The Warm Springs Pools Now Open
Guests may once again “take the waters” at the historic Warm Springs Pools, part of The Omni Homestead Resort. The bathhouses reopened on Saturday, December 17, following the completion of a 14-month, $4 million rehabilitation by Lionberger Construction of Roanoke, Virginia. The Richmond-based architectural firm 3North used the comprehensive 2016 Historic Structures Report as a guide to preserve these iconic structures, while working closely with Omni Hotels & Resorts and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Located just over five miles from the resort, the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Bathhouses are open Wednesday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required and are available on the hour priced at $25 per person per 50-minute soak.
- Family soaking time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (swimsuits required and children under the age of 18 may come with a parent; Ladies' Bathhouse)
- Adult co-ed soaking time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (ages 16+; swimsuits required; Gentlemen's Bathhouse from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
- Adult soaking: 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (by gender, ages 18+; swimsuits optional)
This project is considered a rehabilitation, one of the four treatments for preserving historic properties as established by the Secretary of the Interior. A rehabilitation acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic property to meet continuing or changing uses while retaining the property's historic character. The goal was to save as much historic building fabric as possible while ensuring that the buildings are prepared to serve many years of future use. The scope of work encompassed preserving and/or replacing in-kind the historic wood structure, windows, doors, siding and roofing along with repairing the foundation piers of both baths and the reception house. In preparing the plans, the team focused on maintaining the existing character of the Warm Springs Pools, referencing the structures as they were when the resort acquired them in 1925.
Omni Hotels & Resorts has applied for state and federal tax credits related to the restoration of the Warm Springs Pools. While the plans for the rehabilitation have received preliminary approval, the tax credits will not be given until a thorough review is conducted following the completion of the project.
The original octagonal stone basin that held the water for bathing was built in 1761, establishing it as the first spa structure in America. Originally known as the Warm Springs Bath or the Great Bath, it was not covered by a bath house until the mid-1820s, at which point it was covered by a new octagonal frame building. A second structure, the Ladies’ Bath House, was built in the mid-1870s. The twenty-two-sided central portion stands on a circular stone wall that encloses the spring and pool. The top plate carries a faceted roof in which common rafters rise to support a central frame surrounding an oculus.
Reservations are required and may be made by calling (540) 839-3860. The Warm Springs Pools are located at 11 Bath Street, Warm Springs, Virginia, approximately five miles from the resort.
Cancellations must be received within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. No shows and cancellations received with less than 24 hours’ notice will be charged the full fee.
HISTORY OF THE POOLS AND SPRINGS
Local legends say that Native Americans journeying through the valley discovered these magnificent crystal springs hundreds of years ago, and archaeological evidence seems to confirm that this area has been used by humans for at least 9,000 years.
The first recorded survey of the area was done by Thomas and Andrew Lewis. Thomas Lewis and his son obtained 140 acres of the land, including the warm springs. Andrew Lewis was an early partner of Thomas Bullitt, who procured 300 acres including the hot springs and built the first hotel in 1766 on the site of The Omni Homestead Resort.
The original octagonal stone basin that held the water for bathing was built in 1761, establishing it as the first spa structure in America. Originally known as the Warm Springs Bath or the Great Bath, it was not covered by a bathhouse until the mid-1820s, at which point it was covered by a new octagonal frame building. A second structure, the Ladies’ Bathhouse, was built in the mid-1870s. The twenty-two-sided central portion stands on a circular stone wall that encloses the spring and pool. The top plate carries a faceted roof in which common rafters rise to support a central frame surrounding an oculus.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE WATER
The United States Geological Survey has determined that these springs have a remarkably uniform rate of flow and temperature. Unaffected by changes of the seasons, the waters remain at a natural body temperature all year and flow at the astounding rate of 1,700,000 gallons per day. The waters have an unusually high level of mineral content and are so crystal clear a book can easily be read through them.
The bathhouses will be open Wednesday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. beginning Saturday, December 17. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 540-839-3860.