Finding some luxury in the middle of nowhere is always a pleasant surprise. That’s what the Omni Bedford Springs Resort provides.
The Omni, in Bedford, Pennsylvania, is one of the grand old Eastern resorts in the tradition of the Mohonk Mountain House in New York’s Hudson Valley, or the Greenbrier in West Virginia: big, old rambling structures way out in the country.
First and above all, the staff is unfailingly courteous. From check-in to departure, everybody was friendly and helpful, and very genuine.
Check-in went smoothly, except for the guest next to me, screaming into her phone despite my plea that she make her call at least a few feet from my one good ear. No doubt, she couldn’t hear me.
Afternoon tea was one strike against the Omni Bedford Springs. This event should include some light food, and an attendant to smile at guests and make sure they don’t put their grubby hands on everything.
The Bedford tea included no food, one ready-brewed house tea and four selections, all of them flavored. Every… EVERY… tea service should offer plain black tea. We could have used some after the long drive, but that could only be had in the room. No doubt we could have asked and somebody would have brought it, but black tea is essential.
The house-brewed tea tasted like shampoo. That’s one man’s opinion. My wife liked it.
Then, to the room. The hotel is linear, so some rooms are far from the lobby. That’s not a problem for us. The hallways are interesting and contain notes about their history along with Victorian-era photographs, the kind that often make their subjects appear ghostly.
The ballrooms and meeting rooms are also interesting. Six presidents have visited the Omni Bedford Springs, and George Washington stayed nearby in town.
The room was large and comfortable. Some have views of the land in front of the resort, and others have views of a steep hillside behind the hotel.
One minor thing that was more amusing that irritating: the clock hadn’t been re-set for Daylight Savings Time. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, either. Not a big deal, just a funny little off note in a place that strives to do everything right.
Another item I didn’t care for, the addition of a “resort fee” on top of the room rate. This is done at a lot of places, but the fee is mandatory so please, ADD IT TO THE ROOM RATE upfront! In our case, the resort fee was $39. As far as I can tell, this gave us use of the indoor pool and permission to walk outside.
There may have been more privileges associated with the fee, but I didn’t notice. The outdoor pool was closed, of course, and in summer there are no doubt more things to do.
The indoor pool was pleasant, not crowded at all. At times we had it to ourselves, but there is room for lots of people. Wandering to the pool in one’s suit, under the hotel-provided robe, is fine. The pool is warm, but not hot, and filled with the mineral water that inspired the resort’s creation centuries ago.
The Frontier bar was a good late afternoon stop, with great service and a good menu. Try the grapefruit jalapeno margarita. It’s powerful. Thank you, bartender Jean!
We had dinner in the Crystal Room, and it was excellent. It’s not cheap, but prices are in line with similar restaurants in similar hotels. The Crystal Room has vegetarian-friendly entrees, but a note on the menu would help make that clear.
The firepit was inviting on this cold March evening, except for the guest standing next to it, blowing his nose relentlessly and vigorously. He stirred the embers with as much vigor, but much less reason. It was time to move on.
There are miles of trails around the hotel, and the mineral springs that give the resort its name can be seen.
Bring boots. The resort is in a valley and some areas get wet. We didn’t play golf, but the course is maintained well and appears to be a mix of challenging and straightforward holes; some very long par-5s and a few difficult par-3s.
We are glad we went, and we may return. The Bedford Omni Springs Resort is about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, only five miles or so off Route 76. The town of Bedford maintains a retail/services downtown, but not much was going on when we left, so I can’t say much about it.
See hotel website