By Michael J. Solender
Posted: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014
Just minutes from where Thomas Jefferson first settled in Monticello, Va., more than 300 years ago, Keswick Hall is a grand English mansion nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The estate, parts of which were built more than a century ago, was converted to a boutique hotel in the 1990s, undergoing a loving renovation and restoration, complete with luxury upgrades and features. Conde Nast Traveler named Keswick Hall the top small resort in the U.S. in both 2010 and 2011. Its an ideal getaway for active couples who are looking for both history and sporting options to complement their romantic escape.
The 48 rooms and suites are appointed with fine linens and exquisite furnishings, with charming touches such as antique porcelain bathroom sets, claw-footed soaking tubs, and heated towel racks. Select rooms provide sweeping views of the hotels grand gardens and golf course, which legendary golf course architect Pete Dye renovated recently.
In addition to the beautiful golf course, guests here have access to the hotels Tennis and Aquatics Centre, which boasts three beautiful pools; theres also a fully equipped fitness center, nature trails, winery, and fun games like archery and croquet. Also be sure to visit the grand hotels library, sitting rooms, and parlors, which are perfect for cozying up with your sweetheart.
Keswicks spa is also sure to help set a nice romantic mood for your getaway. Indulge in rejuvenating facials, massagesincluding raindrop therapy and hot stone massagealong with the spas newest treatment option, the Keswick Reserve, which is a vineyard-inspired treatment complete with a vinotherapy regimen. Pinot Noir Facial, Red Wine Body Mask and Shiraz Body Smoother are all part of the package that infuses your entire body with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients.
Dining options include Villa Crawford, perfect for lunch or afternoon tea, while Fossetts is an award-wining, fine-dining restaurantspecialties include speckled trout and butternut squash linguiniwith floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of the mountainous estate.
Keswick Hall can also help you plan and organize off-site activities, such as hot air balloon rides, carriage rides, horseback riding, fishing, clay shooting, shopping excursions to the popular Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, or even a tour of Monticello, Thomas Jeffersons Estate.
701 Club Drive, Keswick, Va.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Only about a six-hour drive from Lake Norman, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Florida recently underwent an $85 million renovation. Situated on 1,350 acres of natural lowlands teeming with wildlife, its a wonderful destination for active couples.
The resort radiates a low-key luxury. All 404 guest rooms have private balconies with ocean views. The resort also boasts the largest pool deck in northeast Florida, including tiered lounge seating, an adults-only infinity edge pool, and a roaring fire. Its the ideal place to kick back with your sweetheart while the friendly staff serves you snacks and cocktails.
Sun-seeking couples can soak in some rays along the resorts 3 1/2-miles of wide, un-crowded beach. There are plenty of secluded cabanas and hide-a-ways where couples can enjoy some intimate privacy and relax to the soothing sounds of ocean waves.
While it may tempting to simply relax by the beach or pool during your stay, youd miss out on all the resorts fun activities, including some of he most scenic and challenging golf courses in the country. The resort also has an expansive tennis complex, with 23 courts, along with lessons and clinics. Or, explore the resorts seven miles of lush canopied trails with a Segway or bicycle rental, or paddle a kayak through the areas salty marshes and outlying nature reserve.
After a day of play, head to the spa, which has a full menu of treatments, including Himalayan salt, Swedish, and hot stone massages, along with facials, herbal wraps, steam showers, manicures, pedicures, hair and beauty treatments, along with a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Dining options run from romantic breakfast in bed through the resorts 24-hour room service or one of nine onsite restaurants that span from casual to fine dining, including Verandah, which specializes in fresh and innovative seafood dishes.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
39 Beach Lagoon, Amelia Island, FL
The Hermitage Hotel
Located in fun and funky Nashville, the Hermitage Hotel is a great home base for exploring Tennessees capital, noted for its superb barbecue, bountiful whiskey distilleries, and diverse assortment of entertainment and cultural attractions.
The Hermitage Hotel opened in 1910, and is a cherished part of the citys history. It's also the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee, and is consistently listed on Travel + Leisure World's Best list as well as Travel + Leisure's Top 500 list.
The Hermitage offers 123 recently renovated, plush rooms. With down-filled duvets and silky 1,000-thread-count sheets, the hotel offers couples special romantic packages that include truffles and champagne, breakfast in bed, and fine dining with Executive Chef Tyler Browns award winning farm-to-table cuisine at the Capitol Grille restaurant. Want to bring your four-legged friend along? The Hermitage is also pet friendly. The spa has a wide variety of decadent treatments, including an extensive selection of therapeutic bath salts and foaming bath oils.
The Hermitage is conveniently located near many of the citys vibrant entertainment districts, which run the gamut from honky-tonk bars to Music Row, which is packed with rock, country, and gospel clubs. And of course theres the venerable Grand Ole Opry, which has hosted many of country musics biggest starts.
Other entertainment options include the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, home to the Nashville Opera, Nashville Ballet, and Nashville Symphony. Finally, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is perfect for an afternoon outing and picnic. Stroll through the gardens (which span 55 acres) and get lost in the 30,000-square-foot art museum.
The Hermitage Hotel
231 Sixth Avenue North, Nashville, TN
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less