Last week, I had the opportunity to stay at the acclaimed Tides Inn in Irvington, VA, and long story short: I loved every minute of it. This hotel has been on my Virginia Bucket List for a few years now, and I’m so excited that their team was able to host me and Tom for an experience we will never forget!
Tides Inn in Irvington
This year, the Tides Inn will be open in January, and I personally think now is a great time to book a getaway to this charming Northern Neck resort. I was surprised at how many things we were able to do in the off-season and how much I loved staying here in the middle of winter.
The Tides Inn: Getting There & Getting Around
The Tides Inn is about a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., a two-hour drive from the Hampton Roads area, and a little over an hour away from Richmond. The drive was super easy, with little traffic, and we crossed over some pretty picturesque bridges to get to the hotel. If you’re lucky enough to own (or charter!) a boat, the Tides Inn does have a marina, and you can dock your boat there overnight.
For those folks that wish to fly in to explore the property, I’d recommend flying into the Richmond International Airport (RIC) and renting a car to get you the rest of the way.
There’s not much public transit around the inn, and I would definitely suggest having a car with you to get you to the property. If you want to explore the town of Irvington, the Tides Inn also has bikes to rent so that you can leave your car parked and get some fresh air!
The Tides Inn: Room Renovations that Should Be On Your Radar
One major reason why you should visit the Tides Inn this winter is that they have recently debuted a major, multi-million dollar renovation, which includes refreshed guestrooms, four new luxury suites, and new engaging programming.
We got to stay in their new Ashburn Suite, which sleeps up to four people and has some of the most stunning water views. This suite features all-new furnishings, a spacious living area with a sleeper sofa, a king-size bed, and a bathroom with double vanities and a double soaking tub.
This room felt modern, fresh, and luxurious. And to be honest, it was the perfect place to sleep in and enjoy the bay views! If you’re looking for a special getaway for you and a loved one, I’d highly recommend upgrading to the Ashburn Suite.
The Tides Inn: The Spa and Fitness Center
Don’t worry: you can definitely keep up your wellness routine while you’re staying at the Tides Inn!
I was very impressed with the Tides Inn’s fitness center. Last year, they upgraded the fitness center with modern TechnoGym fitness center equipment, featuring two Peloton Bikes. In the winter, they offer a Wake Up Wellness Yoga class, and it was one of my favorite gentle flow classes I’ve taken to date. It was a great way to ease into the morning, and I felt restored and focused for the rest of the day!
I also was able to squeeze in a visit to the Tides Inn Spa during my visit as well. Tom and I both opted for deep tissue massages, and we were very impressed with the level of service and hospitality. It was calm, tranquil, and the massage therapists could get out some of the toughest knots we had! I was also very impressed with their safety procedures: temperature checks were conducted upon check-in, and they did a fantastic job with staggering appointments to minimize contact. I also kept my mask on throughout the entire massage.
The Tides Inn: An Authentic Chesapeake Bay Dining Experience
One of the main reasons why I was so excited about our visit to the Tides Inn? The dining!
If you like seafood, this is the spot for you. At the Tides Inn, you can get an authentic Chesapeake Bay dining experience that you’ll remember for years to come. Some of the restaurants and experiences that are available in the winter include:
- Chesapeake Restaurant & Terrace: The Chesapeake Restaurant & Terrace is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Here, you can get classic American cuisine and seafood favorites. The menu changes seasonally, but we were really pleased with their fish of the day options, the Crab Cake Benedict, and the baked Rappahannock Oysters. Really, you can’t go wrong here — looking forward to coming back and trying out new seasonal menu items!
- Bourbon Tasting: We also enjoyed a private bourbon tasting at the Chesapeake Restaurant. At this tasting, we sampled a couple of Virginia-made whiskeys and bourbon from Kentucky as well. They also supply plenty of snacks for your tasting, and I loved learning about how certain foods will enhance the flavor of the bourbon. At the end of the experience, we received an Old-Fashioned made with our bourbon of choice. It was a great way to learn more about bourbon and sample some local whiskeys!
- Chef’s Kitchen Experience: One of the many highlights of our trip was the Chef’s Kitchen experience. We were able to sit down with the acclaimed Chef Pete Woods and have the oyster tasting of our dreams! We tasted a couple of different Virginia oysters, and Chef Pete showed us how to create the best homemade cocktail sauce and mignonettes to pair with the oysters. Plus, we learned a lot about why Chesapeake Bay oysters are so special!
The Tides Inn offers different Chef’s Kitchen experiences seasonally, so make sure to give them a call to see what options are available during your visit!
The Tides Inn: Things to Do at the Resort in the Winter – Amenities & Experiences
The Tides Inn debuted their new Maker Space last year, and I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a couple of classes in the space during my visit. The classes that they offer vary seasonally, so make sure to check their website to see what is available during your visit!
- Pinot and Pottery Class: Another one of our trip’s highlights was the Pinot and Pottery class. We were able to sip on our choice of Pinor Noir or Pinot Grigio and learn basic pottery skills from an expert. Our class was enjoyable, and both Tom and I were surprised at how quickly we picked up the skill. We definitely aren’t pottery pros, but we were able to create some gorgeous pieces!
You can also have your creations touched up, painted and fired, and sent to your home for a small fee. We’re receiving our ceramics in a few weeks, and I’ll make sure to show you the end result over on my Instagram Stories!
- Oyster Jewelry Class: One class we really enjoyed was the Oyster Jewelry Class. We learned from oyster jewelry expert, Marylou McCrosky, how to craft our own handmade oyster necklaces. In this class, you’re able to pick from oysters from all around Virginia and customize your necklace to fit your style. I opted for some rose gold accents for my necklace, and Tom picked leather and silver details for his.
We love how these came out, and I’m excited to have two new special jewelry pieces in my collection!
- Complimentary Bike Rentals: Since we were on vacation mode, we didn’t want to go back to our car until it was time to checkout. However, if you do want to get some exercise in or explore the town of Irvington, the Tides Inn does have complimentary bike rentals available. If you’re going into town, some places are closed during the winter, so make sure to ask the concierge for recommendations!
The Tides Inn: Final Thoughts
Overall, we had a great experience, and I definitely plan on coming back to visit soon. The hospitality here was next level, I loved the number of amenities they had, and they had plenty of things to do even in the off-season. The Tides Inn is truly a (not so hidden) gem!
Another bonus to going to the Tides Inn during the off-season: you can enjoy discounted room rates, and there are fewer people at the resort, so you can social distance with ease. I also think the clientele was fantastic as well, and everyone was respectful of wearing masks and keeping their distance.
In the summer, you can partake in golf and water activities, and in October/November, they have an Oyster Academy that’s been on my radar. But really, any time of year is a good time to visit the Tides Inn (except for when they’re closed in February-Mid-March, of course!)
Have you been to the Tides Inn in Irvington before? Let me know your experience in the comments below, and check out more Virginia Travel Ideas here!
Photos by Tom McGovern
Thank you to the Tides Inn for hosting me on this experience! All thoughts and opinions are my own.