More about Big Meadows Lodge
Disappointed in Big Meadows
We weren't expecting the Ritz, but we did expect what the Aramark reservationist promised--A suite with a view of the valley and a full kitchen. When we checked in, we were disappointed to learn that none of the suites have valley views and the full kitchen consisted of a fridge. The front desk staff were sympathetic, but there wasn't anything they could do. The whole reservation process is very misleading since Aramark is based in Arizona and the reservationists have limited knowledge of the properties. As far as the lodge itself, our room was in need of repair--shutters broken, latches missing, etc. The food at Big Meadows was below average and overpriced. We preferred our lunch at Skyland to the meals we had at Big Meadows. On the plus side, the setting is beautiful. If we went back, we'd consider other lodging options.
loved Big Meadows--What a view!!!
We traveled to Virginia and DC with another couple in April. We rode on Skyline Drive and opted to see if a cabin was available at Big Meadows. We called ahead while on route and they graciously saved us a cabin. When we arrrived at our 2 bedroom cabin, the heater wasn't working correctoly in one room so they switched us to valley view rooms with 2 Queen size beds in each room. We are from Vermont, in the country, so the rustic lodge and being in the woods was not unusual to us but the views were certainly worth the trip. The lodge has a very large common area with chairs and fireplaces and the view from there and also our rooms was spectacular. You were high above the valley and it was gorgeous both at night and during the day. The dining room was nice with average food. The rooms were clean and roomy. We see many deer in VT but Big Meadows was unbelievable. When we got to the meadow it was almost dusk and there were at least one hundred deer in the meadows and in the road. They were everywhere. it was very relaxing at the lodge and I would recommend it to anyone, even travelers from the country!
My husband and I had heard about Skyline Drive. We were told there is no problem with getting rooms in the Park.
We arrived on a Monday. It was a pretty day, but no visibilty. We hiked for about 4 hours and then headed over to Big Meadows Lodge.
We had no reserverations. We were told there was only two rooms left. One with two twin beds or one with two doubles. We took the room with two double beds.
To our suprise, there was no aircondtioning, nor fans in the room. Granted they say it is cool in the mountains, but if you have been hiking all day, a fan would have been niche. There was one window and the door to the front porch, where other hotel guest walked in front of. It was warm at nighttime. The room was clean, except for the coffee pot, which had some kind of slim growing in it. It took the water forever to warm up for the shower.
The main restaurant was fine, but we thought pricey . When we checked out, we found out not only do they tax you on just about everything, you have a water surcharge. For $94.00 a night, I guess my husband and I were looking a little more.
Skyline Drive aka Shenandoah National Park
Before our trip I tried to research Skyline Drive on the internet. Didn't find much. When we got there it all falls under Shenandoah National Park, so I guess I should've used that as my search...
Anyway skyline drive is a 105 mile road through the park along which is scenic waysides, beautiful forests, many hiking trails, and 3 visitor centers. You'll get a handy map/guide when you enter (which costs 10 dollars per car by the way).
The Big Meadows visitor center is the grandest of them all. I stopped by the lodge (where you can get a room or a cabin) and would love to come back to stay-but guess what? No pets allowed!
A Complete Surprise!
After reading the reviews on Trip Advisor, I wasn't sure what to expect from Big Meadows Lodge. But we LOVED it! We'd describe it as rustic-elegant. The area was teeming with wildlife, the rooms were wonderful, and everything was perfectly clean.
We did stay in what was called a "Superior Room," in the Rapidian building just up the hill from the main lodge. We had what was called a "Mountain View" rather than a "Valley View," and though the latter was supposed to be better, we didn't think so at all. Our room, Room 100, was on the first floor. The older-style but immaculate bathroom was immediately to the left. It was large and appointed with modern appliances that dispensed Neutrogena products. We had two queen pillow-top beds with gorgeous comforters. You can't tell in the photos, but they had a gold leaf embroidery design over the green and cream checkered print. There were beautiful hardwood floors and the furniture was crafted from bleached pine. Some of my favorite room details were the lamps, that had a stone acorn and leaf design. There were also two new leather chairs. We wondered if the place had recently been refurbished. The air conditioning worked great, and there was a new ceiling fan as well. The TV only picked up 5 channels clearly, but I expected that at 3500 feet. We had no desire to watch TV anyway, with the absolutely amazing view from our room. There was a new table with two new chairs outside our back door, and the grounds were manicured and neat. We loved watching the sun set out there.
But of course, the main attraction of Big Meadows is the wildlife. We were elated to see a small black bear in the first 30 minutes on the property. We also saw countless deer with their fawns, chipmunks, a larger bear, and one skunk. (We didn't stop to take a picture of that one.) I was a little sick during this trip, so we only did one short hiking trail called Blacktop but it gave a magnificent view. You can access it from the parking lot adjacent to the lodge.
For a quick meal, we definitely recommend "The Wayside," which is in the first building you see as you drive up to the main lodge. We enjoyed awesome veggie wraps with homemade kettle chips and slaw. Be sure to get some of their crinkle fries, too. For breakfast, we dined in the main lodge on made-to-order omelets. The waiters in both restaurants were attentive and kind.
We have found a new wonderful getaway--just a short drive from DC! Go--you won't be disappointed!
We stayed at Big Meadows with our 2 year old. We loved this hotel. It was very relaxing- no TV or telephone. we stayd only one night but will certainly return. The hotel has a small playground and the restaurant was very accomodating to families with small children and the food was fantasic. We stayed in room 35 in the main lodge on the back of the building with a fabulous view!
This is a National park historic lodge not the Four Seasons. Please go to appreciate that fact and enjoy it, critters and all.
A little pricey. A lot of beautiful.
My family stayed at Big Meadows for Memorial Day weekend for a family
reunion. The booking process was confusing as you don't go directly through the lodge but rather through the company Aramak. They were never helpful when trying to get information over the phone- even something as simple as vacancy. My grandfather booked a year in advance to get a room near the main entrance because of his heart problem- they gave him the furthest room from the main lodge. And there was no changing- they were all booked. He passed two months before the weekend we stayed there- but it was obvious he would have been miserable.
My room was attached to the main lodge and had no air conditioning, and was very rustic. However- I was never hot at night as the fan brought in sufficient cool mountain air. The room was dark! I guess this could be a good or a bad thing. At $90+ a night I thought it was
expensive, especially because there was no view from our one window. Other family members had newer rooms a distance away from the lodge that were air conditioned, had tv's and nice big beds and so on. These were about $130+ a night. They had a good view so you really have to ask yourself what a view is worth.
Some tips: if you want to get into the park but don't want to lodge in the park, stay in the town of Luray. The drive into the park takes
a while but the view is so breathtaking that you won't mind. Also, go to the diner near the entrance to the park for dinner if you don't
want to pay a larger sum at the lodge. They have takeout or dine in. The service was only okay, but when on vacation you are supposed to sit back and relax anyway. At least that's what we told ourselves. Oh, and bring bug spray!!! (For the park, not the restaurant).
The pros- The view, the peace and quiet, the animal life, the foliage, the trails, the picnic areas.
The cons- the price of rooms, the bugs, certain types of rooms.
Rustic at best
Be aware of the fact that there is no air conditioning in the rooms. It is too pricey for what you get as far as lodging accomodations. Do yourself a favor and day-visit the park and be sure to dine in the lodge for breakfast or lunch.
My wife and I stayed here for a 2-night visit during a week long trip through Virginia. We stayed in the "Doubletop" building, on the 2nd floor end unit, with a view looking west. (This is a motel style room and not located in the main lodge.) We did not eat in the restaurant at the main lodge.
The room was "rustic" with wood paneling and a high ceiling. The appearance was pleasant, appeared clean, and well maintained (except a missing plate on a ceiling fan revealing the wiring). No phone or TV in the room. The clock radio contained a cd player. The 2 full sized beds seemed small but were comfortable.
There was nothing special about the room but we found the room very acceptable with a nice view of the Shenadoah Valley. While the room was a little "pricey" (and we anticipate that when staying in a national park), we did not come to the national park for the room but for the scenery and wildlife and fall colors; those things were fantastic!!