The Omni Homestead Resort

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The Homestead
TheHomesteadFront.JPG
Front view of The Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort is located in Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort
Location US 220, Hot Springs, Virginia
Coordinates 37°59′43.70″N 79°49′46.72″W / 37.9954722°N 79.8296444°W / 37.9954722; -79.8296444Coordinates: 37°59′43.70″N 79°49′46.72″W / 37.9954722°N 79.8296444°W / 37.9954722; -79.8296444
Area 2,300 acres (930 ha)
Built 1892
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Queen Anne, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival
NRHP reference # 84003494[1]
VLR # 008-0025
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 3, 1984
Designated NHL July 17, 1991[3]
Designated VLR March 20, 1984[2]

The Omni Homestead Resort is a luxury resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains. The area has the largest hot springs in the state, and the resort is also known for its championship golf courses, which have hosted several national tournaments. The resort also includes an alpine ski resort; founded in 1959, it is the oldest in Virginia. The resort has been designated a National Historic Landmark; it has a history extending of more than two and a half centuries. The Omni Homestead Resort is a member of Historic Hotel of America[4] the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

History[edit]

The Homestead in 1903
Old wing of the resort in 2016
Lobby of the resort in 2016

In 1766, Thomas Bullitt built a lodge on the site, which is considered the founding of The Homestead. In 1832, Dr. Thomas Goode (physician) purchased the land from the Bullitt family and expanded the medical therapies, establishing a European style of spa treatment and hydrotherapy. It has hosted vacationers ever since, including twenty-three U.S. presidents.

The modern resort dates from 1888-1892, when a group of investors headed by J. P. Morgan bought the business and started rebuilding it from the ground up. The original hotel buildings burned down in 1901 caused by a fire in the bakery. The main Homestead hotel was constructed afterwards, one wing a year, with the main lobby reconstructed in 1902.

Many American Presidents and influential people were Homestead guests. William Howard Taft spent July and August, 1908 at the Homestead, working and relaxing before the final campaign push, as briefly did outgoing President Theodore Roosevelt.[5] Other notable guests included cartoonist Carl E. Schultze of Foxy Grandpa fame.

From December 1941 until June 1942, following the United States' entry into World War II, the Homestead served as a high-end internment camp for 785 Japanese diplomats and their families until they could be exchanged through neutral channels for their American counterparts.[6][7] The diplomats were later transferred to the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.[8]

In 1993, The Homestead was purchased by Club Resorts, the same company which owned the Pinehurst Resort. In 2006 Club Resorts and its parent company ClubCorp, Inc. were acquired by a private-equity group led by KSL Capital Partners, LLC. KSL Resorts assumed management of The Homestead at this time. KSL sold the resort to Omni Hotels in 2013 and it was renamed The Omni Homestead Resort.[9]

It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Associated with The Homestead are the Homestead Dairy Barns, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[1]

Golf[edit]

Cascades Course logo

The Homestead features two golf courses. The club is sometimes referred to as Virginia Hot Springs Golf & Tennis Club.

The Old Course started as a six-hole layout in 1892, and the first tee is the oldest in continuous use in the United States.[10] It was expanded to 18 holes by 1901, and Donald Ross redesigned it in 1913. The course has been modified at various times since, and the current course has six par 5s and six par 3s, a somewhat unusual layout.

The Cascades Course is the most famous of the two, and is usually ranked among the top 100 U.S. courses by both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. The Cascades is the course used when hosting national tournaments, including seven United States Golf Association championships. It was designed by William S. Flynn (who was also a main architect for Shinnecock Hills), and opened in 1923.

There was formerly a third course, the Lower Cascades, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1963. It hosted qualifying rounds for the U.S. Amateur tournament. It was closed following the 2012 season.

Famed PGA Tour champion Sam Snead lived in or near Hot Springs all of his life, and served for decades as the Homestead's golf pro.

Tournaments[edit]

The Spa at The Omni Homestead[edit]

The Spa at The Omni Homestead Resort stretches 60,000-square-feet with striking décor throughout. Guests enjoy a wide array of opportunities to explore the rewards of living a long, healthier and more vibrant life, with a rich sampling of services.

The Aqua Thermal Suite is a European-inspired oasis that aligns harmoniously with The Omni Homestead's historic healing tradition of "taking the waters" which has drawn travelers since the mid 1700s, including Thomas Jefferson. The aqua thermal experiences feature spa cabins that expose the body to a contrast of hot and cold temperatures enhanced by light, sound and smell.

The Spa offers 28 treatment rooms, one of which is the Spa Ritual Suite with a pipeless couple's tub and relaxation area. The Spa also offers an exclusive, adults-only Serenity Garden with unique features such as the historic hot springs, private poolside cabanas and a naturally pressurized geothermal deluge shower. An expansive fitness area includes resistance equipment, cardiovascular machines and three movement studios for, yoga, cycling and other classes.

