My wife and I just returned from the Resort and Spa for the long July 4th weekend. In general, we were very satisfied with our stay, consider the experience a very good value for the money, and would recommend a visit. Parts of this hotel date from the early 19th century, but the property was completely gutted and restored in 2007. If you like historic properties with modern amenities and great outdoor spaces, this is a great choice. Kids will have a great time, too.
1. Our room was in the old, historic Swiss building, dating from the 19th century. The room was reasonably spacious with good closet space. We requested a "quiet" room and it was indeed quiet. The front-facing porch was great for reading a book or taking in the beautiful view. The bathroom was great - thoroughly modern, waterworks hardware and the water pressure in the shower perfect. Three (sort of minuses): the bed was only okay. I have slept much more comfortably at other comparable properties. By the third night, I was ready for my home bed. Two, (and this is admittedly picky), but a few more towels in the bathroom wouldn't hurt. Two large bath towels go quickly. Lastly, and I totally get its an old, historic property, but the room had some musty, dampness issues. To give you an idea, I hung my swimming trunks in the bath after a pool visit and the next day they were still pretty damp. The musty/dampness honestly didn't detract from the stay, but I could see where some people with sensitive sinus issues might have problems. They have a modern wing above the Spa and some with sinus issues may want to consider staying over there.
2. The common areas have been beautifully restored and are every good as reviews have indicated. Really can't do them justice until you see them. It was beautiful weather this weekend and many folks were able to be outside and take advantage of the grounds. One of the things we kept remarking on was how spacious the resort felt. There were two weddings on the property this weekend, but we never felt cramped or waited for a table or anything. It was very nice and chill.
3. The Spa. My wife and I agreed that the Spa was one of the very best we had ever visited. The Spa amenities - steam room, jacuzzi, etc were on the smaller side, but it was perfectly fine. The best part was the quality of the massages. It was easily one of the top 3 massages I have ever had. The relaxation room was very comfortable and quiet as well. High marks for the Spa for sure!
4. We ate at all three restaurants for dinner (1796, Crystal Room, and Frontier Tavern). Depending on your mood and budget, all three are great choices. I would definitely pick 1796 over the Crystal Room just more for the ambience and vibe. Highly recommend making reservations for 1796 - it was difficult to get into. The service at 1796 was excellent. 1796 - we had caesar salad and two steaks, excellent. The mashed potatoes and the creamed spinach were very good as well. The carrots were only okay and the dessert i had of apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream was good enough, but not memorable. The wine list was extensive, with about 1/2 dozen offerings by the glass. They also offer half-bottles, which is greatly appreciated as well. Lastly, the breakfast buffet in the Crystal Room is a good value at $22 per person. The fruit was excellent and the omelette station lady was very accommodating.
5. Pool. It was July 4th weekend and the pool was a mob scene, full of kids, and there was really no place to sit. Not a high point for sure.
6. Hiking trails/gardens. The grounds are beautifully maintained. We chose two hiking trails while we were there. Not entirely sure the 1.5 mile blue trail marked as "easy' is in fact easy. Very steep uphill climb of about 1/5 of a mile.
7. July 4th fireworks. The town of Bedford had fireworks on July 4th, so the Omni had them on July 5th. They were the most easy, convenient, and extraordinarily good fireworks we have ever seen. Note to management: PLEASE KEEP THE FIREWORKS for next year. They were superb and you all made it so easy.
Why didn't my review of this property warrant five stars? Five stars is a very high bar to hit and there were a few misses, primarily on the finer points of service. For reasons that were never explained to our satisfaction, we waited 20 minutes in vain for dessert one night at the Crystal Room - a slice of chocolate cake -it still hadn't arrived and we finally canceled the order out of frustration and got our check. One morning, i noticed a few dirty cocktail glasses from the night before that stayed on a table in our hallway elevator bank for several hours at least. We kept coming and going to the elevator, but those glasses remained. Small thing, but shows on some level somewhere a lack of attention to detail. These might well be minor quibbles, but these are the types of things that differentiate properties.
This review is for the Resort & Spa experience and does not include a review of Harrimans, the main restaurant on site at the Salamander.
My wife and I just returned from a two-day stay over Memorial Day at the Salamander and we both greatly enjoyed the experience. We booked a two-night stay in an Estate king room and both utilized the resort pool and the Spa. In short, the Salamander is a good value for the money. This is billed as a high-end resort and, in general, it meets many of the tests. From my perspective, the Resort's competition is a place like Keswick Hall in Charlottesville or some of the sophisticated hotels in Downtown Washington, such as the Mandarin Oriental. We also noticed lots of families with young children and, based on what we saw, it is probably a good choice for them as well.
