Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An English Manor in Virginia Hunt Country

Just as man cannot live by bread alone, yours truly cannot live by Holiday Inns alone so a stopover at Keswick Hall outside Charlottesville, Virginia was a welcome interlude during the nine-day road trip we took to tour colleges last month.

Nestled in the rolling landscape, the original Italianate-style villa on the property was built as a private home in the early 1900's. In the 1990's the building was expanded into the 48-room hotel it is today - the exterior remaining true to the existing architecture...

...but the interior is pure English country. Though the property has changed hands twice since its conversion, the interiors remain influenced by the original developer - Lord Bernard Ashley, widower of designer Laura Ashley. Our room could not have been more comfortable or elegantly appointed.

The serene, home-like atmosphere continues outside one's room.

All of Keswick Hall's public spaces are furnished like rooms in a gracious private house and each one has a working fireplace. During our late-winter trip there was a fire burning in every one.

Antiques, oriental rugs, portraits, and personal details feature throughout.

The sitting room in the 'Villa Crawford', the original portion of the building.

The hotel's excellent restaurant, Fossett's, features seasonal, regionally-inspired menus.

I love these light fixtures.

From the hotel's entrance, symmetrical wings are reached by two lantern lined halls. One wing is the original 'Villa Crawford.'

In every direction are views of the 600 acres that encompass the hotel property. Numerous outdoor activities are available to guests including golf, archery, fly fishing and the opportunity to walk with the hounds of the nearby Keswick Hunt.

Other amenities include three swimming pools, a fitness center and spa.

Charlottesville has a lot to offer visitors. For architecture and history buffs the surrounding area is dotted with the homes of three American presidents - Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Madison's Montpelier and James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Design aficionados will enjoy exploring the numerous antique shops in and around town. And any one of the local vineyards is worth a visit.


  1. Great reminder to make this a weekend getaway, Phyllis, especially if and when the weather turns.

    1. Hi Alison, you must - it is a treat. Hoping for better weather here, too!
      All best,

  2. My husband and I are always looking for wonderful places to stay while exploring, Keswick Hall is a must! How beautiful and looks like you stay there any time of the year. thank you!

    1. Yes, it was lovely even in February - very cozy!

  3. Pure perfection!!!! Very old money but edited and fresh, Every room looks beautiful, warm and gracious! Thanks for sharing this tour, Phyllis - fabulous one! Cheers, L

  4. SOO lovely!!! I am dying over the reclaimed stone floors through out!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Phyllis,
    Had you shared the images only, without detail, I would have guessed that this was someone's lovely home. It truly is lovely. What a beautiful place to stay.

  6. Phyllis

    I know what schools you are looking at from your travels. We travelled many of the same routes many years ago. After all the travels my daughter ended up going in state. We did enjoy the time together however. This place looks wonderful!

  7. Loi put it perfectly ~ warm and gracious indeed. I so appreciate learning of quiet places to collect ourselves during travels. This would be a delightful stop this Spring as we make our way in that direction. Thanks so much for sharing. Safe travels and best of luck on your tour!
    Xo Lisa

  8. Love, love, love Keswick Hall visits! Housekeeping staff wears black and white attire….a bit of Downton Abbey here.

    Also, the views while playing golf are extraordinary. Worth a visit, for sure.


  9. Beautiful Phyllis! I love those fixtures, rugs, antiques ~ and the colors are gorgeous. It's fun to see these places evolve over time. The exterior is gorgeous! I'm ready for a getaway now:)


  10. Phyllis how lovely, a getaway at Kenwick Hall would be perfection!

    The Arts by Karena

  11. So glad you stayed at Keswick Hall, it truly is a lovely place! I have only been there for tea, but would love to go back for a long weekend sometime! Thanks for the tour and the reminder to head back there in the future!

    xo Kat

  12. How lovely. I would love to stay in a place as pretty as this one. That veranda is just calling for cocktail time.

  13. We were there last year en route to Richmond...its amazing and so elegantly that part of the country!! Charlottesville is one special place, looks like you had a ball Phyllis!

  14. Wow, very cool. Thank you for sharing this beautiful place!

  15. What a treasure and fabulous personal tour, thank you! My son lives in Charlottesville so I plan to go there often. I can't wait to go see Monticello and Montpelier, etc. and visit wineries! Did you happen to go to And George? It's Bethany's favorite store there and I have yet to go. What a beautiful manor and grounds of Keswick. Hope the college tour was successful!xo Nancy

  16. I never tire of this beautiful part of Virginia. Monticello and Montpilliar are a must each Fall, they are simply stunning.

  17. Absolutely lovely!!! I don't think I'd ever be able to go back to Holiday Inns after this stay!!! :)

  18. We live in Charlottesville and LOVE Keswick. My husband worked there when it was still owned by Bernard Ashley...and we even stayed in his home on Park Avenue...a Gentleman's Gentelman. I have gleaned so much inspiration fro the many people associate Laura Ashley with 80's florals and cottage prints but she really had an eye for high end English Countryside. If you are ever in the area near Christmas...the decorations are so beautiful, we always take the girls there for "High tea"...and have done girlfriend lunches and weekends happy to see it here on your blog!

  19. What a FAB and classy post :)I hope you had a great week so far.

    Check out my new post....Colorful bedroom inspiration :)

    I wish you a sunny weekend dear :)

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - inredning it's, Swedish for decor :)


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