RESTORED BEDFORD SPRINGS REOPENS

It was never quite in the same league as the Greenbrier or The Homestead, but in its heyday, the Bedford Springs Hotel in Bedford, PA was one of the top family resorts on the East Coast. A partnership led by Cleveland-based developer The Ferchill Group recently spent $120 million to restore, expand and reopen the historic resort. Houston-based Benchmark Hospitality operates the property.

Like other similar grand resorts, the property was developed in the late 1700s around natural mineral springs that lured guests for their supposed healing powers. Those same eight springs now form the centerpiece of the resort's 30,000-square-foot Springs Eternal Spa. The property's restored golf course also has historical significance. Three legendary golf course architects — Spencer Oldham, A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross — were involved at different times in the design of the layout, and several of the holes are thought to be among the oldest in the U.S.

The resort isn't all about history, however. The renovation project encompassed restoration of the hotel's public spaces, expansion of the guestrooms and the addition of a 20,000-square-foot convention center. The hotel's current room count includes 134 queens, 81 double/doubles and two hospitality suites. Other amenities include four restaurants, a tavern and a lobby bar.

Opened in 1796, the Bedford Springs hosted an array of presidents, kings and other dignitaries through its history. During World War II, the property served as both a Navy communications training center and home to 200 captured Japanese diplomats and their families. The resort closed in 1986 and for a number of years was one of the most endangered sites on the National Registry of Historic Places.

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