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Reviewed July 2, 2010

We stayed through a special package rate featured on Rue La La. The deal was fabulous: all activities included. Everything we participated in (golf, canoeing, Jefferson pool, etc.) were top notch, with top notch, attentive servcie. The room was clean, roomy and well appointed. The area is beautiful nesteled in the VA mountains. We did not eat at the resort: too pricey, so we ate at local establishments (check out Bath County websites). The local spots offered great food. Homestead is a wonderful place to "chill out" and relax or go, go, go participating in all their many activities. It was fun exploring all the little nook and cranies of this old yet well kept resort. It had the best indoor pool I have ever been in.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank aholmes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 29, 2010

I decided to plan a once in a lifetime trip for my wife and my one year anniversary. As we don't have alot of money I had several conversations with the reservation staff about the stay and if I could see my heart earned money spent wisely. I was told the stay would be marvelous and all anniversary related activities be special. First let me say the resort is gorgeous. The grounds well kept and building well maintained for an older structure. From the outside looking in, this is a wonderful place to spend time (and money). We decided to book the unlimited activities and I was modestly impressed with that staff. The staff were patient and passionate about their field. However, discussing the hotel is a different story. The hotel staff is uninformed, rude and unaccomodating. They are missing the personal touch that I come to expect at a fancy resort. Maybe I'm spooled from the service we register from the Jefferson for our honeymoon. Everytime I picked up the phone or visited the front desk, it was "right away sir,we will take care of it". Here it was different. When I approached the front desk about room service/ menus , the response was " you will have to go back to your room and dial zero" the response should have been" we will take care of it immediately". This is just one example of the lack of attention to detail we received during our stay. The lack of followthrough exists with the guarantee of special service for our anniversary. In conclusion the stay was alright. The hotel staff could use a refresher in good customer service. One such example that will leave a lasting impression with me was yesterdaywhen I witnessed a guest struggling to load out to his car while a bellhop watched insincerly as he unsuccessfully tried to prop his golf clubs on the pillar and having them tumble down the staircase. No assitance was offered by the bellhop. I think that summarizes the iniative of the staff.

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4  Thank Waltersbrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 27, 2010

My husband and I spent 3 days/2 nights for our 27th wedding anniversary at the Homestead. What a wonderful historic setting. The staff were very welcoming and warm and it seemed there was nothing that we asked that they would not accommodate. The outings staff were wonderful and our tour guides and instructors very helpful. We enjoyed meeting the maitre d' Woody, a Homestead institution. Our favorite meal was Saturday night in the 1766 Grill. We kayaked, learned to fly cast, went horseback riding, learned archery, bowled, and went on the Cascades Gorge Hike, We both so enjoyed the hike with Brian the naturalist - most fun 3 hours of the weekend! We'd gladly go back and suggest you go and enjoy too!

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank vaephmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 27, 2010

It was with real excitement that my family (wife and two children) went to the Homestead on a gift certificate given to us by a dear family friend. Having heard of the Homestead's reputation, we expected a wonderful and memorable experience. Our expectations were only partially met. This once grand queen is showing her age, and, like most royalty who find themselves down on their luck, she is surviving by living off her past reputation and by charging high taxes to the commoners who come to visit.

The worst thing was the room. Very small in size. An air conditioning unit that sounded like a Cessna preparing for take off. Wall paper peeling off the walls. Aging mattresses (not even Queen sized). A barely functioning refrigerator that you had to request once you arrived at the hotel. Lights which didn't work. Old pizza crusts on our outdoor balcony. I have probably stayed at 50 Courtyards by Marriott in the last ten years, and each one had rooms nicer and cleaner than the one at the Homestead - which charged over $200.00 a night for our small, cramped room. And then there are the hidden fees. I want to stay at a hotel that simply states - UPFRONT - what I'm playing per night without then tacking on a mysterious 15% "resort fee." I want room service and restaurant dining that honestly reports what the cost of a club sandwich is without tacking on fees for a server who may not deserve a tip. I don't want to pay add ones for services that I don't want (like a "free" Roanoke Times, which is a mediocre paper) or didn't use (like in-room internet service, which I didn't need because I was on vacation and deliberately didn't bring my lap top).

When you do try to reserve activities for your family, you will find yourself blocked out by the large conventions upon which the Homestead depends. Want to have dinner with your family in the main dining room? Want to go horseback riding with your family? You had better hope that the hordes that have descended upon the Homestead to attend the annual convention of the United Electrical Workers (whose package deal includes free activities) haven't gobbled up all the reservations. And if you get a reservation, be prepared for sticker shock. $300 for a canoe trip. $100 to have your child ride a horse for 55 minutes. $45 dollars to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. $175 dollars for a carriage ride.

