More about The Homestead Resort
We are very worried.
Returned in March for skiing with three family generations. Skiing and ski facilities were wonderful. The hotel remains grand, beautiful and clean with major, major renovations to guest rooms in progress.
New ownership management is in place with a new agenda most evident in The Dining Room which is now staffed with college kids from Brazil and Peru on internships to learn English. Service is poor. Modified American plan remains about ninety dollars per person, per day, plus, plus. Breakfast buffet significantly cut back. No more eggs and omlet lady. One, that is, the same, pedestrian dinner menu every night as long as you are there. (Shrimp cocktail seems poured with sauce from a jar into a cup.) Live music for dancing remains.
Change is taking place. Perhaps the plan is to cede the high ground to The Greenbrier and re-make The Homestead in a down-market mold. The jewelry store will close.
Perhaps the change will be a success financially and culturally. Perhaps it will be a success financially for the new owners. Perhaps long time guests will move on.
We will be back!
My husband and I stayed at the Homestead over the holidays and were quite pleased with most every aspect of our stay! I was a bit apprehensive after reading some of the other reviews, but must say we did not have any issues with the customer service provided by the staff, everyone was very friendly and helpful. We ate at Sam Sneads on our first night, and although we had to wait a long time for our food to be served, the meal was excellent, the steak was perfectly cooked and very tender. The next night we ate in the Main Dining Room, service was much quicker, but the food wasn't as good. It wasn't horrible, but after such a wonderful meal at Sneads, we thought the Main Dining Room would surpass it. The same could be said for our breakfast experience. Our first morning we had breakfast delivered via room service (fill out the card the night before and they will promptly deliver it at the time you request), everything was wonderful, the food was cooked perfectly, the cofee was excellent, everything that was supposed to be warm was warm, and everything that was supposed to be chilled was chilled! It was so enjoyable to have a leisurely breakfast in our room overlooking the beautiful grounds! I felt like royalty! The next day we went to the breakfast buffet in the dining room, figuring it would surpass the meal we received from room service. That was not the case! The lines were long, the food wasn't that great, and what was supposed to be warm was cold, and what was supposed to be chilled was warm! My husband loves an omelet, and is a very patient man, but even he wouldn't brave the line at the omelet station! Having breakfast delivered to your room is definitely worth the extra expense, although I think at the price paid overall for the room and meal plan there should be no additional charge, other than the tip. Our room was quite comfortable and well appointed, but I would have liked to have a little room in the mini bar fridge to put a soda or two of my own! The bedding was fabulous, I a very picky about my pillow, and usually have difficulty sleeping while on vacation because of that, but I had no problems here! We had no issues having our room cleaned and restocked with towels and bath products, and did receive turn down service on both nights. Our closet was huge, and although we could hear into the hallway, it wasn’t so terrible, and should be expected in a historic property. My only complaint is regarding the bathroom. The fixtures were on backwards, the sink was loose on the wall, I was afraid it would fall off if we leaned on it too hard, and there was no cold water in our sink.! Very bizarre! The bathroom definitely needs to be modernized! We had a lovely time on our carriage ride, our guide was very knowledgeable about the area, and made our experience very pleasurable, without being intrusive. Afternoon tea was lovely, and we really enjoyed just strolling the grounds and meandering throught the hotel. We did not have time to go skiing, or golfing, or play tennis, and did not bring bathing suits to use the indoor pool, so I can't say much about those activities, other than the areas appeared to be in good shape and well taken care of. We did bowl, and found it to be well maintained and very reasonably priced. After reading the review of the lady being paraded naked through the spa and being hosed down like an animal, I was afraid to book a spa service! Maybe next time, because there will definitely be a next time!
We will not be back.
