Some of my clients who are combining their real estate search with a vacation have been choosing to stay at one of the Charlottesville area boutique hotels and inns. Below are some of my favorite local places to dine or visit. If you want ideas for places to stay, things to do, and where to eat, I am happy to provide suggestions to accommodate a variety of tastes.
History combines with luxury at the Clifton Inn, a charming upscale European-style boutique hotel, restaurant, and wedding venue. The Inn is set among lovely old trees and beautiful gardens, scenery which lends a serene grandeur to a dinner on the patio or a sunset stroll. It is located near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and in fact it was first built by Jefferson’s son-in-law Thomas Mann. The Clifton Inn is a perfect spot where visitors and locals gather to meet friends on the terrace for drinks or for an elegant meal in the dining room. Seasonal menus at their 1799 restaurant feature organic vegetables and herbs from the Clifton’s own gardens.
Guests who choose to enjoy overnight accommodations have a delightful selection of cottages and suites, all charming and elegantly historic. As one of Charlottesville’s most popular wedding venues, Clifton Inn even has a honeymoon cottage on the grounds. The Inn’s location offers guests proximity to Virginia’s wine and horse country, and is convenient to Charlottesville’s entertainment and amenities.
In the center of Charlottesville are the streets where Thomas Jefferson used to walk to the courthouse. The Inn at Court square is across from the historic Court Square Park. This boutique hotel is comprised of two beautifully restored houses. The Federal style house, c.1785, is the oldest existing house in downtown Charlottesville. The second with its rare Mansard roof dates from 1918. Both are charmingly decorated with period antiques, which often are available for purchase.
The Inn has 10 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites with private bathrooms. Many of the rooms offer fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Guests enjoy elegant Southern style breakfasts; the dining room is also available to host private functions.
The Inn at Court Square presents a wonderful opportunity to experience a bit of historic Charlottesville, yet it is only a block away from the downtown pedestrian mall and Charlottesville’s vibrant restaurant scene.
Even from a distance, the Inn at Willow Grove provides a tempting hillside view of southern grandeur. The manor house at Willow Grove Plantation dates from 1778 and additional structures on the property originally included a schoolhouse, a smokehouse, a weaving house, and a spring house. The huge Jeffersonian columns were added to the manor home as part of a balcony addition in the mid 1800’s. All of the property was tastefully renovated by 2010 to provide luxurious boutique hotel resort accommodations that include a Forbes 4-star rated restaurant …. sure to please even the most discerning guests. There are several dining locations in addition to the main dining room, and among those is my favorite, the cozy Pub where locals and visitors relax in its congenial comfortable atmosphere.
Accommodations inside the main hotel include elegantly appointed rooms with fireplaces, soaking tubs and private balconies. The Tenant House Cottage offers a more casual option with its two bedrooms and Creekside Cottage provides 5 unique bedrooms and luxury suites. The adorable Butlers Cottage is a cozy 1-bedroom retreat located in a quiet corner of the gardens. If you have the time, don’t miss The Mill House Spa, a fitness facility with a saltwater pool. It’s easy to see why The Inn at Willow Grove is a popular wedding venue as well.
A quirk, as defined in the dictionary, is a unique, odd, and sometimes charming trait that makes a person stand out from the crowd. It is the perfect name for Charlottesville’s Quirk Hotel, Quirk Cafe, and Art Gallery.
The Quirk Hotel which is located in downtown Charlottesville was inspired by the Quirk Art Gallery in Richmond. The hotel features 80 guest rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of the town and the distant mountains. In juxtaposition to its modern structure and contemporary art, the hotel also encompasses two adjacent 19th century homes that are rich in local history. There are several bars and dining options, a full fitness center, and its signature quirk: an interesting bi-level art gallery with rotating exhibits and classes.
Quirk also hosts meetings, events, and receptions in its special settings that range from traditional ballrooms to a rooftop restaurant and outdoor lawn area. There is something to please everyone in this uniquely artistic venue.
Located across the street from the health facilities of the University of Virginia Medical complex, the Oakhurst Inn was formerly three Craftsman-era residences that have been tastefully renovated to provide 36 guest rooms and meeting spaces. It’s a quiet location that’s a convenient walking distance to much of the university property. “upgrades and designs were completed after an 18-month renovation, and the Oakhurst began welcoming guests in 2014.
There are amenities to make your visit easy and comfortable. The Oakhurst Cafe and Breakfast Bar serves breakfast and lunch daily, and there’s also the cozy Chateau Lobby Bar that serves everything from cocktails to smoothies in a warm inviting atmosphere. You might want to take your refreshments with you while you relax beside their sparkling saltwater swimming pool.
Do you know what was happening between 1822 and 1826? During that period there were only 23 states, Ulysses Grant and Harriet Tubman were born, the Last of The Mohicans was first published, the first boat sailed the Erie Canal, and the Rotunda was built at the University of Virginia.
And also during that time, the architect James Dinsmore built the inn that became Charlottesville’s historic Dinsmore House. The same bricks and mortar used in the nearby university Rotunda were also used to build the townhouse at Dinsmore Inn.
The Dinsmore House has had many changes over the years in its transition from a colonial B&B to a full service boutique inn and restaurant. A recent addition is the Farm Bell Kitchen restaurant which serves a popular Southern-inspired brunch each day. There are nine guest rooms, each upscale and tastefully appointed with private baths. Located near the University, Dinsmore House is convenient to all of the downtown shops and events., and it offers you the opportunity to experience colonial style combined with modern luxury.
As interesting histories go…. the South Street Inn, in the heart of Charlottesville, carries one of the most distinctive histories among Virginia’s inns. It is currently comprised of two homes, the first of which was built in 1856 and sold to a close friend of Thomas Jefferson. It subsequently became a girls’ finishing school, then a boarding house, and at one stage it was even a brothel.
There are currently 24 rooms and suites altogether that are available to the public. Each of the comfortable rooms is furnished in tasteful period appointments. All rooms have private baths and some rooms offer a whirlpool or fireplace or canopy bed. All rooms include a continental breakfast with fresh baked goods and fresh juices.
At the South Street Inn you’ll experience southern elegance only two blocks from Charlottesville’s downtown mall and entertainment center… nearly 60 restaurants and shopping within walking distance! This is an ideal way to enjoy local history in a most convenient setting.
No list of Central Virginia inns would be complete without the elegant impressive Keswick Hall, which includes a beautiful resort complex, elegant dining, and luxurious room accommodations. After 3 years of extensive renovations and a large addition, the hotel has now reopened.
Delightful dining at Keswick Hall is created at its Marigold Restaurant, which calls itself “rustic chic” and features locally sourced and organic fresh produce. The restaurant can accommodate 130 indoor seats, 70 outdoor seats, and 20 bar seats. Or if you prefer, there is in-room dining prepared by acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Prepare to be pampered if you stay overnight in any of their luxurious guest rooms or suites… all are tastefully appointed and some offer balconies or terraces with views of the 18-hole golf course.