Keswick Hall and Golf Club, the Forbes five-star, 600-acre resort set in Virginia’s Hunt Country, is now the country’s most gentlemanly place to play golf thanks to the recent addition of a Pete Dye-designed course dubbed Full Cry. The course takes its name from the most exciting part of foxhunting, when all the foxhounds in the pack howl and bark in unison in full pursuit of their quarry.
At any other property, the pervasive foxhunting theme might seem a bit of a stretch, but the historic hotel sits at the center of Virginia’s stately Hunt Country, where aristocratic families have presided over their stately mansions for decades. In fact, Keswick Hall started out as just such a mansion, having been built in 1912 for the Crawford family, and the century-old Keswick Hunt Club is its nearest neighbor.
Villa Crawford and Keswick Hall, which together make up the resort’s main building, are decorated in the style of an English country house. Fireplaces, ornate molding and paneling, oriental carpets, hunting prints and polished antique wooden furniture give it the feel of a private residence.
In its first year of operation Full Cry has already garnered some of the golfing industry’s most coveted accolades. It’s the centerpiece of the historic Keswick Club, a members-only establishment introduced in 1948 when renowned architect Fred Findlay added the property’s first nine holes of golf. The course expanded to 18 holes in the mid ‘50s, and was renovated in 1992 by Arnold Palmer. Pete Dye began its latest incarnation in 2013 and following its completion was immediately named on Golf Digest’s 2015 Best New Courses list.
Along with Full Cry, the resort’s 48 guestrooms and dining options were given an elegant makeover. “Achieving the Forbes five-star rating is a direct result of committed ownership, focused management, and tireless efforts from our team members to provide a genuinely caring and comforting sanctuary for our guests,” says Greg Sligh, President and Managing Director. “This award confirms Keswick Hall’s combination of superior service, modern amenities and gracious Southern hospitality is hitting the mark.”
Additional activities and amenities include tennis courts, three swimming pools, croquet, archery, nature trails, an on-site vineyard, garden/historic tours, spa treatments and fine dining. Those up early enough can take their morning exercise with the foxhounds at the adjacent Keswick Hunt Club. Off-site excursions include wine tastings at local vineyards, visits to nearby landmarks like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia, fly-fishing, horseback riding and clay target shooting. Nearby Charlottesville is full of great restaurants, shopping and entertainment options, and the resort is also just two hours by car from the Washington D.C. metro area.
Also new to the property is the Treble Wine Cellar, a private dining venue. Nestled amongst the hotel’s 5,000 bottle wine collection, it’s designed to be an intimate sanctuary for wine and food lovers alike. A locally-sourced, carved wooden table custom crafted for the space makes the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two or boisterous party of 12. Of course with so many vintages on hand, wine pairings are par for the course, and custom menus can be created to keep pace with the most adventurous gourmands courtesy of chef Matthew Bousquet, who earned a coveted Michelin star at his Napa restaurant Mirepoix.