by Terry Ward
There are so many hotels to choose from when planning a trip to Williamsburg that all the options can stress you out with their sheer abundance. But if your main priorities are finding a mid-range hotel for the family in historic Colonial Williamsburg that makes your stay and access to all the nearby attractions as effortless as possible, then Williamsburg Woodlands more than meets the bill.
The hotel is part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a non-profit organization that has a total of six properties and many restaurants in the downtown historic area. And staying here entitles you to significant discounts on multi-day entry passes to Colonial Williamsburg.
Located right next to the town’s official Visitor’s Center and a short walk (or free shuttle ride) to all the attractions and sites, Williamsburg Woodlands is the kind of place where you can arrive, park your car (in the free parking lot) and just leave the keys behind until the end of your stay. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, and you can choose from standard configurations with two double beds or one-bedroom suites that allow some separation between the main bedroom and living space.
When you’re not out mingling with characters dressed in period costumes, dining in a candle-lit, 18th-century style tavern, or watching a Revolutionary-era re-enactment along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained at the hotel, too, including a heated outdoor swimming pool, free mini-golf, a playground and volleyball and racquet balls courts.
For a quick overnight stay or a long weekend in Williamsburg, this is an easy spot to settle in and enjoy.
Our Editor Loves
- Free shuttle service to Colonial Williamsburg
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Organized onsite entertainment in summer
- Horse Back Riding
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The three-story hotel has 300 guestrooms with just two different layout options fairly evenly split between standard rooms and suites, so deciding what sort of configuration you prefer just depends on your budget and your family's privacy desires.
DÃ©cor is standard in the rooms and suites -- simple shaker style wood furniture with classically printed wallpapers and bright bed coverings. Don't expect an overly modern look and you'll be satisfied.
There are elevators if you're staying on the second or third floor of the building, and when you book, you can specify if you'd prefer a courtyard or pool view (none of the rooms or suites have balconies or patios, which families with young kids often see as a good thing). Families with young children often prefer staying on the ground floor for easy stroller access and the shortest walk to the pool and reception area.
Connecting standard rooms are available, but the suites do not connect. There are no DVD players in the rooms and they aren't available to rent either, so if your kids require them then be sure to tote your portable devices along.
Free Wi-Fi is available in all accommodations.
Standard hotel rooms can accommodate up to five people with two double beds and a chair that pulls out into a twin bed for sleeping an additional person. Rollaways are not available. If you're traveling with small children, you can request a playard for no additional charge. The standard rooms are 309 square feet, so there's plenty of room to stretch out, and there's a sitting area with a small table, flat-screen TV and a mini-fridge for storing snacks, bottles and the like. Coffeemakers are standard throughout.
If you'd like a bit more separation when it comes to sleeping space between the adults and kids, then consider booking one of the hotel's suites. They are 418 square feet, with a closed-off bedroom with one king bed and its own TV that opens into a living room with a queen sofa bed. You can fit four people in suites, and the option to close off the room makes it easy to put kids to sleep early and enjoy alone time. Suites have the additional advantage of a microwave and wet bar in addition to the mini-fridge and coffeemaker, so you have a little more flexibility when it comes to preparing simple meals in.
Super value, perfect central location to experience the area. Just a nice pretty walk from the facility to the park, beautiful outdoor ground, nice fire pit patio, nice drive to the triangle & plantations . Super value
Great location, real nice facility, friendly people. Get the Historic Triangle package! Close drive to Yorktown and Jamestown. Both sites have a lot of interesting artifacts and sights to look at. A new archaeological dig in Jamestown and a 2 year old museum in Yorktown (excellent). Colonial Williamsburg was very interesting, make sure to take the Haunted tour and see a witch trial. Lots of original crafts still being done and amazing to see.
Most families touring Colonial Williamsburg pack their schedules with visiting the town's 18th century revolutionary sites and re-enactments, and taking some time to hit nearby Busch Gardens Williamsburg, too. But when you're back at the hotel at the end of a day's fun -- and if there's still some energy to spare -- there is lots to keep the gang engaged on property, too.
Pool and Splash Park
During the warmer months, from the beginning of April until roughly the end of October, the large outdoor heated swimming pool is the perfect place to cool down with a swim. There's no lifeguard on duty, but there are plenty of lounge chairs for parents to settle in and watch the kids splash around. In 2014, the hotel added a pirate-themed splash park, with water fountains and a small slide that younger children will adore, as well as cannons for some re-enactments of their own.
