In 1902 the Mount Washington Resort opened to much fanfare, instantly becoming one of the grandest vacation spots in the United States. The famous and well-heeled made the trip to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to be pampered by the attentive staff and dazzled by the views. Most famously, the Bretton Woods Conference near the end of World War II established the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
But over the years, the resort lost its luster and allure, almost closing on a number of occasions, and needed its own financial white knight. Enter Celebration Associates, which purchased the property in 2006 with the goal of reclaiming its past splendor.
Under the guidance of two former Pinehurst executives, Mount Washington has undergone $50 million in capital improvements. The renovation included all 200 rooms, the 900-foot wraparound veranda, Great Hall and dining areas. The new construction is the 45,000-square-foot Presidential Wing, which has a spa, conference facility and outdoor pool complex.
Architect Brian Silva reworked the 1915 Donald Ross course (there is also a nine-hole layout). Ross had produced 18 individual hole drawings, but the layout inexplicably never followed those plans. Silva did, conjuring up a challenging 6,638-yard design by melding new holes with old, all of which flow flawlessly along the mountain valley while offering views of the hotel, nearby Mt. Washington and other peaks of the Presidential Range.
Non-golfers can choose from spa treatments, red clay-court tennis, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and a number of winter sports. Where it once only catered to the summer crowd, Mount Washington has been open year-round since 1999—a shining jewel for all seasons.