We took a mid-February trip up to the White Mountains. Our kids are too little to ski, but we wanted to have a nice winter getaway where we could get snowed in and relax. We were looking for a lot of activities and amenities to keep them busy, which is how we came to choose the Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Just turning up the street to the Omni Mount Washington Resort, with its imposing size and bright red roof contrasted by the snow white mountains behind it, you are instantly aware that you have arrived someplace special.
Highlights from the Omni Mount Washington Resort:
Nestled within the White Mountains, this grand old hotel was built in 1902 as a place for the elite to show off their wealth. Not only is the hotel magnificent inside and out, it is steeped with history. It took 250 Italian craftsmen two years to build the hotel that was designed to be “a cruise ship on land.” Thomas Edison made the light fixtures in the grand hall and turned them on himself for the first time.
The Omni Mount Washington Resort is luxurious but not stuffy. Although there are high ceilings and chandeliers at every corner, it maintains a cozy feel to it. There is a roaring fireplace and comfortable chairs around the veranda. I have visited the resort in the summer and the wide wrap around porch is just the perfect place to sit back and sip a glass of wine.
There are not many luxury hotels that I would like to bring my three young children to, but this family friendly place welcomes them with open arms. In fact, as soon as we step foot in the lobby, they were given activity bags filled with goodies.
Our room was beautiful. It was really spacious for a family of five and we had a view of the mountains from our window. I had a love affair with the marble bathroom which was painted my favorite color robin’s egg blue. The little details like the antique bronze hardware really transport you back to a simpler time.
When you check in, you will be given a copy of their newsletter called The Bugle. Inside will be a list all the kids programs and featured activities going on at the hotel. I highly recommend the hotel tour (my husband watched the kids while I went). The tour is 45 minutes long and will help you appreciate the history of the hotel.
There is so much going on, you don’t even need to leave the grounds to find entertainment. My kids loved that they could stay in pajamas all day and run around from place to place in slippers.
The kids learned how to make soap, which they then happily took a bath to try out (#momwin). Other free activities offered were marshmallow roasting by the fire pit, movie matinees, and wine tasting for the adults.
The boys were always drawn to the arcade and would have happily spent the entire weekend there. They also loved Critters Toy Store and the candy section at Morsels.
The day we arrived, we took a sleigh ride around the ground of the resort. Luke is such a kind man, he welcomes visitors in the stables at any time. We bundled under blankets and admired the scenery. The rivers was frozen over and the snowfall was that playful kind of snow that slowly danced its way down.
Other outdoor activities included ice skating and tubing. Bretton Woods has a kids snowmobile track that we were so excited to check out, but it is only open on weekends and vacations. For the adventurous kids ages 12 and over, there is a three hour canopy tour that is even open throughout the winter.
Cookies and Critters
Probably the cutest activity at the resort was Cookies and Critters. The kids got to pick out a stuffed animal to make, similar to Build a Bear. Milk and cookies were then delivered to our room for them to enjoy with their new friend.
The Omni actually has its own post office with its very own zip code! Andrew loved getting a vintage post card and mailing it to his classroom.
The resort boasts the first indoor pool in the country. The baby loved that she had a shallow area to splash around and Mommy just loves a good hot tub. The outdoor pool is heated to 97 degrees but nobody was brave enough to get down to it in the snow. I have heard great things about the spa, but I never made it in because, well, cha ching!
There are many different room types to suit the individual needs of each family. If you have a large family or need some separation, check out their family parlor rooms. When you enter the room, there is a sitting area and bathroom with a bedroom on either side. Finding a separate area for our baby to sleep is always a challenge since the boys like to stay up late, so this is a great option.
If you are childless, try sneaking down to The Cave for a drink. After walking down the dim lit, granite walled tunnel, you enter into what once was a speakeasy. There is even a trap door in the floor where they used to dump the booze if there was a raid.
My favorite place to eat was Stickney’s Restaurant as it had a more casual feel than the dining hall. I also loved Cabot’s Gift and Clothing Store which had my favorite brands of outdoor gear like Patagonia and KUHL as well as any supplies you may have left at home.
I also have to mention how wonderful the staff at the Omni is. They really aim to please and will go out of their way to make sure you have a pleasant stay. The concierge was there to set up any activities we wanted to participate in or make dinner reservations for us. We took day trips into nearby Littleton and Lincoln when the weather allowed and really appreciated the valet in the winter since they cleaned all the snow off the car for us. We were celebrating my birthday and they welcomed me with this amazing cupcake in my room!
Staying in this majestic old building is such an experience. From the classical music that echoes through the grand hall to the chiming of the grandfather clock, you will feel as if you time traveled. If you are looking for a nice winter escape, I highly recommend The Omni Mount Washington Resort.
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