The Omni Bedford Springs Resort is promoted as a luxury end resort near the town of Bedford, PA. It is only about 1 hour and 15 minute drive from State College, and offers an option for us Happy Valley residents looking for a quick getaway. I had visited once for a quick over night in December about 10 years ago with my husband. It was a complimentary night as I was there on wedding planner business; so I didn't get a chance to really see what the resort had to offer. This time I had planned a 2 night, mid-week stay with my friend Val in August of 2022. It was around her birthday; so it was a girl friends birthday spa getaway.
This historic hotel leaves a good first impression. You pull in front of this big building that looks nestled right along the mountains. The exterior is charming with big white columns in front of a red brick building, and a second building with big inviting porches attached. We were greeted quickly and warmly by staff who took care of valet parking our car. Before our visit it looked like their may be a fee to valet, but they assured us it was complimentary (I don't know if that is true for day visitors).
Check in went pretty well and when we informed them of Val's birthday they said we would get a treat in our room tomorrow. They ended up giving her a good sized vanilla cupcake, which I thought was a considerate touch. Below is a summary of my thoughts of the rooms, food, spa, and activities
The rooms are styled to go with the historic feel of the inn, yet with modern touches and conveniences. The bathroom had nice tile and sink; with a good sized tub/shower. The highlight was we got one of the rooms that had the big balcony porch that we could sit on with rocking chairs. The balcony runs the entire length so it is shared with all rooms, but they are spaced out enough you still felt like you were in your own area.
Beds were comfortable and sheets were clean. All of the high touch, every day use areas of the room were cleaned. However, I noticed that the not every day stuff looked like it hadn't been touched in a while. I was in the bathroom and next to the toilet was a window with the plantation shades. I opened them to peak out. When I was done I closed them, but shut them in the other direction. The back side greeted me with a layer of dust. The bathroom walls were half painted plaster with tile on the bottom half. The lip around the top of the tile also had a thin layer of dust; and some of the baseboards needed a wipe. I know in my own home these are not areas that get cleaned a lot. I also know at the time there are lots of staffing shortages happening. The room overall didn't feel dirty; and again all the big areas were clean. It was surprising to see this based on cost and how the Omni brand is promoted.
The resort offers a variety of food options. Since it was a quick 2 nights, we liked not having to leave the property to get food. We enjoyed dinner the first night at Frontier Tavern and the second night at 1796. We had lunch one day at Tillie's at the Clubhouse, and a breakfast buffet at The Crystal Room. Finally, I did get a latte at their Evitt Coffee House for an afternoon pick me up. My review for all of them is pretty much the same. None of these meals were bad, all were enjoyable; but nothing was memorable. For the price I expected slightly better quality. I would rate the meal a 3 out of 5. 1796 let me down the most, as it was to be this amazing steakhouse. The steak tasted no better than what I have at home and the one side dish was way over-seasoned. If I were to go anywhere on property again besides Evitt for a latte, it would be Tillie's. It was a good lunch with good portions sizes, and more reasonably priced.
The best part of the whole trip was the Springs Eternal Spa. I love spa treatments and this place did not disappoint. We both had a seaweed mud wrap that left our skins feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Followed by a focus massage; it was relaxing morning. A bonus is all spa treatments include the Bedford Bath Ritual. The entire resort got its start from the various natural mineral springs on the property. Many people believed the water had medicinal qualities. The bath ritual includes a shower, a steam, and then soaking in a hot tub of the mineral water. Whether or not it cured any physical ailments, hard to say; but definitely improved my mental state.
The relaxation area had comfy chaise lounge chairs to stretch out in. Their were drinks and some delicious tea varieties to try from a local tea shop called Everything Tea (need to go here sometime). There was even a private garden area you could enjoy. Overall the spa experience here was top notch.
The resort does offer other activities and experiences. Most of them you need to make reservations in advance and are an additional fee. Here is what I did:
Ghost Tour: My second favorite activity of the visit was the haunted tour. Local John Sabol took us around the property telling us history and stories of the property; as well as past ghost sightings from guests. This tour was an additional $15, but worth every cent. Bonus he came back the next day and was selling some of his books he has written of his worldly ghost adventures. Had a lovely conversation with him and his wife and got a few books to read. You can find a few here.
Hiking: There are some trails that you can get out and explore. I know Val isn't as in to hiking as me, but we did an easy trail that took to see some of the natural springs on the property.
Archery: After enjoying my first round with a bow and arrow the previous summer at another resort, I had to try again. Had a great time with a new teacher who helped me work on my stance. Still walked away with a bruised arm though!
Indoor Pool: The indoor pool here was built in 1905 and was one of the first indoor pools in the country. The Victorian feel of the architect still exists and its a lovely place to just relax with a book. There is an outdoor pool as well, we just didn't use it.
You can explore their website for other various activities. There is a firepit you can sit around a night. We did that one night and met some wonderful people, including a girl who the ghosts at the hotel seemed to take a liking. There are also some lawn games, biking, golfing, a workout facility, yoga classes, ATV rides, and a variety of offsite activities they can arrange for you. However, be prepared as a lot of these are an additional cost and may need booked in advance.
I have mixed feelings on this place. The staff was good, the spa awesome, other guests great, and had a hauntingly good ghost tour. I did feel very nickel and dimed; and everything felt overpriced. I know a resort tends to cost more, but I feel like I got more at other comparable resorts. Val and I both said we spent almost as much as we did to at The Lodges at Woodloch the year before, and got way less. Woodloch included all meals and activities; here things like archery were more (around $45 for the hour). I had considered a yoga class until I learned it was also extra. I met a family who had commented they booked a last minute getaway there before school started. They were considering leaving early and going elsewhere; from the lack of things to do.
I will more than likely return for a day spa trip, but unless the cost of rooms goes down; I probably wouldn't stay here again. However, don't take my comments as saying the place was bad; overall it was a pleasant few days. The value of something is if the cost is worth it to those paying. To me the value was there in the spa, but not in anything else. What do you think to those who have been? Worth the cost to stay?