We found our room, an Estate King, to be spacious, charming, and quite comfortable. We both agreed the bed was very comfortable and the linens were of very high quality. The bathroom was perfectly nice and the towels comfortable and plentiful. The turn-down service was very nice and they really organize things at that time in addition to the regular servicing of the room. One observation about the room came from my wife. The vanity for applying makeup was outside the bathroom. The lighting around the vanity is poor for applying makeup and doing your hair (again so I was told) and would easily be resolved by an overhead light or a couple sconces.
We also found the bellmen to be on top of their game. They were always around out front, ready to ask and/or answer questions, and very accommodating. We found the level of service with the bellman to be very high.
The front desk was also very eager to be helpful and accommodating. While on one occasion we had to ask about an equestrian event on-site and no one seemed certain what it was, I insisted I had read about it on their website and they finally found it and were helpful about the time and location. They may not always know the answer, but the front desk staff was very nice, eager, and friendly.
We both found the Spa to be a great experience. While certainly not in-expensive, the experience was generally well worth the money. The only Spa in the DC area that probably exceeds the Salamander Spa is the Mandarin Oriental (although it is certainly debatable whether the Mandarin is better). The Spa experience was very well organized and the way they schedule appointments left you feeling you might be one of two or three people in the whole place. The lobby with its fireplace, even at the end of May, felt very relaxing and cozy. The locker room facilities and the steam room were nice. I really enjoyed the special shower that allows a guest to sample a tropical storm and other features. It is computerized and quite an experience. The whirlpool was fine, but I didn't think it was warm enough. Just a personal preference thing, probably. The guy who did my massage was very good and listened and responded to my preferences. All in all, it was a great experience and much recommended.
The resort pool was a very good experience. The pool was nice and the pool attendants kindly moved an umbrella from a table to our loungers to shield us from the sun. The pool loungers and towels were comfortable and of nice quality. They have a bar and limited lunch menu by the pool. We had a chicken wrap which was quite tasty and a pasta salad, which was average but forgettable. I don't care for mayo and several other items were prepared ahead of time and included mayo. Oh well. It was warm and the pool was inviting. The bathrooms down at the pool house were nice and clean and spacious.
We also found the lobby area and the outside lawn to be very nice and inviting. We had drinks inside the lobby area and outside on two different nights. Very comfortable and accommodating. Service was a bit slow, but in fairness it was very busy and a holiday weekend. It certainly was not as if staff were standing around. People were enjoying themselves and ordering quite a bit of drinks. I wonder if they might need an additional service bar, but not entirely sure. The other thing that occurs to me is the place might be more than a little bit packed if it rains. It was sunny and nice and the inside/out were full. If it pours rain, I bet it could pretty crowded and messy quickly.
Lastly, the Salamander is within easy walking distance to village of Middleburg, which is great. We did not get in our car the entire time, but walked down to the village for breakfast both days and dinner one night. It's nice to have the option of staying at the resort or easily venturing out.
To recap, the Salamander, as a hotel and spa, is good value for the money and a perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of DC.
I've soured on this place and won't be returning anytime soon. My wife and i have eaten here at least half a dozen times in about an 18-month span and the service has declined markedly. The restaurant appears to want to cater more to tourists than be a neighborhood Italian trattoria. The food is adequate, but not good enough to compensate for the indifferent service. Save your hard-earned money for something better.This restaurant is great value for the money. The staff is very warm and friendly and the food is… En savoir plus
My wife and I ate at Willow last night and, in general, we found the experience satisfying and a good value for the money. While far from "cheap eats," Willow delivers on the promise.
My wife had the filet medallions and said it was one of the tenderest cuts of beef she had ever had...(we are from the Plains and we know beef). I had the lamb cassoulet, which was rich, hearty, and flavorful. Everything you'd expect and more.
The wine selection by the glass was well-varied and well priced and the mocktail list (more restaurants should have these) provided ample choices.
1) We arrived early and were directed to wait at the bar. Bar service was friendly and excellent.
2) First course salads. I had the caesar salad and my wife had the green salad. They were fresh and tasty. Note to the chef: these portion sizes are HUGE. I don't know if they are intended to be entree sized, but we both only ate about half our salads. Next time (and we will be back), we will order one salad and split it. The chef should consider less salad or the menu should delineate starter from entree salads better.
