Now is the time to book an escape to a luxury Southern resort to take full advantage of fall’s stunning colors, gorgeous weather, and exciting activities. From the famous mineral hot springs in Arkansas to hiking in the autumnal splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains before indulging in award-winning dining, there is a resort with access to whatever inspires you. If you are searching for a new upscale getaway, read on as we reveal some of our favorite Southern resorts to visit in the fall.
Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa (Arkansas)
Hot Springs National Park has tempted presidents, celebrities, and a gangster or two to its gorgeous scenery and healing waters since 1832 – “40 years before the National Park System even existed,” according to Travel + Leisure. As the hydrotherapy movement grew, so did Hot Springs, Arkansas, with “grand hotels and bathing facilities” popping up to entice visitors to enjoy the city’s wonders.
Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa takes full advantage of its place in the city’s story. One of Southern Living’s favorites, “this historic resort hotel is located in the heart of Hot Springs National Park, north of Bathhouse Row, near museums, antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.” The resort boasts a private thermal bathhouse for guests to experience the much-lauded mineral waters, as well as a spa and salon. For history buffs, Travel + Leisure recommends trying to book Suite 406 – Al Capone’s favorite – before listening to live jazz at The Ohio Club. And, of course, don’t skip indulging at the resort’s award-winning Sunday brunch or on their famous Friday night Seafood Feast in the extraordinary Venetian dining room.
Hotel Domestique (South Carolina)
TripSavvy recently named the Hotel Domestique among the best luxury hotels in South Carolina. Why? The Magazine explains that guests can “get European-style elegance without leaving the Upstate at this tranquil resort from world-renowned cyclist George Hincapie.” But the delights of this Southern resort go far beyond its sophisticated feel and pedigree. The location places guests at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are at their most beautiful during the fall (although they are always a sight to behold). This hotel gives one the sense of escaping to a quiet country estate, but the interiors are mod, and the services are elevated to the highest levels. Decadent dining that balances local and seasonal offerings with European style will leave you eagerly awaiting every course.
Inviting, upscale rooms only heighten the exclusive experience. TripSavvy advises: “The 13 rooms—many of them with mountainside views—are decorated in warm, Tuscan hues and feature rustic hardwood floors, fireplaces, and abstract art.” Challenge yourself on the resort’s golf courses, or book wellness rooms for private or group Yoga sessions. Refresh in an inspiring saltwater pool and infrared sauna, or embark on cycling experiences that will help you unwind, rebalance, and experience the wonder of the surroundings.
Blackberry Farm (Tennessee)
Blackberry Farm welcomes guests with luxurious accommodations featuring fireplaces, antiques, and verandas perfect for taking in spectacular views. Southern Living adores this 68-room mountain resort. The Magazine raves: “One of the South’s favorite year-round resorts, Blackberry Farm is at its most beautiful in fall when the surrounding forests of the Smoky Mountain foothills light up with the colors of autumn.” If you love diving into activities in the great outdoors, you’ll adore the hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, horseback riding, and paddling opportunities that are a part of the Blackberry Farm’s significant slate of activities. If serious spa pampering is on your agenda, you’ll delight in spending an afternoon at the Wellhouse before stopping to see what’s pouring at the Brewery. And, of course, Southern Living cautions: “Don’t forget to book a farm-to-table breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the resort’s award-winning restaurants.”
Lansdowne Resort and Spa (Virginia)
If the idea of spending time in Virginia’s wine country makes you smile, Lansdowne Resort and Spa may be for you. This AAA Four Diamond award-winning Southern golf resort, only 30 miles outside of D.C., seemingly has it all, including challenging championship golf, a gorgeous location that allows you to explore nearby wineries, and world-class accommodations. Spa Minérale is among Southern Living’s favorite finds, as it features experts in high-tech facials (including Hydrafacials), as well as much-loved wellness massages, body treatments, and salon services. A visit (or two) to the spa is a terrific way to start any wellness weekend.
Are you an epicurean? If so, Southern Living confides that you will adore having “a meal at one of the resort’s many restaurants—Riverside Hearth, Coton & Rye, and Piedmont’s among them.” And, if you want to dine al fresco, you’ll enjoy basking in the impressive views of the Potomac River Valley and Lansdowne’s golf courses at Fanny’s Garden on Friday nights.