We returned to The Homestead for a weekend of relaxation after having great weekend escapes there before. Boy, were we disappointed. First, do not expect a relaxing environment if you go on a weekend. The weekend we were there, the property was full of families with young children, who were essentially cut loose to run and scream up and down the hallways. And don't get me started on the circus that was the afternoon tea in the lobby. Even my spa appointment was disappointing. The spa used to be a highlight for us. I received a hot stone massage from a college student who did not seem very well trained. Our room also showed wear and tear. The carpet was stained and frayed--unacceptable for the prices this place charges. After being seated in the Grill Room, we were essentially ignored for about twenty minutes as other parties seated around us--and who were seated after us--were served. All in all, The Homestead's standards have declined. We will not return.
Beautiful Facilities, Appalling Customer Service
We have been to the Homestead 3 times, most recently the first week of March 2007. The property looks gorgeous and our rooms were absolutely beautiful. We had a two bedroom suite that had newly remodeled marble bathrooms, a huge living room and a porch where we had coffee and breakfast every morning. The great hall and the common areas were all in immaculate condition. None of this made up for the customer service. The dining staff were generally wonderful but we had some unbelievably bad encounters with the spa staff, the front desk, the person who answered the room service phone, the housekeepers and the accounting staff. We had a spa staff person chastise us for being late (we were not late, we were on time -- the only reason we were not early is we had been checking in on the upstairs floor), we did not have a room service menu in our room and called to ask for one that never came, when we told room service we had not gotten the menu they argued with us about whether or not one had been sent up to us, we borrowed one from a family member in another room, left a $10 tip asking housekeeping to return it -- (they didn't but they kept the $10), we asked the front desk what restaurants were open for lunch and were told "I have no idea". No one smiled or said "good morning" when you passed them in the hall, even if you issued a greeting. Then, to top it all off, they overcharged us $1600 and it took 5 phone calls and a lot of grief and it was NEVER fully resolved. (They did end up crediting my card for the overcharges -- which consisted of a charge for a night we were not there and meals that were consumed on the meal plan) The accounting staff could not explain their own system or the charges on our bill. After the 5th phone call, the supervisor said she would send me a gift certificate for a free weekend. It has been well over a month, I guess the gift certificate is in the same place as our room service menu. My husband says he will never go back. If you do go -- call the property directly and request nice rooms. There are definitely huge differences in the quality of rooms and your location will determine whether your hallway is a thoroughfare or is quiet. The most magnificent rooms are in the tower and/or have a balcony or porch.
Fun for Families
This was my family's second trip to the Homestead resort, and we had a very nice time- a great place for multi generational trips. Given the expense and reputation of the resort, I do feel compelled to nit pick a bit, however.
We got a good price on the room (we went mid-week), and were upgraded to the new wing which made up in room size and amenities what it lacked in charm. I found some of the charges to be a bit excessive, including fees for the bowling alley and a nature hike ($25.00 per person). The resort was only half full, which meant that there were no lines at the restaurant and lots of room in the swimming pool, but the downside was that not a lot was on offer. The famous Jefferson pools, highly touted on the web cite, were not open during the week, which was disappointing. Similarly, I found the concierge and spa staff a bit frosty -- when I asked about the fitness class schedule, for example, I was told that the April schedule was not yet available and they had "no idea" when/if classes were being held, which struck me as astonishingly unhelpful for a resort of this caliber.
I agree with other reviewers that the food at Sam Sneads (a charming tavern) surpasses the cuisine at the main restaurant (though I really enjoyed the trout), and the breakfast buffet is just terrific (the omelet lady was there; she also made chocolate chip pancakes for the kids, which were fabulous!) I think the tea is a bit of a letdown, but it's still a nice tradition.
The indoor pool is a revelation, set in a stunning atrium room with warm spring water. Other public areas, as well as the grounds, are beautiful and very well maintained. The President's lounge has wonderful views over the property, and serves great martinis in frosted glasses.
I strongly recommend the spectacular gorge hike, led by the resident naturalist (Brian) who has an astounding range of knowledge. The trail ride is not as nice as it used to be, as the Homestead is constructing several large homes along the bridle paths, evidently targeted to baby boomer millionaires looking to retire in an upscale golfing community. I also recommend the Deerlick walk, a nice hike up the mountain overlooking the resort.
