by Paula C. Squires
Come July 1, guests at The Homestead will be able to enjoy high tea in the Great Hall or a plunge down a 100-foot water slide. The historic, luxury resort in Bath County announced a $25 million “transformation” Thursday that promises to have many new amenities in place by September, including a new water attraction area scheduled to be ready by the Fourth of July.
Mountain Rush will offer three, 100-foot water slides and a 400-foot lazy river, along with a family pool and whirlpool. The other projects include a new spa and wellness center, new restaurants and bars and a miniature golf course.
The idea behind the projects, said The Homestead’s General Manager Peter L. Faraone, is to offer families more multi-generational activities. Asked if the enhancements will change the image of the elegant, four-diamond, historic landmark known for its championship golf courses and natural-fed springs Faraone said, “Not at all.“
He added, “The image of the Homestead will remain exactly the same …Someone who walks through this hotel six months from now will feel the same feeling. We’re keeping the Great Hall, the high tea and the main formal dining hall with its dance band. None of that will change. What we’re doing are enhancements to ensure our success as we move forward and to give customers what they have been asking for.”
According to Faraone, the projects are the result of feedback obtained through customer-service surveys. “We do a survey on their experience and what they would like to see different and new.”
About 40 miles away, The Greenbrier, another mountain resort, recently added casino gambling. Faraone said the timing of The Homestead’s new amenities “has nothing to do with The Greenbrier. We are a totally different resort from them.”
This is the second round of renovations that Denver-based KSL Capital Partners has made to the resort since buying it in 2007. In 2010, it spent $4 million refurbishing the hotel’s 483 guest rooms, meeting rooms and retail space.
Faraone said the projects will create new jobs, but said he didn’t have a firm figure yet on how many. “We’ll be creating many new jobs in the summer months, particularly with the new water feature.”
The spa and wellness center will offer a new fitness center and 29 renovated treatment rooms. Some of its services will utilize the resort’s indigenous hot springs, which initially drew visitors to The Homestead when it opened in 1766. Other improvements to the spa area include a geothermal mineral bath and poolside cabanas.
The architect for the project is David Rau with 3North, based out of Richmond.
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