What We Love
- Unique yet understated design reflects the campus culture and local history
- Convenient access to downtown, just a mile away, and steps from the UVA grounds
- Free bikes, in kicky orange and complete with baskets, make for fun exploring
- The Sheepdog coffee shop offers La Colombe coffee and pressed juices from the Juice Laundry, as well as cider donuts and artisanal breads, cheeses and honey
What To Know
- The hotel is in the final stages of a renovation; some kinks are still being ironed out
- The rooftop restaurant is scheduled to open in early 2016; there’s no on-site bar
- Parking costs $7 per day; there’s no self-parking
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Talk about too cool for school. It’s hard to top the beautifully curated style brimming from this 135-room property, located just steps from the University of Virginia. A former budget hotel, the space has been beautifully transformed, starting with the eye-catching lobby, which is anchored by a card catalog turned check-in desk that also houses a vintage train display. On the second floor a decked-out game room with ping-pong and shuffleboard tables and an outdoor television invites laid-back lounging. The airy rooms and suites, meanwhile, feature unique decor that makes clever references to UVA and Charlottesville culture, from a vintage print of a raven (Edgar Allan Poe once attended the university) to the Wahoo sculptures hanging above the beds, a wink to the popular nickname of the school’s teams. A rooftop restaurant is in the works, scheduled to open in early 2016, but until then there’s the Sheepdog coffee shop in the lobby, which offers La Colombe coffee and pressed juices from the Juice Laundry, as well as cider donuts and artisanal breads, cheeses and honey.
In the Area
A history lesson sure to delight wine lovers can be found along the nearby Monticello Wine Trail, which features some of the best vineyards in Virginia’s exploding wine industry. Grab a picnic lunch of local cheese and charcuterie at the Salt artisanal market; a fitting spot to start tasting is at Jefferson Vineyards, which traces its roots to 1774, when Thomas Jefferson got his start in winemaking. Other recommended stops among the 30 wineries include the eco-friendly Blenheim Vineyards, owned by musician Dave Matthews, and Stinson Vineyards, whose father-daughter team specializes in small production French-style wines.
How to Get There
I wasn't blown away by this property. The concept is charming with the university themed accommodations. Service was fine but we didn't feel overly welcomed. More like we were another guest to deal with. We were put on the top floor where they had big fans in the hall drying carpet. Talk about your white noise. The beds were comfy but our air temp never cooled down overnight even though we had adjusted the thermostat so not the best night's sleep. We only stayed one night so didn't get a chance to have someone check on the air and we didn't eat at any of the restaurants while we were there. Perhaps we would have a different opinion if we had stayed longer.
I just got home from a stay at The Graduate for a family wedding. I was not at all impressed with this property from the minute I checked in, which is unfortunate, because as someone who appreciates “boutique” hotels, I was really looking forward to saying here.
Front desk was completely disorganized. My parents arrived before I did, and when they checked in, the woman at the front desk said that she would reserve the room next to theirs for me (I didn’t care if we were next door to each other or not — simply a nice to have). When I arrived, my dad let the gentleman who was now manning front desk know about his previous conversation, but he completely ignored everything he said, and put me on a completely different floor. I did not argue it, because as I mentioned, it didn’t matter to us either way, but they need to get their stories straight there.
The room itself was a decent size, so I really can’t complain about that, but I found the decor to be weird. Bonus points for having a Keurig in the room. My safe did not work. The door was locked, and it was missing one of the numbers. Couldn’t use it the entire time, as no one ever came to fix it. My biggest disappointment was that the bathroom was DISGUSTING. The floor was so gross — my freshman college dorm bathroom was cleaner. I literally didn’t even want to walk on the floor in my bare feet. The floors are black and white tile, but the tile was SO dirty. The shower had no shelf to put your own toiletries, razor, wash cloth etc — completely non functional. And what’s with the dispensers in the shower? I was happy to see Malin & Goetz products, but at almost $300/night, I’d expect individual toiletries, replenished with each new arrival.
Rooftop restaurant is sub par. It had the strangest menu, and service wasn’t great. There are a TON of food options close by, so I’d recommend going elsewhere to eat. The lobby coffee shop had a good coffee (La Colombe), but there were literally NO healthy options for food — everything was loaded with sugar and fat. I went to juice bar down the street for breakfast instead.
I’d imagine this is super convenient for anyone visiting UVA — and it has a TON of potential, but they really need to improve their service and cleanliness. I honestly felt like I was staying in a college dorm (which probably would have been nicer!) My parents spent one night at the Draftsman as well, which is a couple of blocks away and brand new — they said it was SUPER nice. I wish we would have booked our full stay there instead.
This is the hardest type of review to write because there really wasn't anything special to write about, either good or bad. First impressions were positive...very trendy space with eclectic decor, friendly staff and in a great location. The room was nice and the bed was comfortable. But that's it. Nothing really stood out as exceptional, especially at almost $300 per night. In fact, the few very minor negatives were magnified by this. At this price point I would expect the room to be flawless, but ours had a huge wrinkle in the carpet that we kept tripping on. There were also significant mildew stains in the caulking at the bottom of the shower. Normally I wouldn't be nit-picky about stuff like this, but again, for the price I expected better. And what's with the TV channels? No HGTV? Really? And, it turns out, that great location is a catch 22. Lots of bars and restaurants within blocks which is nice. But Charlottesville seems to have a homeless problem. In the 2 blocks it took to walk to Starbucks one evening at about 9pm (because the Graduate's cafe seemed to always be closed) I passed several people panhandling. Certainly not the hotel's fault, but just a heads-up.
Bottom line...it wasn't all negative, but I wouldn't stay there again.
When it comes to the people running it, this Hotel is, frankly, a mess. Not what you expect for over $200 a night. No free coffee in morning and the coffee/bagel bar is not open at 6 am. This Hotel charged me first night fee twice and I complained and still have not gotten a refund (2 weeks later). UVA students sometimes study in coffee bar area, but often there is no place to sit. Their printer was always broken, so I could not get a printed copy of my bill. A spacey 20-something took my original reservation for 4 nights, but when I happened to check on it a week later (no email confirmation),I had no reservation.yes, location is good, but Hampton Inn is two blocks away and you will not be likely to have these problems there.
This is a great hotel for visiting UVA. It is conveniently located adjacent to the campus. You can walk nearly anywhere on campus within minutes. The rooms were nice, not extravagant. There is a nice bar at the top with a great view of the campus.