My DH and I just returned from 4 nights at Keswick Hall. We were celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. This review is not meant to discourage anyone from staying here - it's a lovely place but the service fell far, far below what one expects from an orient express property. First the good:
1) the place is simply gorgeous - the interiors and the exteriors both. The decor is the real highlight with fine antiques and an enviable collection of art and sculpture. You can tell it was decorated by a person with exquisite taste, not by a corporate hotel decorator. The landscaping and abundance of flowers was enchanting.
2) our room - Room 4, a deluxe balcony room, was large and comfortable and elegantly appointed. The bathroom was large, albeit slightly in need of an upgrade - ie., could use a frameless shower door and marble flooring. The tub was huge and inviting. But the real show stopper was the balcony - it was huge! It had a couch and table and chairs and 2 chaises and still there was enough room to throw a small dinner party! it was a real highlight and we spent a great deal of time outside (until Saturday - more on that later). They had a bottle of Cava waiting for us for our anniversary, which was nice.
3) the food - excellent - really outstanding. I'm still dreaming about the butter poached flounder at fossets.
4) the horizon pool - lovely and relaxing and blissfully child-free. Only one lone girl to take care of all the guests, which is nuts. But she worked very hard.
Now the not so good:
1) on check in - wow. like we were invisible. There was one valet helping another couple and he didn't even acknowledge us. No one else was there to assist other than him so after waiting a fair bit we just got our own luggage and walked in. Finally they valet parked our car. Then, upon check in we were not told anything about the property or offered any information or maps or orientation or anything - it was just, "here's your key, your room is down the hall" and then we took our own luggage down the hall.
2) Spa - on day two of our stay, while off property touring Monitcello, I got a frantic voicemail from the spa that they had no record of us having checked in to the hotel and did we want to cancel our spa reservations that we had for the next day. So i had to leave the tour and call them back and say yes we checked in and yes we were going to want the appointments we booked. the right hand of Keswick does not know what the left hand is doing. As for the spa treatments, they were adequate if uninspired. Be aware - the spa here is really an after thought. It's like they tacked on a few treatment rooms so they could call themselves a spa. It's not a full service spa. In fact - it's not it's own structure and shares space with the club house. So you will be forced to walk around in your robe around fully dressed golfers and ladies playing cannasta. The relaxation room was unkempt and not stocked -empty tea pots and no regular cleanup. Disappointing. But the worst - was the fact that, since my husband was having a treatment on the first floor, they didn't want to bother to have him wait in the relaxation room for his treatment (it's on the second floor) so they made him wait for his treatment by the kid's pool! There was nowhere to sit, the sun was glaring, he was surrounded by screaming kids and, he was naked except for the spa robe! unreal. He finally rebelled and came up to the relaxation room.
3) general service issues: one night we asked where the board games were. The man at the front desk said "four doors down and in a cabinet" - after searching we had to ask him to come show us - they were in the snooker room in a cabinet that you couldn't' open without a butter knife inserted and yanked. Really? you thought we'd be able to find them? you couldn't have walked us down and assisted without being asked twice? Bar service was equally spotty. One afternoon my husband ordered me a Daiquiri - what was delivered to me was a martini! I complained and was brought another drink - not a daiquiri. The next day the bartender told us "i make a great daiquiri but you ordered it on a day when i was swamped making drinks for other people so i just couldn't do it. Want one now?" Really??? Isn't "making drinks for other people" your job? Aren't we "other people"? Wow.
4) The tent - so, i've stated earlier how much we enjoyed the deck on our room. Now, bare in mind, on the weekend our room rate went up from $425 to $700. however, on friday we awoke to find them building a HUGE tent right in front of our balcony totally blocking our view! the tent was for a wedding the next night. I was floored that they wouldn't have even given us a head's up that the next 2 nights we would not be able to have a view from our balcony - sitting on the chaises all you saw was plastic! just poor, poor customer service.
5) by and large the room service staff was great - Olivia in particular - she was great. But the last day OIivia was off and the lady who brought our breakfast dropped my toast on the floor, didn't have cloches on the food, didn't have a pen for us to sign the check and told us to find one, and didn't get the order right or complete. I don't blame here - she seemed to lack the training necessary to do her job well.
6) hallway noise - it's a problem if your room is on the first floor. I suggest that keswick adopt the practice of the Greenbrier and have a sign reminding guests that quiet is required when walking the halls at 2:00 in the morning. This is especially a problem on nights when they host a wedding.
So there you have it - if you have the right level of expectation set, you'll enjoy your stay, but it's not the orient express or relais and Chateaux level of experience you're used to.
- 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