The iconic cupola is a recognizable feature of the propertyThe iconic cupola is a recognizable feature of the property — Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort

Set in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, Hot Springs was founded around the waters that have attracted generations of people, including Indigenous tribes and several American presidents. The town is also home to the Omni Homestead Resort, considered America’s first resort, not to mention a USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Best Destination Resorts winner.

Sitting on 2,300 acres of wooded land, the red-brick hotel with its iconic clock tower and cupola feels like a castle. Designed in the Georgian Revival style, the resort has something for everyone: multiple bars and restaurants, two golf courses, a seasonal water park with slides and a lazy river, a ski slope, a Virginia wine-tasting room, and a wide range of activities from history tours to mountaintop zip-lining to clay shooting.

After a $150 million renovation in 2023, the storied and historic property has a new lease on life. Here’s everything you need to know about the Omni Homestead.

How old is the Omni Homestead Resort?

The Homestead is also home to one of the earliest golf coursesThe Homestead is also home to one of the earliest golf courses — Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort

Before celebrities, presidents, and titans of industry made the Omni Homestead Resort their playground, the warm springs here were a draw for their healing properties.

In 1764, militia Captain Thomas Bullitt bought the first 300 acres, including seven natural mineral springs, for 30 shillings. By 1766, the first 18-room wooden hotel was complete, named the Homestead in honor of the homesteaders who built the resort and its bathhouses.

By the 19th century, visitors like Thomas Jefferson would “take the waters” — he soaked twice a day as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. In 1832, a local doctor purchased the property and offered the first European-style treatments, like salt scrubs. A group of magnates, which included J.P. Morgan, bought the hotel 60 years later and gave it a much-needed facelift.

In the following years, the Homestead resort hosted numerous events and dignitaries, including the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship in 1928. A ski resort entertained winter guests beginning in 1959. In 2016, the Omni Homestead celebrated its 250th anniversary, and, in 2023, the property reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation.

What presidents have stayed at the Omni Homestead Resort?

The lobby is the gathering place for Omni Homestead guestsThe lobby is the gathering place for Omni Homestead guests — Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort

In total, 23 presidents have visited or stayed at the Omni Homestead Resort and the hotel that predated it — among them Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

You can toast these founding fathers in the Presidential Lounge, where portraits of these commanders in chief are on view.

The Duke of Windsor and a then-teenage Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis also enjoyed vacations at the Homestead resort; she reportedly learned how to play golf here. Photos of these legendary folks can be seen around the property.

Can you swim in the Virginia hot springs?

Guests can swim beneath the skylight in a spring-fed indoor pool at Omni HomesteadGuests can swim beneath the skylight in a spring-fed indoor pool at Omni Homestead — Photo courtesy of Gordon Gregory

Now a part of the Omni Homestead property, the Warm Springs Pools are a part of about 100 thermally warmed springs along the edge of the Virginia and West Virginia border. Indigenous people of the area were attracted to these waters for the health benefits for thousands of years; the healing waters of these hot springs still bring people to the Homestead resort today.

The first octagonal stone basin was built around the thermal springs in 1761, making it the first spa structure in the U.S. It underwent significant renovations in 2022 with new men’s and women’s facilities, and family-friendly and co-ed swimming time. Reservations are required for the 50-minute sessions.

The Spa at the Omni Homestead has another hot spring inside its Serenity Garden. Also fed by spring water, the indoor pool, built in 1904, sits under a beautiful skylight. Day passes are available for non-hotel guests.

How much does it cost to stay at the Omni Homestead?

Renovated guest rooms at the Omni Homestead Resort offer classic luxuryRenovated guest rooms at the Omni Homestead Resort offer classic luxury — Photo courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort

Room rates start at $488 per night for a traditional room with a queen bed. Premier and luxury rooms and suites are available for a higher rate. Some rooms also have balconies and working fireplaces. Guest amenities include daily housekeeping, Wi-Fi, luxury Nest toiletries, and in-room coffee makers.

The hotel also hosts its “Southern Social Hour” with drinks and snacks in between meals at the resort’s restaurants. Don’t miss the famed Audubon Dining Room for dinner and a casual breakfast at Martha’s Market, the on-site coffee shop.

Omni Homestead can be accessed by car from major cities like Washington, D.C. The closest airports are Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, near Harrisonburg, and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, each around two hours away. Amtrak service is also available from the Clifton Forge station on the Cardinal line, located about 45 minutes away.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *