If history, adventure and classic American resorts are all on your travel wish list, then there’s no better place to visit than the storied Omni Homestead Resort. Located in the Allegheny Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, The Homestead has been attracting visitors since the colonial era with a tradition of hospitality that continues well into the 21st century. There’s a lot to see and do at this luxury resort, so here’s what it’s really like to stay the night in the Omni Homestead.
It was ten years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1766 when this historic resort in the mountains of Virginia first opened for business. Jefferson traveled here to soothe his aching joints in the natural hot springs found nearby and so many Presidents have visited over the centuries that it would take an entire article just to list and share their stories.
The Omni Homestead Resort cares deeply about its proud history as one of America’s oldest luxury resorts, but it also looks towards the future. You won’t find a tired or dated hotel when you visit, instead you’ll experience modern luxury at its finest, but with a nod towards the past and incorporating all of those fantastic experiences that have drawn people to this remote mountain outpost for almost 250 years.
Since the Omni Homestead Resort is so secluded, every effort has been made to ensure that guests never get bored, and from my own experience, that’s an understatement. For many weekend guests, the resort’s historic golf course is a main draw. Ranked amongst the best in Virginia, the Omni’s championship course doesn’t just allow golfers the chance to perfect their game, but to do so amongst the undeniable beauty of the nearby mountains. Like everything else at the Omni, even golf has a remarkable history here and the resort has welcomed a whole host of famous golfers including Presidents Eisenhower, Taft, Bush and many other notable personalities throughout the decades. If you’re not a golfer don’t worry–there are plenty of other active pursuits to keep you occupied.
The Homestead rests in what is essentially a rainforest; a semi-tropical microclimate for which the Alleghany Mountains are well-known. Taking advantage of the unique forest-system right next door, expert naturalists at the Homestead lead guests every day on a fun and fascinating walk through the woods known as the Cascades Gorge Hike. This 3-hour, 2.8 mile hike will take you through some of the most lush forest landscapes you’ll see anywhere in the world. It’s a pleasant walk and not challenging, so don’t worry if you’re not a fitness freak, this hike really is for all ages. Falconry is another iconic activity at The Homestead, and it’s an experience that only a few other luxury resorts around the country offer. Falconry is a type of hunting that uses birds of prey like falcons, but more often it includes hawks, which was what my experience at The Homestead involved.
Walking with a trained falconry expert through the woods and watching the beautiful bird swoop just inches over our heads in a well-practiced and choreographed display of hunting prowess was one of those special experiences I know I’ll always remember. Of course, what drew Jefferson and the others is still the main attraction at The Omni Homestead Resort – the hot springs! Guests can experience the springs at The Homestead in a number of ways, including what I think is the most luxurious way possible – a private mineral bath. This service featured at the resort’s massive and infinitely relaxing spa uses the water that runs underneath the spa facility itself. The water is poured into wooden tubs, into which more minerals and salts are added creating the most relaxing (and curative) soak you’ll ever experience. If you want to see how generations before you took the waters, then head outside to the Octagon Pool, which has been welcoming achy guests for decades.
A True Getaway
Of course the best thing to do at any resort, at least in my opinion, is nothing at all and at The Omni Homestead you can practice the fine art of relaxation in style and comfort. The spacious grounds, the well-designed and incredibly comfortable rooms and even the massive front porch of the main house itself are the perfect places to regroup and decompress. The resort also features a wide variety of dining options including a breakfast buffet famous around the world not only for the selection of Southern food staples, but for the resort’s homemade cinnamon donuts. Served warm and glazed with cinnamon sugar, it’s the highlight of the day for many guests. No matter what you decide to see and do at the Omni Homestead Resort, there’s no doubt that you will have the getaway of a lifetime at this classic Virginia retreat.