebrate a special occasion.

3. If you are planning to dine at The Dining Room for dinner, request a dancing floor table when you make your reservation. They will not seat you on the dance floor, the closest to the lovely band, unless you've specifically noted it on your reservation - even if the restaurant is mostly empty - very strange!

4. Enjoy it's a great hotel, with a lot of history and friendly staff!

Pleasantly surprised

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank arlingtontravel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2011

As a native Virginian, I have heard about the fabulous Homestead all my life. I've now had my first stay there, and I give mixed reviews. My husband and I went for two nights as part of a conference. The drive there is beautiful, and we have spent much time in nearby Highland County. We had excellent service from the bellmen when we arrived. Check-in took awhile, but that can be expected. Our room was fine, nicely decorated, comfortable bed, semi-good view (toward the ice rink). Because of the historic nature of the hotel, there are things that you notice right off.

One is the heating system. We were either burning up or freezing. The wind whips in around the old windows like you wouldn't believe. The thermostat appeared not to work, so we ended up having to either have the system on until we got hot and then off until we got cold. Our morning showers were a little chilly while we waited for the bathrooms to steam up!

Most of the staff we encountered, such as housekeepers, maintenance, etc. were very friendly. However, the attention to detail was lacking. A lightbulb above the bathroom vanity stayed out the entire time we were there. We had two washcloths the first morning, then they were taken and not replaced, so we had none the second morning. Things like this shouldn't happen at a 5-star resort, in my opinion.

The food was not up to par either. Most of our meals were through the conference, but on the night of our gala, at $49 per person, the menu was salad, pasta, pork tenderloin, and cheeseburger sliders. How the sliders got in there I have no idea, but they were RAW inside. My husband orders all steaks medium-rare, and these were so bad even he couldn't eat them. The pork tenderloin was PINK and I have always been told not to eat pink pork! Only water was put on the table; you had to get your own iced tea in the corner of the room and they were always out of either ice or tea. I tried three times!

The final straw for me was in the dining room for Sunday breakfast. We were pushed through like cattle and hurried all the way. We had a discount card from the conference that the waiter took and returned with a receipt for us to sign - no problem. As I returned to the table with my first plate (what's the rush) and literally had food on my fork, the waiter stuck an ink pen under my nose and held it there. When I looked at him as if "are you serious?" he said, sign this, I need it. Rude, rude, rude. Don't worry - there was no tip given, although I do have a few tips for management of the dining room!

The conference facilities were very nice, and overall we enjoyed our stay. But if the Homestead is five-star and if they insist on charging the prices they do, you should at least get a wonderful stay with fabulous staff and top-notch service. I don't know that we will be back, but we'd definitely like to spend more time in the area. Maybe a B&B would do better.

We didn't try many of the activities. Spa was expensive, so was bowling. The fitness center was nice and we used. Indoor pool heater was broken, so that was not available to us. Skiing supposedly just has one slope; kids in hotel said tubing was fun.

The hotel is historic, it is beautiful, and everyone should try at least once. But take your pocketbook!!!!! $$$$$$$$$$$

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank kc-bug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Office
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2011

My wife and 16 year old daughter returned to the Homestead after almost ten years away only to find that the Grand Dame of Eastern Resorts is still as beautiful and Grand as it was in the past. Our trip took us there over the Holiday's which enhanced the beauty, with the hundreds of beautiful holiday decorations around the resort. What we really liked was the new unlimited activities package. For an additional $55 per person, you were able to do almost everything extra that would cost additional money. On one day we skied in the morning, went skeet shooting in the afternoon, went skating later in the day and to top it all off we went bowling before dinner. If you put all of these activities together it would of cost over $170 but we only payed $55. Other activities include Horse back riding, golf, as well as 20% off for SPA services.

I also think the food quality and presentation has improved since our last visit. The afternoon tea in the main hallway is a must. By far, the hot chocolate served at tea time is the best I have ever had. The other signature breakfast item which is a must is the homemade donuts.

The Homestead is by far the #1 resort for a great time with family and friends.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank whytegroup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2011

Overall, my summation is, it's worth trying once, for sure; then you can decide for yourself whether it's worth a second try. Except, don't go if it's stretching your budget or fiscal comfort level, because -- it's not good enough to make you forget what you're paying.

I think it would be best for a group of people who had different interests: one person likes to ski/golf, the other likes the spa; one person likes to shop, the other likes to hike; or it would be good for a very active group that likes to keep busy doing different things. However, if you all have the same narrow interests, you could probably find another place that did better at that one thing. For example, my husband and I like to hike. We went on a 4.5 mile hike around the golf course, with a great view of the Homestead from the summit (I think they must keep the trees cut to preserve the view). It was a good hike, the trail was well-marked and well-maintained; but that's the only longish hike available so the hiking wouldn't bring us back. However, if only one of us liked to hike . . . well then that option would be available while the other one shopped, golfed, etc.