Other reviews have mentioned the staff. The more permanent members of the staff tend to be professional, efficient and friendly (like Richard at the front desk and Kim the bartender at "The Casino"), but some of the younger staff members seem overly relaxed, incompetent, and inefficient. Are they summer help? When my wife asked one of the servers for a decaffeinated tea bag at the "high tea" served at 3:00 p.m. each day, he stared at her like she had two heads. Needless to say, she didn't get the tea.

To be fair, the natural beauty of the area - and the gracious public rooms of the hotel itself - live up to its advance billing. It's a beautiful building, and many of its interior spaces (like the indoor swimming pool) are stunning. And the grounds are lovingly maintained. My young son and I spent several hours watching the fish jump after bugs in the peaceful little fishing pond near the tennis courts - he had no interest in fishing, which is good since the "complimentary" fishing pools were simply bamboo sticks with a fishing line (and impossible to cast more than 12 inches from the shore line).

Other thoughts. We visited the "Arcade" - which featured a few old, poorly maintained video machines stuck in a seedy room in an old part of the hotel. We promptly lost five dollars in the change machine, which required us to trek all the way back to the main lobby and then get shuttled back and forth between the concierge desk and the main desk. We wanted to see the free kids' movies in the resort's historic theater, but we found the movies were moved to a small conference room because of the aforementioned electronic contractors and their meeting. When I did break down and sneak off to check my e-mail in the business center, two of the PC's were not working and the third was slow, slow, slow.

In short, I would give the Homestead a "C+" If you want to chair your guests high prices, then give them their money's worth. And don't require them to pay for mysterious "resort fees" and services they don't want. I've seen other postings where the Homestead Management has expressed their concerns about complaints and invited guests to give them another chance - we'd be happy to, but only if you are offering a free weekend!

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank Bellapeppers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 27, 2010

Celebrating an anniversary, we chose the Homestead over the Greenbrier because the unlimited activity package was available as buy 2 nights get 1 free. We stayed week nights as it was cheaper and less crowded. We stayed 4 nights, with unlimited activities and paid for 3.
We really didn't care about the view from the room because we didn't plan to spend much time there. I didn't pay for a room upgrade and the room was nice, although we had a view of a roof. I saw another family complain about their view (they asked for garden view) and they were moved to a different room.
The afternoon tea in the great hall is really kind of nice. The free morning coffee in the jefferson hall is very good.
We played golf, my wife did the spa, we did kayaking, archery, horse back riding and sporting clays. All of the folks who ran the activities were very good and very patient, except at the gun club. The young men who ran the archery and the kayaks (they also do the paint ball and dune buggies at the ski lodge) were very nice and very patient.
At the gun club, my wife said that she had never shot (or not in many years) and they asked her 3 times what kind of gun she wanted. We were provided with no gun safety training and it was clear the shooting instructor wanted to get through our appointment and move on. My wife gave up after the first station and we were not charged for her shells (you pay $11 per box of ammo). I watched a couple doing skeet in front of the gun club building and their instructor seemed very patient, so we must have had the wrong guy. The sporting clays course is a nice set up, I've done this before long ago and I shot well but had a hard time enjoying it based on the way we were treated.
We did not bring kids, but many people did. The outdoor pool is nice and the most reasonable place to eat ($8 for chicken fingers or a burger and fries), but the pool grill closes at 6.
There were plenty of shuttles. we self-parked the car and never moved it until check out.
We did not buy a meal plan, and if you don't plan to eat 4 courses, you may be better of doing as we did. While we brought appropriate attire, we didn't eat in the main dining room or 1766. I can't see paying $30 for the breakfast buffet, although I heard it was very good.
We ate at Sam Snead's Tavern across the street. The steaks there are excellent, although not big. The $18 steak sandwich is outstanding. Not a philly cheesteak, a steak sandwhich. Don't spend $5 on the mushrooms, though (you get 5 mushroom pieces).
1 block from Sam Sneads, by the bank on a side street is Lindsay's Roost. This may be the only other restaurant and the cheapest place to eat in the county. Just a little diner with $3 burgers and $1.50 hot dogs.
I played the lower cascades twice because it was included in the package (I shoot around 90). It was sufficently challenging, and you can't beat free (included in the package). The greens are ridiculous and I never figured them out. The clubhouse is old (the bathroom is not nice), but all of the Homestead golf gear that's not selling in the main hotel shop moves here and isdiscounted-50% off.
I did not play the old course, but if you want to stay close to the hotel this is right behind the outdoor pool- no shuttle needed. A guy I played with at the lower cascades said you can call late in the afternoon for 50% off twilight rates.
We had a great time and will go back.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank xsiron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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