Nestled in a narrow valley and surrounded by the lush Allegheny Mountains, meeting guests who arrive at The Omni Homestead Resort can take in scenic views from every vantage point. What’s more, though: Attendees can experience the storied resort’s spectacular landscape through more than 40 immersive amenities and experiences.
Guests have an opportunity to soak in mineral-rich hot springs inside a meticulously restored octagonal stone basin that was originally built in 1761, making it the first spa structure in America and establishing a centuries-old tradition of “taking the waters.”
Attendees can also play a round on the Old Course, favored by former President William Howard Taft, who frequently retreated to The Omni Homestead Resort with his family, often for several months at a time. Or they can lace up their hiking boots and join a naturalist on the Cascades Gorge hike that shows off a dozen waterfalls in addition to the flora and fauna native to southwest Virginia.
Amenities include two championship golf courses, a world-renowned spa, exceptional equestrian center, top-notch shooting club and the historic Warm Springs Pools.
“Most of all, The Omni Homestead offers a true escape,” said John Hess, Director of Sales and Marketing at the legendary 2,300-acre resort. “The noises and distractions of city life, such as airplanes and sirens, are left far behind, as evidenced by the fact that there are no traffic lights in the entire county. At night, attendees can bask in the star-filled skies, thanks to the very minimal light pollution.”
The Omni Homestead Resort, which has been welcoming travelers since 1766, is nearing completion of a $140 million renovation. It’s the most significant investment in the property in more than 100 years, and it aims to restore historic character to the Allegheny Mountain destination.
Here’s what’s in store at the storied property.
Bespoke Meeting Spaces
Savvy meeting planners know that their choice of destination is a reflection of their organization, and an elevated experience will produce a measurable return on their investment, said Hess.
The Omni Homestead Resort, which has hosted 23 presidents throughout its history, boasts 76,000 square feet of meeting space, with historic ballrooms and flexible boardrooms that preserve details like original wall sconces, refinished hardwood floors and elegant crystal chandeliers.
Grand, elegant ballrooms, private boardrooms and breakout rooms ensure that business and entertaining needs can be effortlessly accommodated for groups ranging in size from 10 to 1,000, Hess said.
As the resort has gone through its extensive renovation, three tenets have guided the project: Sophistication, lightness and tradition, said Hess.
“Planners will immediately feel this through the careful selection of fabrics, flooring and accent pieces throughout the resort,” he added.
The resort’s historic theater has been redesigned as a dinner theater setting perfect for TED talks, feedback sessions, performances and social gatherings.
The Lobby Bar, now the Presidential Lounge, has been expanded to include an intimate lounge area with a pool table and portraits of 23 presidents who have visited the resort.
Of particular note, the Old Course Pavilion is a new, 4,000 square-foot event venue ideal for celebratory receptions and dinners. The adjacent lawn, which can be tented, affords ample space for larger groups.
But there’s also special spaces throughout the resort that give way to organic networking.
The Great Hall, considered the heart of the resort, offers several sitting areas perfect for impromptu meetings, Hess says. Natural light and easy access to the outdoors is a key feature of most of the resort’s meeting venues. One-of-a-kind venues such as the Shooting Club Pavilion provide a refreshing outdoor environment with incredible views and spectacular sunsets.
“The resort’s relaxing and peaceful atmosphere naturally encourages networking with numerous areas designed for conversations and collaborations,” Hess said.
A Pioneer in Wellness Travel
Wellness travel is predicted to become a $1.3 trillion global industry by 2025. But The Omni Homestead Resort has been pioneering wellness travel, centuries before it was buzzy.
The crystal-clear mineral-rich springs that guests have access to have been a beacon of wellness for centuries, as generations have sought out the thermal waters for health benefits that range from stress reduction to boosting circulation and promoting healthy skin.
The Gentlemen’s Bathhouse at the Warm Springs Pools began as a stone basin in 1761, making it the first spa structure in America. The bathhouses reopened in December 2022 following a $4.6 million restoration that focused on preserving as much of the original materials as possible.
Another unique option for relaxation is the Serenity Garden at the Spa, an adults-only oasis with a pool, whirlpool, sauna as well as the Octagon Pool and River Reflexology Walk which are fed by the natural hot springs.
In addition to soaking in the hot springs, the Cascades Gorge hike is a favorite, with the series of waterfalls producing negative ions that are known for reducing stress and boosting the immune system, Hess says.
Meeting attendees can also avail themselves of numerous other wellness opportunities such as mountain biking, fly fishing and relaxing in the Spa’s Aqua Thermal Suite, a series of cabin-like experiences in a range of temperatures.
“Wellness is at the core of The Omni Homestead experience,” Hess said.