The Homestead – Hot Springs, Virginia: Luxury in the Allegheny Mountains


As one of the country’s oldest luxury resorts, The Homestead has kept up with the times while still retaining its tradition of Southern hospitality. Established in 1766, with ties to George Washington, The Homestead is tucked away in the southwestern corner of Virginia. Encompassing a site of 3000 acres, the resort has 483 guest rooms, a delightful indoor pool and several renowned golf courses.

The Homestead offers luxurious Southern hospitality

On a visit to see my wife’s family relatively nearby, we had a delightful stay at The Homestead. We frolicked in the huge pool after testing our mettle on the archery range.  My daughters tapped into their experience at summer camp, landing a few bull’s eyes. The classic red brick architecture and broad front porch provided a more genteel aura than most modern resorts. Our room was spacious and comfortable, overlooking the long, tree-lined driveway leading to the front porch.

Our daughters enjoyed the spaciousness of the family suite

Since our visit, the resort has opened Allegheny Springs, a massive water complex which includes a children’s pool, winterized family pool, whirlpool, sandy beach, three 100-foot water slides, a 400-foot lazy river and private cabanas as well as a new miniature golf course.  Sure to appeal to kids of all ages, we will be planning a return visit.

Sam Snead's Tavern delights duffers and diners

Local golf hero Sam Snead is heralded at his eponymous Tavern. The venue is located a few steps away in the Village of Hot Springs and is reminiscent of a fine English inn.  We dined on local comfort food: chicken pot pies and sautéed Allegheny trout. The desserts were almost as good as my mother-in-law’s fare: cinnamon doughnut bread pudding and apple cobblers. The walls are festooned with mementos of Snead’s prowess on the links, reminding me that upon my return The Homestead I must bring my golf clubs.

Bring your clubs and keep your head down

The first downhill ski facility in the South

The slow pace of the canoe befits the Southern ambiance

Mom is looking for a part in the next Hunger Games film

The winter season offers skiing at the South’s first downhill ski area, and in warmer months equestrian and river activities abound.

Another reason to schedule a visit is the imminent opening of Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Homestead. In a west meets east blend, the Tucson-based Canyon Ranch has worked with The Homestead to “combine the finest attributes of the birthplace of southern hospitality and the pioneer of the wellness lifestyle.” The local mineral waters, which attracted Thomas Jefferson and countless visitors since, will be put to traditional European therapeutic use. A particular feature will be Aquavana®, an exclusive European-inspired aqua thermal oasis with experiential rains, herbal laconium, a chill room and crystal steam room focused on the ancient concept of “healing by water” as practiced for centuries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

My brother will be pleased with the inclusion of a Finnish-style coed sauna. In the decades since he moved to Minneapolis, he has been steadily expounding the benefits of sauna. His pronouncements echo those of Canyon Ranch, as both tout the opportunities to explore the rewards of living a healthier, longer, more vibrant life. The robust offerings at Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Homestead include Amber Blueberry Manicure and Pedicure (the sound of which my daughters love), Target Heart-Rate Determination and Nutrition for Wellness. There will also be healing and restorative massages, skin care and body therapies, three fitness studios, a movement therapy and Pilates room and a cycling studio.

Thomas Jefferson would have raised his eyebrows appreciatively at these offerings.       540.839.1766    800.838.1766

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.