The spa area is lovely and relaxing. My only splurge was a mineral bath. For this experience, the spigot is left on during the entire bath, allowing the water to spill over the sides onto the tile floor before draining. It was lovely.
Not that Impressed
My best friend and I stayed here this past weekend for a conference she was attending for work. Her husband couldn't go, so, I got to tagalong!
We were extremely excited about staying here because we had heard so many amazing things about the property, the numerous activities and the service.
The property is truly beautiful with the Great Hall and most of the public spaces being quite grand. The rooms were well appointed and extremely clean. The bed linens and towels were lovely. However, the toiletries were cheap and were of no use.
Room service was less than expected on the evening of our arrival. There were items missing from our order and they brought the wrong bottle of wine to our room; twice.
A mid-morning coffee run at the "Coffee Nook" inside of the hotel was not pleasing either. I was treated very unkindly by the two baristas who seemed to have an affinity for helping others before they helped me. I dismissed the first instance. But, it happened again on the second day, of which it ended with a minor confrontation and then a quick, insincere apology that came on the heels of a second-guessing of what I actually ordered and paid for.
Lunch in the Casino restaurant was also less than stellar as far as presentation goes; but, it tasted fairly good.
Dinner at Sam Snead's was enjoyable. The food and service were both quite good and the atmoshphere was very laid back and casual.
Shopping in the hotel shops was fun as they had a nice array of clothing, household items, trinkets, candles, etc. that were of high quality. Many items were on sale as well.
The members of the housekeeping staff were extremely attentive, friendly and helpful. They truly did an excellent job and made up for the atrocious behavior of the baristas.
It rained the entire weekend of our stay, so, unfortunately we were unable to participate in any of the outdoor activities as most of them had been canceled. Unfortunately, the hotel did not have much planned for guests to do in case of inclement weather. So, we were all pretty much just "hanging out" in the Great Hall or in our hotel rooms, or, in the extremely overpriced spa. I got a manicure that was not worth what I paid for it. However, the steam room was a very, very nice retreat.
Overall, the hotel was extremely overpriced. Note: 20% gratuity is included in every service, so, there is no need to tip again, unless you would like to. Also, a 17% service charge and 5% sales tax is added to everthing as well. So, in essence, you will pay a 37% tip plus 5% sales tax on everything you do there. Our bill was over $1200.
Checkout on Sunday was a nightmare. The lines were extremely long for the concierge desk and for the parking valet. Thank goodness we packed light and were able to carry our own bags to our car in the parking lot and drove away from all the madness that ensued on the front steps of the main lobby.
I cannot, within good conscience, recommend this hotel to anyone; unless they like overpriced, stuffy resorts that are decorated in the old victorian style. Although, I hear the golf is outstanding. So, perhaps that's what people really go for.
A Pleasant Surprise fo Us, a Wedding Challenge for our Friends
With most destination hotels with a history and a strong reputation, the experience never seems to match up to the expectation. That was not the case with The Homestead. Our stay was superb in most every respect.
The setting for The Homestead is picturesque. We, unfortunately, chose the drive in from the east that took us through some rough-looking residential areas and past a paper mill. But that was quickly forgotten as you neared the resort; the drive-up to the property is striking. The drive out headed north was, in contrast, peaceful and beautiful.
Our *personal* experience with the service was impeccible. The doorman/valet was courteous and helpful. The front desk was efficient and pleasant. The concierge mis-managed a few reservations in advance of our stay, but it was quickly resolved after a visit to the desk. In general, the waitstaff at the various restaurants was exceptional. As we walked through the resort, we were greeted by the staff with a hello and a smile - a nice touch. HOWEVER, the wedding coordinatior assigned to manage our friend's wedding was incompetent. Painfully so. Certainly not the quality you would expect from a hotel that must crank through weddings. Complaints by our friends to the hotel management were not satisfactorily addressed. For this, I cannot rate the hotel a full five stars (I am sure they would not rank it higher than one star themselves). It was a challenge to watch our friends managing the coordinator's missteps before and after the ceremony and throughout the reception rather than enjoying the joy of their wedding day. Simply unacceptable. If you are planning a wedding at The Homestead, I would think twice.