3) While waiting at the bar we order the mushroom flatbread (1/2 size). Was superb. Highly recommend it.
4) The bread basket was perfectly adequate; .
We did not have room for dessert.
One last thing. The building is in the ground floor of an office building with discounted garage parking. On a cold, icy February night, it was VERY nice to drive in to the garage and take a short elevator ride up to the restaurant. And they have a coat check, which more restaurants need as well.
This place is well-run, friendly, tasty, and delivers. What more could you want?
I would not recommend this restaurant for dining. My wife and a friend dined here recently on a weekend afternoon for lunch. While the restaurant is visually very appealing, the service and food failed to match the decor.
My real review would be 3.5 stars, but no possible here. I rounded up. My wife and I have eaten at Peacock Cafe several times and for what it is, it is a great choice. What is it, then? It's a great neighborhood place to get dinner, have some wine, and get warm and enthusiastic service. It is also likely to be a good choice for families with children.
Peacock Cafe is not destination dining. However, if you're shopping in Georgetown and want an early dinner or a good lunch spot on a whim, this is a great choice. Two things in particular standout: they recently introduced a small plates menu - essentially mezze-style dishes of parmesan pesto risotto, smoked salmon, salads, and some meat dishes. All for less than $10. each They also have a wine list that is good value for the money. At least 3-5 bottles of reds and whites under $40, which are a great value in my book.
The dining room is bustling, but you can still carry on a conversation. It is also family friendly, which is not true of many Georgetown restaurants. On a recent evening, there were several families with well-behaved children. I realized it is because they also burgers and sandwiches on the dinner menu, in addition to their speciality items AND it won't cost you an arm and a leg to take the whole family out. Cafe Peacock isnt "cheap eats," but on a restaurant row that includes Cafe Milano and Morton's Steakhouse, this is a comparative bargain.
In warmer weather, they also have a nice cafe in front outside, which is great for people watching.
My wife and I have eaten at Unum on several occasions. The level of service and consistency of superior food is what keeps bringing us back. It is a warm, cozy, and inviting place to have a bowl of pasta or a lamb chop and sip some nice Italian or French wine. You can tell the staff enjoys working there and the vibe permeates the restaurant. They make it easy to come back time and again.
My wife and I ate at Sushi Taro for the first time recently and decided to partake in the traditional Kaiseki 10-course tasting menu.
At $80 per person, it was pricey, but we had read a lot about Sushi Taro and had high expectations. First and foremost, the service at Sushi Taro was excellent. Our server was very warm, friendly, smiling, and took the time to explain all the different items coming out during the courses. The level of service helped greatly with a dining experience that was unique and at times, either difficult or enthralling.
Sushi Taro is advertised as authentic Japanese cuisine. I have never been to Japan, but the food that came out during the tasting meal had to be authentic. The only course that I recognized or even knew of beforehand was sushi and nigeri. The other items that came out were creations I had never seen before and included tofu, mushrooms, LOTS of smoked mackerel, chicken meatloaf, cow's tongue, snails, crunchy soba noodles, codfish balls, seaweed, and many other items. My wife and I agreed that many items were expertly prepared, but the reality is we just didnt care all that much for the taste of many of them. I ascribe it to a cultural difference. If I had one disappointment, it would be that I expected more variety on the fish and we got a LOT of smoked mackerel and not much else seafood-wise.
If you like Japanese food or are an adventurous eater, this is definitely your place. If you are uncertain about venturing beyond the Americanized staples of sushi and nigeri, you might have a difficult time. First timers or timid eaters should skip the Kaiseki tasting menu and order a la carte. The food is very good, as long as you're in control of what comes out. Deferring to the Japanese kitchen is a bit risky for this American.
My wife and I wandered in here on the later side of a Saturday night and sat at the bar. We had some wine and fried chicken sliders at the bar. The restaurant was warm and welcoming. The bartender was very friendly. My wife said the unisex men/ladies' bathroom could have used a good cleaning, but otherwise a good place for a drink and bite to eat.
My rating is based strictly on the service (or lack thereof). My wife and I went in at around 1030 p.m. on a Saturday night. The guy at the host stand could not have been more rude. He stood chatting with a friend (or someone -- he wasnt waiting for a table) for nearly 2 mins without even acknowledging us. We were standing right in front on them with no end in sight of their flirtation, chatter, etc.
Fed up with being ignored, I told him we were sorry to bother him and promptly left and went down the street to Annie's Steakhouse (which could not have been nicer!)
In this economy and a neighborhood where choices abound, that type of service is particularly unseemly.