Colonial Williamsburg updates ye olde hotels

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Colonial Williamsburg's accommodations received a significant overhaul this year as part of a three-year, $100 million renovation plan, said to be the largest of its kind in the attraction's history.

Descriptions of the key improvements follow:

• The Williamsburg Inn, Colonial Williamsburg's flagship property built in 1937 by John D. Rockefeller, reopened following a yearlong renovation.

The project, begun last summer, reduced the room count from 98 to 62 rooms and suites, the number of guest rooms in the original plans for the hotel.

Prior to the renovation, rooms at the Williamsburg Inn ranged in size from 250 to 300 square feet, a spokeswoman said. The newly renovated suites range from 500 to 600 square feet.

Bathrooms were enlarged to include double marble sinks; a lighted vanity mirror; a tub and separate marble shower, and a separate toilet room with a telephone.

The decor features a variety of window treatments, wallpapers, carpetings and furnishings as well as fresh flowers, books and a framed photo of one of the house's famous guests, who included Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth II and Shirley Temple.

Public space also was renovated, with a new tea room and bar lounge replacing the former upper dining room, and improved access for the handicapped to the hotel's Regency Room restaurant.

High season (summer and Christmas) rates start at $450 per night for a deluxe suite (with king-size bed) facing the historic area, to $725 for a resort suite overlooking the golf course. Commission is 10%.

• The Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel and Suites opened in August with 96 suites and 204 guest rooms.

It is located adjacent to the visitor center and another property, the former Woodlands, which was renamed the Cascades Motel.

Each standard room in the Woodlands has two full-size beds and a seating area with a table, two chairs, a lounge chair and a television.

The Woodlands suites each has a sitting area with a queen-size sofa bed and upholstered chairs, a desk and a TV. It also features a kitchen area with a refrigerator, a microwave and a sink as well as a separate bedroom with a king-size bed and bath.

During summer high season, room rates at the Woodlands hotel range from $135 per night to $195 per night for a suite. Commission is 10%.

During the Christmas season, which runs from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, per night rates at the Woodlands are $125 for a guest room and $175 for a suite. A three-night minimum stay is required during Dec. 24, 25 and 26.

• A new family-friendly restaurant named Huzzah! will open next year adjacent to the Woodlands hotel and visitor center.

• From January 2003 and to through mid-2004, the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center will see the addition of 150 guest rooms and construction of a 30,000-square-foot conference center, a family restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool.

For more information or reservations, call (800) HISTORY or visit www.colonialwilliamsburg.org.

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