Keswick Hall in Keswick, VA
The award-winning Keswick Hall (www.keswick.com), sits right outside of historic
Charlottesville, VA, one of the nation’s most beautiful cities, where visitors can experience a slice of small town life with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. The Keswick is less than two hours from Washington, D.C., and one hour from Richmond, VA.
This Orient-Express Hotels property of 48 rooms and suites draws guests from far and wide, including high-profile celebs, such as Paul Newman, Julianne Moore and Mick Jagger. Many accommodations feature four-poster beds and Rooms 32, 33 and 45 have claw-foot tubs. Best to book are Balcony State Rooms, which have large seating areas and sizeable private balconies. For families, consider a suite with a connecting Signature Room or two connecting State Rooms. There are three one-bedroom master suites: the Rockingham, Wellington and Washington. The Rockingham is the largest accommodation in the house; the Wellington and Washington have connectors. Rooms with the best views (overlooking the golf course) include Nos. 1 through 4 on the ground floor (all have private patios) and 9 and 27 on the second floor (which have large terraces). For special requests, contact Director of Operations Matthias Smith ([email protected], 434-923-4347) or Front Office Manager Holly VandeWater ([email protected]wick.com, 434-923-4372). All rooms except the master suites can be booked over the GDS.
Keswick Hall’s “Love Butlers” cater to couples and supply romantic “twosomes kits,” replete with CDs of romantic tunes, some classic erotic novellas, robes and aromatherapy bath oils. “Baby Butlers” bring guests warm bottles, serve chef-made baby food, personalize cribs with blue, pink or yellow linens and fetch rocking chairs and strollers. For older children, both the golf and tennis pros offer kid-friendly programs and lessons. Amenities for young guests include rubber duckies, gentle body lotions and milk and cookies at bedtime.
For Easter, kids partake in the annual egg hunt and can attend chocolate egg-decorating classes with the pastry chef while parents munch on warm hot cross buns in the late afternoon in the Great Hall. There’s a wonderful outdoor barbecue on July Fourth weekend, and kids can enjoy hot-air balloon rides and games with prizes. Throughout December, count on holiday sing-alongs, chestnut roasting, gingerbread-house-making classes and toasting s’mores.
A Pampered Pooch service provides tasty welcome treats for pets, as well as bowls for food and water, chef-prepared gourmet meals, beds and dog-sitting services.
The spa at Keswick Hall has five treatment rooms and products from Dermalogica. The most requested treatment is a Swedish massage. It’s highly recommended that you book clients ahead. Contact Spa Director Colette Long ([email protected], 434-923-4363).
The hotel’s restaurant, Fossett’s, offers impressive menus, and its equally fine wine list has more than 600 selections. Because the restaurant is popular with both locals and guests, book reservations two to three weeks out. You can also request a private, customized seven-course Signature Dinner for two in the Library during cooler months—or next to the outdoor infinity pool during the warmer seasons. The Library or the Snooker Room is suggested for afternoon tea in front of the roaring fires.
Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport and Amtrak pick-ups can easily be arranged. Contact Front Office Manager Holly VandeWater.[PAGE-BREAK]
Hot-air ballooning over the mountains, with flasks of hot chocolate and warm croissants
Kayaking on the James River with a gourmet picnic lunch along the shore
A private tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
The Virginia Discovery Museum
Sporting Clays shooting with private instruction and a gourmet lunch to go