The property backs a pretty wooded area that's nice for short walks, and you'll also find the hotel's complimentary mini-golf course tucked into the trees here in the Fun Zone. There are picnic tables nearby, where you can sit outside to enjoy a packed lunch, as well as a large playground in the Fun Zone that has swings, slides and a sand pit for digging around. And there are volleyball and racquetball courts, too, as well as shuffleboard courts and Ping Pong -- all free for guests to use.
When the crowds aren't too overwhelming, Colonial Williamsburg can be great for exploring on two-wheels. You can rent Schwinn bicycles at The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg (take the free shuttle to get there) for $12 per hour, $15 for two hours, $25 for four hours or $40 for eight hours (helmets are included and mandatory).
Colonial Williamsburg Attractions
If, like most guests, you plan to tour Colonial Williamsburg's attractions for a day or more, then you'll be happy to know that guests of Williamsburg Woodlands receive significant discounts on multi-day passes. You can buy your tickets on arrival at the hotel or book them as part of a package.
The historic attractions of Colonial Williamsburg are only about 10 minutes away by foot, and you walk along a pretty walkway with all kinds of signs telling you what you're seeing along the way. The hotel also points guests to a free shuttle service that operates daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. from the Visitor's Center next door.
Colonial Williamsburg has quite a local foodie scene, with atmospheric taverns and restaurants aplenty. And there are many places within a short walk of the hotel where you can feed your family in a welcoming setting that won't break the bank.
For onsite dining at the hotel, the complimentary breakfast buffet is the only meal served. A very generous buffet is available every morning from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in a high-ceilinged room just off the lobby. Kids beeline for the make-your-own-waffles station, always a crowd pleaser, and there are all kinds of cereals, breads, pastries, yogurts, fruits and hot dishes, too (sausage, eggs, fried potatoes) to fill everyone up before a day of exploring.
The hotel's concierge can help you with booking reservations around town (a dinner at a tavern is a must at least one night!) and also recommend nearby restaurants to which you can easily walk or take the shuttle.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wireless Internet is free in all guestrooms, suites and public areas.
Parking is complimentary at the resort in an outdoor lot shared with the Visitor's Center.
Laundry machines and dryers for guest use are available onsite and you can get change and washing powder from reception.
Gift Shop and Grocery Store
There's a grocery store about 5 miles from the hotel and a small gift shop onsite where you can buy things like snacks, juices and sun screen.
There's a small fitness center at the hotel with six machines that will cover your basic cardio and weightlifting needs.
The hotel has a business center in the lobby where guests can print and access the Internet for free during their stay.
The hotel's concierge can recommend a local babysitting service that charges $10 per child, per hour, and will come to your room or suite. Be warned that you'll need to reserve two weeks in advance.
Other Resort Amenities
Being a guest here gets you access to offerings at the other official Colonial Williamsburg properties, too, including things like preferred tennis and tee times.
The Art of Smart Timing
The summer months, especially from mid-June to mid-August, are peak season in Williamsburg and that's also when you'll find Williamsburg Woodlands at its busiest. Warm weather makes the water activities all the more appealing, so count on crowds at the pool and mini-golf range. Outside of summer, holidays are also busy, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break. Basically, the low season only covers two months here -- January and February. For fewer crowds and still-seasonable temperatures, May and especially September into October can be a particularly pleasant time to plan your stay.
During the busier months, the offering of a "daily militia recruitment call" invites you and your entourage to march from your hotel into Colonial Williamsburg to the beat of a live fife and drum band. During the summer, nightly entertainment for families is planned by the pool and might include a clown appearance or a performance by a fife and drum band. And the hotel celebrates the holidays in style with Easter egg hunts and Santa sittings.
It's about a 30-minute drive from the Newport News Williamsburg International Airport to Colonial Williamsburg, and all of the major rental car companies are represented at the airport. The hotel does not arrange shuttle service, but can give you taxi and chauffeur services to call.
The Richmond International Airport offers more domestic connections and is just under an hour from the resort. You can also consider flying into Norfolk International Airport, about 50 minutes away. Alternatively, you can fly into the two major airports in Washington D.C., which are about a bit more than 2.5 hours away.
Free shuttles run daily, every 15 minutes from the Visitor's Center to Colonial Williamsburg, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For Mom and Dad
Take advantage of the hotel's babysitting services and head out for a tasty barbecue dinner right next to the hotel at Huzzah! BBQ Grille or opt for something more romantic at Le Yaca French Restaurant, a long-standing favorite in the area that offers three-course dinners for around $40 per person. For some physical detente, ask the concierge to arrange a day pass (there's a fee) to The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg, a sister property with excellent European-inspired treatments and an indoor and outdoor pool where you can while away a few lovely hours in peace.