Founders Inn and Spa is a resort located in Virginia Beach, adjacent to Regis University. This resort is not located anywhere near the Virginia Beach boardwalk (about a 20 minute drive).
The main advantage of staying at Founders is the discounted rates, the tradeoff being a lengthy drive to the beach.
Be on the lookout for special deals on their website. Frequently, a free night is offered if you stay a certain number of nights.
Founders Inn and Spa is a laid-back resort with acres of beautifully maintained grounds. The English gardens are beautiful. There is a small lake with walking trails on site as well. The only downside is being located a bit too close to the highway – it can be a bit noisy at times.
However, the beautiful setting makes it feel like an oasis: a very different experience from staying on the beach – but in a good way. Founders has a classic, elegant Southern style charm.
There are several attractive amenities offered at Founders including an indoor pool and hot tub, a seasonal outdoor pool, tennis courts, an onsite spa, 2 on site restaurants, a fitness center, lakeside walking paths, and a local shuttle.
The outdoor pool was not yet open for the season. The indoor pool area could be improved with some more décor. Also, it was inconveniently closed several times during our stay. The hot tub water was way too hot – almost to the point where you couldn’t get in – and also very small (3 person limit).
The fitness center was very large, although we didn’t get a chance to check it out as we took full advantage of the nice spring weather and took our exercise outside.
The tennis courts located right outside our door were very convenient and made for a great filler activity.
The Flowering Almond Spa was the biggest disappointment of our trip. There was no availability until our checkout date! They must have a really small staff, because the inn was very desolate. I expected a big spa resort to accommodate all guests with any spa services and expected to just go down and book an appointment. They really need to hire more staff.
I ended up buying a half-day getaway package on our last day. It was a terrible experience! For starters, the package was supposed to be 3 hours but only lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes. Second, my treatment started late to begin with. Third, the woman that performed my manicure messed up so bad that I had to have the manager use nail polish remover! This should have never happened in a resort that claims to have won several awards.
The spa manager was nice and offered to send me a gift card, unfortunately I won’t be back in the area anytime soon and it doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that I had to walk around with a botched manicure all day.
Breakfast is not included, however, there is a restaurant on-site. The Swan Terrace Restaurant offers both a breakfast and lunch buffet. The buffet was just average. The only good aspects of this buffet included the onsite location (taking out the hassle of deciding and driving to a restaurant), professional servers, and the elegant dining room with great views of the gardens.
Other than that, it was the same fare you would find at a continental (cereals, toasts, fruits, juices, and a few hot items like scrambled eggs and potatoes) except for a made to order omelet bar. For $14 a person, I was expecting more of a variety.
The other restaurant on site, The Hunt Room wasn’t any better. The Hunt Room is a mix between a causal and fancy restaurant – not really sure where they were heading. There are plasma TV’s and a pool table, but no bar so I am not sure what they were thinking. The food here was extremely overpriced as well. The macaroni and cheese tasted homemade but wasn’t worth the high price tag.
A local shuttle service (within a 6 mile radius) is available for a small fee ($5). We did not need to use this service as we had our car with us. They also have an airport shuttle available for a fee.
The best feature of this hotel is definitely the beautifully landscaped grounds. There is a nice walking/jogging trail which goes along a lake. There is also a swan and plenty of ducks in the area. We took some great photographs.
The path is lit up at night, which is great for a relaxing night stroll. The manicured English garden make you feel like you are in a nature oasis. There are plenty of benches available if you want to sit outside and just enjoy nature.
This resort offers great prices, probably because it is located so far from the ocean (about a 20 minute drive). We booked a stay 2 nights get 1 free deal and only paid $150 for 3 nights – not a bad deal especially if you are looking more for relaxation over the noisy beach setting. Check their website as they offer a variety of different deals – some include breakfast, free nights, etc.
The room was very basic and I was a bit disappointed that there were no large windows to view the beautiful grounds. I was also hoping for some type of terrace or balcony. The rooms are small and outdated and do not have any particular theme or décor.
There are no special amenities besides a flat screen TV and free bottled waters. I did appreciate the natural shampoos, conditioners, and lotions.
Overall, Founders Inn and Spa is a good place to stay if you are looking for a place outside of the beach area. If you are looking for a beach vacation, you will be very disappointed. However, Founders offers great rates if you are willing to stay in a different part of town. Just skip the spa and enjoy the beauty outside.