Keswick Hall Construction Update: Never Once Waivering in the Face of the Challenges, Owners are Committed to Excellence on the Renovations, Legacy Project Built to Stand in the Community for a Lifetime
Recently whenever I drive through the gates, I couldn’t help but notice the significant progress made on the renovations at Keswick Hall – our beloved community touchstone. A message sent recently to the public simply said, “With Spring upon us, the Hall renovation and expansions are well underway. In the coming months, we look forward to the completion of the Hall, Horizon Pool, and Jean-Georges at Keswick Hall.” Brief and to the point, it continues to thank the community for the patience throughout the project and expresses, “looking forward to welcoming you to the new Keswick Hall.”
I couldn’t wait to know when, so I picked up the phone and called John Trevenen, Managing Director of Keswick Hall. For starters, they answer the phone a bit differently with a shortened name, simply ‘Keswick Hall’, no more ‘and golf club’ or resort, etc., just plain and simple. John explained the return to this tried and true designation was just the tip of the iceberg for the owner’s unwavering commitment to getting the transformative job done right and to perfection. The name encompasses the entire experience, the hotel, the club, the spa, golf, tennis, and the great new dining experiences coming to the property, a staple in the Keswick environs.
The owners, Molly and Robert Hardie, and their experienced team lead by Trevenen, are no strangers to the highs and lows of real estate rehab and construction. Still, time and energy up on the hill, first built upon in 1912, sometimes takes a particular set of skills, patience, and late afternoon walks in the Estate to decompress and avoid exhaustion while dealing with all the surprises that continued to creep into the project. Keswick Hall has certainly tested their endurance, but Trevenen reports that there is nearly no stone left unturned at this point of the project, the hurtles of approvals are behind them, and there is now a clear path to completion.
“Molly and Robert have had a consistent voice at every turn,” Trevenen says; they made their desires very clear. He added, “never once did they waver in the face of the challenges, and did not step back from the responsibility” they embarked upon when closing the doors on the infrastructure problems of past on New Year’s Day 2018. Getting it right above all has caused time delays and questions on when will it all be finished. These comments don’t worry the team, they are building at a very high standard of excellence and creating a Hardie family legacy to last a lifetime – a gift of significant improvement for all, especially for the Keswickian community.
The 1912 historic ‘house’ side of the hotel structure was wrought with decades of patched up repairs that were never meant to stand the test of time, especially Albemarle County’s summertime humidity, deluges of rain, and icy winters. The right steps have been taken to ensure the best outcome when it would have been much more manageable to tear down large portions of the hotel. The more expensive and time-consuming choice was made to restore it to the original masonry substructure and rebuild to preserve the historical features that would have otherwise been lost.
The Palmer Room, at the member’s clubhouse, dining space, an experience adored by generations of club members, will remain a special part of Keswick Hall. The members have expressed they like this space generally the way it is, as many have their favorite corner to meet with friends or grab a quick meal. To tie in the existing club spaces with the new Jean-Georges restaurant just above, there is a new transitional hard space area adorn with new patios, fresh rehab of the existing porches, along with a new fire pit with outdoor fixtures and furniture. With all the changes coming to the clubhouse, one thing stays the same, the membership at Keswick Hall is a cherished and vital part of the business model going forward for the Hardies.
The tennis courts have had significant investments made for improvement over the past months. Leading the way, stewards Tristan and Gabriella, bring us into a new era of local tennis club play with brand new Cremonini red clay from Italy covering the courts. The lighting system is engineered and executed in the same type used for the US Open Tennis tournaments. The courts are open for bookings, lessons, and the pro-shop is ready for equipment consultations and repairs.
The Jean-George restaurant is an excellent advantage for the Keswick community, hotel guests, and puts the Keswick environs amongst an exclusive list of destination dining places. The new design is elegant, with a focus on easy, casual, and relaxed dining. The days of complicated menus and over-attending staff at Fossets are now gone! We will soon be welcomed to an enjoyable new dining experience of modern cuisine with a perfectly framed view in the main seating area, or perhaps an outdoor table in the courtyard with a freshly made pizza of the day. The courtyard at Jean-George features a Petanque court, French-style Bocci Ball, where a pre-dinner game can be enjoyed with a cocktail in-hand. Petanque, the ball game that is played on a flat court surface about 12 x 3 meters, has just a few simple to follow rules and is enjoyed between two players or teams.
When you sit back and take in what is happening at Keswick Hall, all at one time, you quickly realize how it will all be so great. John Trevenen, and the Hardies, are personally and deeply involved in the project, fostering this creation of ‘our house’, more of a palace – a place for gathering, great food, drinks with friends and leisure activities. It is the local spot to rest your head, regroup and enjoy a spa treatment, hit some balls, or relax by the pool. Stay tuned, for great things are coming soon!
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