My husband and I went for two nights in mid-December. The hotel and grounds were beautifully decorated for Christmas and we enjoyed walking around drinking in the Christmas atmosphere. Although romance can be found anywhere, I wouldn't recommend it specifically for a romantic getaway because it is a very family friendly place -- if you have kids, do not hesitate to go, you will be welcome. (We avoided the pool because it was full of families.)

I see some people complaining about small rooms, but our room was huge, and we had the lowest available rate. I was shocked at how large the room was for the price we paid. (We didn't have a view.)

Our experience with the main dining room was extremely mixed. It both made and broke the trip for us. If we had had only the first night's experience, we would definitely never go back to the hotel; if we had had only the second night's experience, we definitely would go back. The first night: my husband had made a request while making the reservation to seat us away from small children, if possible. It can't hurt to ask, right? Well, when we arrived the host took a tone with us, said he would not be able to accommodate us because it was the holidays, then sat us right next to table that was reserved for a family of 20, who were seated while we were mid-meal, with their two small children literally only inches from our table. One was allowed to run up and down the small space between our two tables for the entire meal: thump, thump, thump. Return. Thump, thump, thump. Now, let me just say, the dining room is enormous. There is no reason couples and families with adult children could not be seated on one side. The night we were there the dining room was half empty. Furthermore, if they couldn't meet our request, they either should not have mentioned it; or apologized.

But I'm not finished complaining about this meal yet. My husband eats slowly -- but really, when your entree is $35, shouldn't you enjoy it? For three courses in a row -- three in a row! -- the server tried to take his plate while he was still eating. Three times in a row he had to say, No, thank you, I am still eating. For all three of those courses, they took my plate while he was still eating. Also, two of the servers were very friendly with each other in the back of the room --something I have never seen before in any restaurant -- I'm not critizing their affection for each other, but they were a reflection on how very young and inexperienced the wait staff was. Also, the food: mine was great (the steak); my husband's was not (the duck). He is rarely critical of his food but he said it was nowhere near the best duck he had ever had, too fatty. By the end of the night, between the rude host, the thumping children, and the overly efficient service, our nerves were shot.

The next night we tried to get a reservation elsewhere and were unsuccessful. Well, I'm glad, because the next night was wonderful. They seated us on one side of the main dining room, among adults and families with adult children, without ever mentioning our request. They never once took my husband's dish while he was eating, and even held a course when he disappeared mid-meal, without my asking. (When he got up he said, "I bet this will make the food come." But instead the waitress came by and said, "Oh no, you lost him!") Then after he was back and seated comfortably, they brought out our food, nice and hot. They never once took my dish while he was still eating. They steered us to the better entrees on the menu (the steak and the lamb). Excellent service, beautiful room, good food. If we knew we would get this experience every time, we would definitely go back. Let me say, this was an older, more experienced crew of servers. My husband said, "We definitely got the A-Team tonight."

I've never been to the Greenbrier (although I would like to try it), but I can make a quick comparison to the Grove Park Inn, in Asheville, where I have been twice. The Grove Park has much better food. The Grove Park has a better fitness center, except it is in a basement with no view; I prefer being able to look outside the way you can in the Homestead's. The Homestead has nicer grounds for walking, plus the hiking trails. So if you're a walker, you have plenty of options. At the Grove Park, you either have to walk on a treadmill or get in a car to drive to a hiking trail.

Final comments: The fitness center was very nicely located, with a great view of the grounds. The common rooms were beautiful, although I expect some of them might not be available during weddings and other events. The afternoon tea is definitely not a refined experience, more like a cattle call; but, it is worth it if you just want a cup of tea or ice tea in the afternoon -- better than paying $6 for it. I loved the historical photos all over the hotel. If we go back, I definitely would like to try the hot springs themselves, and also to take the history tour.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank VAReviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muskegon, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2010

The holiday rate was advertised at 127 a night online based on double occupancy. So I called and they de died to raise it 50$ per person per night because it was a "from" rate. The lady said it was implied that was also a from rate. Very condescending and did not care to meet the advertised rate on their own website.

I've stayed here before and it's fine. The restaurant is ok, nothing gourmet italian about it, but it beats Olive Garden.

The accommodations are solid, again nothing to blow your hair back.

Too bad, the lack of standing behind their own advertised rate killed it for me.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
Helpful?
5 Thank Traveljockey34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Omni Homestead Resort

Property: The Omni Homestead Resort
Address: 7696 Sam Snead Highway, Hot Springs, VA 24445-2775
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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