Colonial Williamsburg is one of the most interesting family-friendly places we've ever been. Williamsburg Lodge is a great mid-range accommodation option when visiting Colonial Williamsburg, due both to the facilities offered and the incredibly convenient location.
Our brood had a very positive experience there -- I took my three young girls ages 4-9 (while my wife was having a girls weekend in MEXICO, thank you – let’s hear it for Dad!). I wouldn’t hesitate to return to The Lodge on an adult-only visit as well. There was a good mix of young families and older couples and everything in between.
We visited during Presidents Day Weekend, this past February. The off-season is a great time to visit Colonial Williamsburg by the way, with far fewer crowds but still a plethora of activities for all ages.
And if your children misbehave, you can give them a Colonial Time Out in the stocks!
Location: The Lodge property borders the center of the 300+ acre Colonial Williamsburg, so it’s a quick walk to all the fun, no matter which part of the Lodge you stay in (there are several separate buildings at The Lodge which contain guestrooms). The free bus that regularly transports visitors around the perimeter of Colonial Williamsburg actually stops right in front of the lobby. The location is incredibly convenient for exploring Williamsburg.
Hotel Experience: I liked that immediately upon arrival, while I was occupied checking in, my children automatically gravitated to a kids table set up in the lobby where they colored and doodled as I got oriented.
The hotel also provided the children cute keepsakes with a Colonial theme, and three large plastic mugs which qualify for free refills for all year at all the local beverage shops (refills of kid-friendly beverages only, of course). The children really considered these prized possessions and excitedly hauled them around (ok, I did) to various soda fountains throughout our visit.
The staff is friendly, the décor is colonial/traditional, and the feel is relaxed. The concierge was also very helpful navigating the myriad of activities constantly underway in Williamsburg, and was able to advise as to which activities were child-friendly and which are better just for adults.
Also, though some activities require reservations, most admission is included with your “length-of-stay” general admission tickets, though some activities did require an additional fee. The range of ticket options can be a little daunting, so it’s worthwhile to research this prior to arrival online at http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/.
We booked a great carriage ride through The Lodge’s concierge, and it was a highlight of the trip.
Eating/Drinking at the hotel: We liked both the Lodge Lounge for the casual fare, drinks, and the large cozy wood burning fireplace.
We also liked the Lodge Restaurant where we had a very tasty dinner on Saturday night, as well as a great breakfast buffet one morning. The restaurant has a good kids menu, great adult entrée selection and nice wine list including a few locally grown options.
Some Colonial Hints:
1) The Lounge fireplace can be very popular and you may have to visit during off hours to commandeer a fireside sofa.
2) For a relaxing breakfast by the fire you may request the breakfast buffet from the Restaurant “to go” and bring it to the Lounge (when the Lounge is technically closed).
3) Inquire ahead of time about special events that may draw crowds at either the Lounge or Restaurant – although an on-site concert didn’t significantly impact our 7 p.m. dinner reservation, if the reservation had been 30 minutes earlier, it definitely would have. Service at The Lounge can be slow especially at peak hours, so plan accordingly.
Amenities: A great benefit of the Lodge and a huge highlight for my girls is that guests have included access to the well-appointed indoor/outdoor pools (complete with family changing areas), and a state-of-the-art expansive fitness center just across the street from the hotel.
This complex is part of Williamsburg Inn, which is a fancier and correspondingly pricier accommodation option. It also houses the well-regarded spa to which Lodge guests also have access.
Accommodations: We stayed in a double double with pullout couch in Tazewell Hall, one of the connected but separate Lodge buildings. The room was comfortable but very dated could use a significant sprucing up.
Looking at Tripadvisor reviews it seems that Tazwell is the building that is NOT updated so I would suggest asking for a room in one of the other guesthouses (the Nicholas, Tyler, Abby, Custis, and South) since were all renovated in 2009. We will request to stay in one of these our next visit. No matter which you choose, they all offer various room categories, from Lodge Superior to Lodge Deluxe to Lodge King Deluxe and Lodge Suite.
Photo Courtesy of Avishek Choudhury Photography.
Overall we loved our trip to Williamsburg Lodge and will return, not least because of the great location right across the street from Colonial Williamsburg, which I can’t imagine ever getting tired of exploring. We'll go in the Summer when we can also hit Busch Gardens!
Nightly rates range from $165 to $245.
--Submitted by Almus Thorp, Poshbrood's baby daddy.