I knew we had chosen our accommodations wisely when we drove through the gates and up the gravel-paved road to Keswick Hall and Golf Club. The crunch beneath our wheels and windshield view of the handsomely designed Italian villa transcended us to another world and time.
After several hours of driving from Richmond through Virginia’s bucolic countryside, we landed in Keswick just outside of Charlottesville for a two-night stay.
Just as to be expected from the gentlemanly estate, a bellman quickly greeted our car with an umbrella to deflect any potential drizzle from hitting our heads. We immediately felt at home as we stepped into the entry way that invited us to settle in rather than speed to a counter to line up for check-in.
The cushy sofas and fireplace drew our attention instead of the cozy desks situated in its corners to receive guests. The low-key and hassle-free check-in made us feel as if we were visiting friends.
While the resort has a freshly refurbished and newly constructed feel, its core dates back to 1912 when it began as a private residence. The home changed hands several times before it became a country club in 1948, with the villa serving as a clubhouse. After falling into desrepair, Sir Bernard Ashley, the widower of designer Laura Ashley, came to the rescue in the 1990s to restore it to even better days as a resort.
Courtyard below our room at Keswick Hall
Ample light fills a side-entry hallway of the resort.
Attention to detail is paid to every nook and cranny.
Many additions and enhancements have graced the grounds of Keswick Hall since that time. Most notable for golf enthusiasts is the Arnold Palmer redesigned course and clubhouse, as well as the recently installed a new course, Full Cry, designed by Pete Dye.
As we ate our breakfasts each foggy morning overlooking the course, I began questioning why I hadn’t taken up the sport when beautiful courses like this one beckon. I was beginning to plot visits back home to our local driving range.
Southern charm with a modern twist envelops you at Keswick Hall. With 48 rooms, the resort is big enough to offer varied amenities while small enough to feel like a private oasis of calm.
Rooms are cozy, plenty spacious and well-appointed.
While we didn't spend much time here, the balcony was a nice option.
Throughout the resort, there are lots of colorful and interesting knickknacks like this wall decoration on our balcony.
Keswick Hall has good taste in bathroom amenities. I love Molton Brown and its gingerlily scent is a new favorite.
My favorite things about Keswick Hall
- Pool time (both green-clothed and infinity-edged) – It was too chilly to take advantage of the gorgeous infinity-edge pool overlooking the golf course, but the billiards table was the next best thing.
- Ample dining options – Fossett’s offers fine dining with a scenic view, but there are other options such as the Villa Crawford Bar and Club Grill to tempt you to stay put at the resort.
- Beautiful grounds – It’s hard to beat a visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Rain may be your tradeoff, but it’s worth it for some added color.
- Nice fitness center – Thanks to the resort also serving as a golf club, the fitness center has a good variety of equipment and offers instructor-led classes. Leave it to road-tripping to bring out your workout cravings.
- Breakfasts with a view – There are few better ways to start your day than with a hearty breakfast and a spectacular view.
- Plenty to do in the area – You’ll be tempted to hang around Keswick Hall, but you’d be missing out on a lot. The city of Charlottesville, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland are just a few attractions within 20 minutes of the resort.
Pool, anyone? Just one of the activities available at Keswick Hall.
Keswick Hall's infinity-edge pool overlooks the golf course.
Cherry blossoms line the grounds of the resort.
Don't miss the crab cake at Fossett's. Say goodbye to distracting breading. It's almost all crab and delicious.
Road-trip planning inspired by a Virginian Manhattan at the Villa Crawford Bar. Cheers.
What we missed
- Charlottesville – There are advantages to staying on the outskirts of Charlottesville, except when you want to see the town. We were able to check it out during the day, but Keswick Hall is just far enough that you tend to avoid venturing into town for dinner.
Keswick Hall is a destination in itself.
If you’re into golf, you’ll want to spend some quality time here. Even if you’re golf-challenged or uninterested, Keswick Hall’s tranquil setting is all you’ll need to tap into your inner calm.