From the moment you exit Interstate 93 in northern New Hampshire and enter the White Mountain National Forest, just about everything is overshadowed by the expansive Presidential Range—topped by the rocky, windswept summit of Mount Washington (6,288 ft). Everything, that is, except the Omni Mount Washington Resort. Set amongst the tallest peaks in the Northeastern U.S., this 200-room palazzo makes a dramatic impression that diverts the gaze of travelers from the stunning views to the east. And if you’re so lucky to stay the night (or four) during a ski trip to Bretton Woods, you’ll feel instantly transported to a thought-to-be bygone era of class and grandeur.
Driving up the access road, fittingly named Fairway Drive, visitors are flanked by cross-country skiers and dogsled tours skating over the snow-covered 9-hole championship golf course—a separate, award-winning 18-hole course awaits summer visitors to the southeast—on the outskirts of a 100km network of nordic trails. With ample time to admire it, the commute to the valet circle alone provides a stoic view of the breathtaking mountain backdrop. Rounding the driveway as you climb to the patio level of the hotel, the sprawling veranda—stretching 900 feet around the resort’s southernmost wing—is an early sign of the luxurious accommodations ahead.
At the door, all arriving traffic is diverted through a stone-lined porte cochere, where a valet attendant greets you and promptly transfers your luggage to a baggage cart before swapping places with you behind the wheel. As your ski equipment is carted to ski check, and with your respective claim tickets in-hand, the porter swings open a large set of doors to welcome you in. The lobby is cavernous, with towering 23-foot ceilings and an element of southern gentry. Parlor chairs and game tables are grouped throughout the spacious Grand Hall and the adjoining semicircular conservatory—the perfect site for a late-night cocktail.
Historic photographs and memorabilia from the hotel’s impressive 1902 construction and star-studded past—the likes of Thomas Edison and three U.S. presidents have signed the guestbook—decorate the walls and common space. The display is genuine, not in the least bit tacky and, as five minutes inside will prove, the bragging rights are well earned. Even the manually operated original elevator is still in service to whisk you up to your room after check-in.
Whether staying in traditional or deluxe guest rooms, ranging from 250 to 550 square feet, or 1,250-square-foot luxury family suites—the rooms supply a well-balanced mix of modern amenities with historic details and New England charm. The usual suspects are all present: flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, desk, iron and hair dryer, plus monogrammed robes for visiting the indoor pool, heated outdoor pool, hot tubs or the 25,000-square-foot spa and salon. And while many rooms have received some additional modernization—gas fireplaces, wet bars and marble baths—the decorative molding, luxurious bedding, and plush furnishings found in every room inject enough vintage decór and elegance to remind you that this is a National Historic Landmark.
The views are, as one would expect, striking and panoramic. Corner Vistas overlook the White Mountains, Bretton Woods ski area and/or the historic golf courses, and guests will have no qualms greeting the sunrise through extra large windows, while lying in the original four-poster queen bed of Princess Carolyn.
The smaller rooms don’t offer kitchenettes, but the room service menu is extensive. Casual to jacket-required-formal dining is just a short walk downstairs to the main floor and patio level. Before turning in, select your complimentary beverage and delivery time on the door card to start your day on the slopes off right.
After enjoying your morning coffee and the paper that’s waiting outside the door, the Main Dining Room offers an impressive spread to fuel up visitors for a day on the slopes. The knowledgeable wait staff can update you on Bretton Woods’ snow report and forecast, or even advise you on finding the best afternoon stashes with the shortest lines. The concierge—located opposite the check-in desk in the main lobby—can arrange all of your activities including rentals, lessons, canopy tours, dog sledding, snowmobiling and more. They’ll even print your lift tickets on the spot, to avoid any fuss with lines at the mountain.
After retrieving your gear from ski check, the complimentary shuttle arrives to deliver you slope side at Bretton Woods. As New Hampshire’s largest ski area with 464 acres, the mountain boasts picturesque views, night skiing and riding, and a vast offering of wooded and groomed terrain to provide an authentic New England skiing experience. The new 2,000-foot Doppelmayr T-bar—part of a 30 acre expansion, complete with a summit warming hut—lets glade-lovers lap the Mount Stickney Glades expressly.
At the base, the shuttle awaits to deliver you back to the Omni for afternoon tea, wine or whiskey tastings or a workout in the fitness center. Signature spa treatments, infused with local botanicals will relieve any soreness that the aprés cocktails cannot. Once rejuvenated, head for The Cave—a prohibition-era speakeasy with live music and entertainment—or a romantic evening by the outdoor fireplace.
Complimentary services and helpful staff ensure a memorable and bespoke experience at the Omni Mountain Washington Resort, where not a moment of your vacation is wasted. With a long list of daily activities, special events and relaxing venues to pass the time, it’s no wonder their legacy as a landmark New England resort has endured for over a century. The idyllic setting, elegant comforts and accessibility to four-star dining and late-night entertainment make the Omni Mount Washington Resort as great a place to start a day on the slopes as it is to finish one.