Our room in the garden wing was lovely and in perfect condition. The room was well appointed and extremely comfortable - very "home-y" in its decoration and furnishings. The bed and pillows were simply devine.
Overall, the meals were of good quality. We ate at the Sam Snead's Tavern the first night. It is a very casual atmosphere. The food was acceptable, but a bit overpriced. The morning breakfast buffet certainly did not lack options - it was perhaps the most extensive selection I have ever seen. If the pre-prepared options did not meet your needs, you could order omelets or pancakes to order.
You are never for want of something to do at the resort. The hard part is choosing exactly how to spend your time (golf, spa, hiking and bowling to name a few). We chose to take a fly fishing school through the Orvis outfit, Alleghany Outfitters. It was expensive, but a good experience.
We would definitely return to The Homestead if given a chance. It is a perfect location for a romantic getaway, a honeymoon or a relaxing vacation. Would I suggest it as a location for a destination wedding, though? Not based on what we witnessed.
Wonderful Vacation at The Homestead
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful stay at The Homestead. What a charming and beautiful resort. We had a very comfortable room in the Tower with a great view. The food and service in the dining room were excellent. The dining room is just beautiful and it’s wonderful having music and dancing during dinner. There were so many fun outdoor activities. We took the Cascade Gorge hike with a very knowledgeable naturalist, Brian. This hike with Brian should not be missed. The climbing wall was really fun. Our instructor, George, was great – he’s a terrific motivator! The only thing that I was a little disappointed in was the horseback riding. The scenery was beautiful and our guide was great, but we only walked the trails. It’s a great ride for beginners, but not for someone who has some experience riding.
We will definitely be returning to The Homestead.
Worst Experience Ever
After spending a few days fly fishing in WVA, my girlfriend and I decided to stay a night at the illustrious Homestead Resort, as we wanted to have a nice, quiet, romantic evening in a scenic location, then possibly get a spa treatment in the am. What we got instead was a hustle into a room with the worst view ever, a lovely view of their tar roof, which was more reminiscent of a Camden, Anacostia or Brooklyn skyline, not really the mountains of Southwest VA.
In addition, the room was located at the end of a hallway, where they had started to do construction on one of their wings. No need to worry about that though, we were told, because they wouldn't be working until the next day. The resort staff also failed to tell us in advance that they didn't have any remaining reservations in their restaurant, so we had to pay for their cookout, which was okay, except the communal seating arrangement left us at a table with a family full of children, not my idea of romance. The food was only mediocre at best. They left the shells on the shrimp they grilled. The streak was subpar, you know tough and chewy and very hard to swallow, not a choice cut or marinated much, if at all. The best was the corn dog. I guess the many kids at the occassion loved it, I know i did! Seriously, I did like the corn dog. Anyway, I also don't like their 72 hour cancellation policy, when most resorts I've dealt with have 48 hour policy. I did not like the fact that they do not post the prices of food items on their menu. Note, they also did not have a wine list available at their upscale bar. All told, I would not recommend this place to anyone, because on the whole, they charge luxury rates, but fail to provide you with luxury accomodations or service. And don't even think that our room was the only one with a substandard view, because I estimate about 1/2 of the rooms have a similar type of view. And, they don't have cable either, but you can buy their movies, if you'd like.
Pamela_Peace's Virginia Page
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia you'll find the Homestead, a playground for the entire family, couples, or an individual in search of a little solitude. This complex has it all. Located near Hot Springs, VA, this grande dame was constructed 10 years before the Revolutionary War and has been hostess to many of our forefathers. She boasts 3 golf courses, the first of which claimes the oldest hole in the U.S, the most recent designed by Robert Trent Jones. During World War II, the Homestead served as a detention center for Japanese citizens - although detained, hotel staff was instructed to treat them as good as, if not better than paying clients. Not only is this a complete spa and recreation site, it is home to Executive Chef Albert Schnarwyler.