The Omni Homestead Resort (Virginia)
Built in 1766, Travel + Leisure reports that The Omni Homestead Resort claims to be “the birthplace of Southern hospitality.” Set in the Allegheny Mountains, guests enjoying romantic weekends or family getaways will be mesmerized by the beauty of this year-round Southern resort in the fall. Begin your stay by checking into a luxuriously appointed suite before embarking on one of the resort’s Virginia wine experiences or savoring the delights at one of their award-winning restaurants.
Outdoor activities abound, including horseback riding, golfing, fly fishing, shooting, hiking, and swimming in the property’s water park or their spring-fed indoor pool. For anyone hoping for a rejuvenating getaway in Virginia, this Southern resort features a state-of-the-art spa that includes an adults-only Serenity Garden boasting “a hot springs fed pool, pressurized deluge shower, river reflexology walk, and dining and drink service,” according to the resort’s website. It also offers much-loved facials, body treatments, and hair and salon services. Even the teens and younger members of your party can experience a select menu of spa treatments specifically designed to meet their needs.
The Greenbrier (West Virginia)
To say that The Greenbrier resort is legendary is an understatement – it has entertained presidents, dignitaries, and other luminaries for nearly 250 years. It’s no wonder that it makes Southern Living’s list of the best Southern resorts to visit this year. Set in the mountains of West Virginia, the Magazine reveals that The Greenbrier is part of a “National Historic Landmark and 11,000-acre luxury resort that’s been in operation since 1778.” It’s famous for its impeccable grounds, awe-inspiring architecture, and service that has risen to an art form. Southern Living raves: “Plenty of opportunities to explore the vibrant fall foliage of the region, farm-to-table dinners filled with the flavors of Appalachia, and famed interior designs by Dorothy Draper ensure an unforgettable experience.”
Travel + Leisure confides that this Southern resort was one of the first spa retreats in the United States and that the mineral hot springs and MedSpa’s therapeutic treatments continue to be a draw. At the Greenbrier, the Magazine cheers, guests can “enjoy a game of golf, take a scenic carriage ride around this sprawling property, try kayaking on the Greenbrier or Jackson Rivers, or complete the Aerial Adventure Course, a 12-challenge course suspended 50 feet up in the air.” There truly is something for everybody here.
Jekyll Island Club Resort (Georgia)
Southern Living recommends booking a trip to the Jekyll Island Club Resort if you love celebrating fall while basking in the joy of soothing coastal breezes. Opened originally as a recreational club in 1886, Jekyll Island Club Resort became known for its glittering clientele. America’s most influential families enjoyed the exquisite property and the extraordinarily unique beauty of Jekyll Island. The resort’s timeless elegance can be felt everywhere, from its Victorian-era architecture to the luxurious accommodations and the storied Clubhouse. Guests can lounge poolside at the Club or swim in one of the Jekyll Ocean Club’s resort pools. Southern Living applauds: “the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort welcomes you in for a relaxing stay, biking the island’s many scenic trails, golfing on the course, wonderful dining experiences, and fall walks on the beach in the mild weather of the Georgia coast.”
And if you have a penchant for all things ghostly, fall is a particularly good time to visit this prestigious retreat. Why? Travel + Leisure reveals that some say that “the presence of wealthy visitors and hotel workers” can still be felt at this historic Southern resort. In fact, according to the Magazine, “the resort even offers an annual ghost hunt weekend falling in October.”
Inn on Biltmore Estate (North Carolina)
The Biltmore Estate is one of the most famous mansions in the United States. The 8,000+ acre retreat was once the country home of George Vanderbilt. While you cannot stay in the French Renaissance-style home, there are sought-after accommodations on the property that are stunning in their own right. Among those, the Inn on Biltmore Estate is a decidedly luxurious choice.
Relax in the Inn’s heated pool and hot tub, or marvel at the stunning autumn views afforded you as you rest in one of your accommodation’s Adirondack chairs. The spa is one of the many places at this perfectly appointed Southern resort for you to indulge. Knowing that, leave plenty of time after your session to savor light bites and cocktails in the Library Lounge. Dinner in the formal Dining Room is a magical experience, and you’ll adore sampling the estate-grown and local fare. And, of course, being on the property means that you will have plenty of opportunities to pop over to explore the original mansion. In fact, according to TripSavvy, “a shuttle runs between the Inn and the Biltmore Mansion for easy access to America’s largest house.” Enjoy!
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