A stay at the Williamsburg Inn provides an upscale experience with world-class standards in design, service and cuisine from its restaurants. Its rich history is distinguished by both the prominent guests whom have stayed at the resort hotel as well as its significant role in the revitalization of the colonial capital.
At first sight in the evening, the impressive columned portico on the facade of the Williamsburg Inn provides a striking view commanding your attention towards the historic landmark. The reflection pool, a new improvement to its entrance introduced last spring, casts a mesmerizing mirror image of the illustrious Inn in its glistening water between the silhouette of trees decorated with shimmering lights.
Upon a warm welcoming, visitors are greeted with a glass of sparkling wine in the lobby arcade lit by chandeliers and fireplaces and accompanied by the soft sound of music leading to its grand hallways. Reopening in 2017, an $8 million renovation is breathing new life into the resort hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a recipient of the prestigious AAA Five Diamond designation for providing superior accommodations. The enhancements have provided a more modernized feel yet still stay true to the Inn’s regency-inspired style. The renovation has brought updates to its decorous furnishings, refined restaurant offerings with exquisite cuisine and even new greens and fairways on the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club’s Gold Course, which is overlooked by the Inn’s Social Terrace.
In the late 1920s, Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, a community leader and rector of Bruton Parish Church on Duke of Gloucester Street, persuaded John D. Rockefeller Jr. to take on the task of restoring Colonial Williamsburg, so that the area would serve as a dignified tourist destination and historic district purposed as a living museum. Many of the area’s dilapidated buildings were reconstructed, while others were refashioned as structures as they would appear in the 18th century along Duke of Gloucester Street. As the project was undertaken, the colonial capital was inundated with a number of visitors, outlining a necessity for larger and greater accommodations. The Williamsburg Company-Hospitality Group desired the creation of a premier place to stay complete with a wealth of amenities comparable to preeminent American resort hotels of the time. The Williamsburg Inn opened on April 3, 1937, masterminded by the Rockefeller family, who envisioned a resort destination characterized by its elegance.
Both ritzy and glamorous, a modern day visit to the Williamsburg Inn puts you in the presence of history and royalty. Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako of Japan each stayed at the Inn during their regal journeys to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. And though it retains its status for providing luxury accommodations, the Inn’s quality amenities aren’t exclusive to its guests, as visitors are always welcome to enjoy a cocktail at The Social Terrace, tasteful breakfast at the Goodwin Room, lavish lunch at the Terrace Room and delightful dinner at The Rockefeller Room—the Inn’s foremost fine dining experience.
The Rockefeller Room’s sophisticated fare is inspired by the evolution of American cuisine that took precedence in Colonial Williamsburg, and is phenomenally created by the Inn’s culinary staff led by the talented Executive Chef Travis Brust. The restaurant's divine dishes accentuate the exchange of exotic tastes brought to the New World from diverse cultures as they harmoniously pair with locally sourced ingredients that are demonstrative of Southern and Coastal cuisine. Turmeric Ginger Shrimp (in a coconut curry crème, with a rice grit galette and piperade) and Later Harvest Gnocchi (with parsnip puree, blackberry rouille and braised greens) are impassioned through their presentations as nouvelle-style expressions on the plate, accented with vivid colors and ornate patterns. Combine this with the sommelier’s wine selection, decadent desserts (Croissant Bread Pudding, Pecan Financier, Earl Grey Custard, Cardamom Cheesecake, Melting Chocolate Cake) and perfected service provides an elevated experience while dining.
There’s more to praise with the Inn’s rich culinary culture with edible indulgences found at its Taste Studio, which offers guests interactive cooking classes with chefs and demonstrations for fun food creations made by innovating entrée-preneurs. The studio is equipped with a kitchen, 30 seats and two televisions, with now 128 scheduled programs for the year including Art of Fine Food and Spirits, which pairs cocktails made from vodka, gin, bourbon and scotch with enticing dishes, and Thursty Thursdays, pairing a flight of Virginia craft beer with superb pub snacks.
For more casual, and either classic or contemporary dining, Traditions at the neighboring Williamsburg Lodge boasts a bountiful breakfast, brunch and lunch buffet influenced by Southern culinary traditions, while Chowning’s Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street is an intimate 18th century-inspired alehouse with pub fare such as soups, stews, sandwiches and sips of beer by the mug.
The Williamsburg Inn’s location is a gateway to discovering more of the city, including the historic taverns and restaurants lining Duke of Gloucester Street, the stately Capitol building, shops at Merchants Square, William & Mary campus and Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, as each make for an exciting and intriguing visit to the colonial capital.
Visit here to learn more and plan your stay at the Williamsburg Inn.