by Candyce H. Stapen
The Williamsburg, situated in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, is a good alternative for families seeking accommodations within the Historic Area, who don’t want the formality or the fees of the Williamsburg Inn. The Lodge, originally built in 1937-1938 to provide affordable accommodations, completed renovations in 2006.
Enlarged over the years, the Lodge offers 323 rooms in eight buildings, each with an elevator. With a conference center located nearby, the property attracts groups. Most of the time, families won’t feel overwhelmed unless, of course, they are attempting to check-in or out when a large contingent arrives. Governors, movie stars, members of NATO and even Lassie have stayed at the Lodge. Lassie must have appreciated the green lawns that surround the Lodge buildings.
The large brick courtyard provides ample space for you to temporarily park while checking-in. Decorated with folk art and 18th century reproductions, the large lobby has several areas for seating and a piano in one corner. Needlepoint pillows decorate couches, jugs form the base for lamps, ceramic owls and geese as well as a model of an old carriage adorn console tables.
Our Editor Loves
- Informal, friendly hotel
- Located within the Historic Area
- Less expensive than Williamsburg Inn
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
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The good sized, comfortable rooms have a colonial decor of pencil post beds and folk art reproductions. Our room in the Nicholas building featured a black rooster with red tail feathers atop the armoire that hid the television. Milk jug lamps adorned end tables and colorful reproductions of folk art prints of birds and scenes of Colonial Williamsburg hung on the walls. To further the "homey" feel, rooms may have rocking chairs and a popular paperback for bedtime reading. Ours had Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grown-Ups.
The desk offers a good workspace, Wi-Fi is complimentary, the mini-refrigerator is unstocked and there is a coffee maker. Rooms are cleaned once a day; there is no turn down service.
In general, the rooms in the south wing are smaller than those in the north and east wings. Most rooms in popular Tazewell Hall, built in the 1970s, come with balconies or patios that open to a courtyard. Some of the Tazewell Hall rooms have pull-out couches and a slightly more modern decor.
My husband and I love the Kessler Autograph Hotels because they make us feel like we’ve found a special place and we’re treating ourselves. Casa Monica in Florida, Glenn in Atlanta, Grand Bohemian in Asheville or the Forsyth in Savannah. These are really great examples of what a Kessler Autograph Hotel should be. The Williamsburg Lodge is nothing like these. It feels more like a campus than a hotel. Our room smelled musty and the window didn’t open so we couldn’t air it out. There was hair on the floor in the bathroom and dust on the furniture which makes me wonder how thoroughly it was cleaned. Just not up to their usual standards. I gave it two stars because the staff were wonderful - though not in the restaurant - that’s a totally different story. Unfortunately the staff couldn’t make up for the rest. Overall we were very disappointed and thankful we only booked the one night.
I’ve stayed at Williamsburg Lodge about twice a year for the past 12 years on family visits. The location is very good for Colonial Williamsburg. The renovated rooms are comfortable; the decor is interchangeable with generic hotel rooms, without the nod to the location they used to have. The hot water was out for a day, starting in the morning which was unfortunate. (Thinking back, there was another visit with a hot water problem, but it didn’t last a day.) I didn’t get an apology from the hotel for the inconvenience, or ideas of other places to shower. In fairness, I did get an unsolicited $100 room credit.
With regard to food, the brunch at Traditions is convenient, average and not memorable.
All things considered, for the price and lack of extras, I am in no hurry to go back.
As a Lodge guest, you and your family can use the outdoor pool located about one block away near the spa and the Williamsburg Inn, as well as the indoor pool at Inn the during select times. Generally, kids are allowed at the indoor pool in the afternoons.
As a guest of a Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection hotel, your family receives preferred reservations for tennis courts, golf tee times and carriage rides. Depending on the season, Colonial Williamsburg offers lodging packages that may come with breakfast as well as reduced or even free admission to the Historic Area.
Location, location, location. Staying at the Lodge puts you just a few blocks from Duke of Gloucester Street, site of Revolutionary City, as well as within walking distance of the Historic Area attractions. This is convenient. You can tour in the morning, cool off at the pool in the hot afternoons then stroll over to a colonial tavern for dinner and afterward, take in a ghost tour or other evening diversion.
The Lodge offers breakfast, lunch and dinner at its on-site restaurant. The fare is more convenient than memorable. A nice touch: room service is available. As a guest of a Colonial Williamsburg Resort Collection hotel, you receive preferred reservations for dining at the popular colonial taverns. Even if the food is forgettable at these places, the experience is fun, especially when "people of the past" drop by to play music or chat.