The Spa also offers family spa services, with special treatments and activities for children ages five to 13. Spa services and activities for guests aged 14 – 17 are geared to fitness level and interests.

Dining[edit]

The Omni Homestead Resort offers a range of fine and informal dining options. Dining outlets include the formal Dining Room, renowned for traditional dinner and dancing each evening (jacket required) and sumptuous breakfast buffet while Jefferson's Restaurant & Bar, opened in 2013, serves regional farm to plate dishes. Seasonal dining choices at The Omni Homestead Resort include Rubino's at the Cascades, Casino Restaurant, Allegheny Springs Grill and Mountain Lodge. The Lobby Bar is located in the Great Hall featuring a great selection of signature and classic cocktails, wines by the glass and regional craft beers.

The popular family game area, DownTime, opened in the former Player's Pub in 2013, with mini bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball, and arcade games.

Recreation[edit]

The resort's Allegheny Mountain setting is rich in recreational possibilities, with activities for all seasons, interests and ages:

  • Two championship golf courses including the Cascades Course, one of the finest mountain courses in the country, designed by William Flynn; and the Old Course, a Donald Ross design boasting the nation's oldest first tee in continuous use.
  • Two-acre Allegheny Springs water attraction with two 100-foot water slides and 400-foot lazy river, water play zone, year-round family pool and whirlpool.
  • New Ridge Runner Zip Tour & Red Tail Racer zip line course
  • 18-hole Mini Cascades miniature golf course, inspired by the legendary Cascades Course.
  • Five-stand, skeet, trap and sporting clays at the renowned Shooting Club
  • Horseback riding through the resort's expansive Equestrian Center
  • Archery
  • Skiing, snowboarding and tubing with instruction available
  • Four clay tennis courts
  • Orvis-endorsed fly fishing
  • Segway tours
  • Mountain biking
  • Cascades Gorge Hike
  • Ice Skating
  • Homestead History Tours
  • Paintball
  • Falconry
  • Carriage rides
  • 270-seat historic theater with nightly movies
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Hayrides
  • Lawn Games - volleyball, badminton, croquet, etc.

Ski resort[edit]

The ski area at The Homestead was opened in 1959;[11] it is the oldest ski resort in Virginia, and the second-oldest continuously operating alpine ski resort in the Southern United States (after Wisp Resort).

The resort's main and only northwest-facing slope is serviced by three lifts, including a double chairlift which accesses the intermediate and advanced terrain at the top of the hill, and two surface lifts which serve the beginner terrain at the bottom and at the tubing hill. The chairlift has a mid-mountain drop-off station which accesses intermediate terrain. The resort offers a variety of other winter activities including snow tubing.

Statistics:[edit]

Elevation[edit]

  • Summit Elevation: 3,200 ft (980 m)
  • Base Elevation: 2,500 ft (760 m)
  • Vertical Rise: 700 feet (210 m)

Terrain[edit]

  • Skiable area: 40 acres (0.16 km2)
  • Runs: 10 total
    • 35% beginner
    • 55% intermediate
    • 10% advanced
  • Longest run: 4,200 feet (1,300 m)
  • Annual snowfall: 50 inches (1.3 m)

Resort capacity[edit]

  • Lift system: 3 lifts total
  • Uphill lift capacity: 1,143 skiers/hour
  • Snowmaking: 100% of trails

Ice skating rink[edit]

The resort originally featured an Olympic sized skating rink that closed when the Zamboni became unusable. In 2008, the Homestead built a new 30 X 20 foot ice skating rink in time for the 2008-2009 winter season. In 2013, the ice rink was relocated to Allegheny Springs, adjacent to the outdoor pool.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Homestead, The". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Hotels in Hot Springs, Virginia | The Omni Homestead Resort | Historic Hotels of America". Historichotels.org. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  5. ^ D.K. Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit, pp. 547-548, 558
  6. ^ "The Homestead: A Great Hotel Entertains Jap Diplomats as a Patriotic Duty," Life Magazine, 1942-02-16, at p. 68.
  7. ^ "World War II Detention of Diplomats & Families". Montreat History Spotlight. Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat. 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Stewart, William H. (2012). "Diplomats, Disputes & Deceit World War II's First Exchange of Enemy Diplomats". Saipan Stewart. NCC Consulting. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  9. ^ facebook (2013-06-12). "The Homestead acquired by Texas-based Omni Hotels - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Business & Economic News". Timesdispatch.com. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 
  10. ^ [1] Archived December 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Phillips, John (2001). Ski and Snowboard America - Mid-Atlantic: The Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Tubing, and More Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-7627-0845-1. 

External links[edit]