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Review of the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Wytheville, Virginia

Learn about the rooms, amenities, and why I think this is a great boutique hotel.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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In 2014, the Bolling Wilson Hotel opened on Main Street in Wytheville, Virginia. It was the town’s first – and so far only – boutique hotel. It’s one of Virginia’s most charming boutique hotels with a ground-floor restaurant, comfortable guest rooms, and a rooftop terrace.

I first had the opportunity to visit the hotel during its grand opening in October 2014. It was a pleasant, sunny autumn day. A good crowd assembled for the opening ceremony. And there were still construction materials everywhere.

But when I returned years later to spend a few nights, I found the hotel in impeccable condition. From the spacious lobby to the oddly shaped guest rooms, everything was a slightly elevated experience. And I will never forget watching the sunset on the rooftop terrace.

Read my complete review of the Bolling Wilson Hotel and get ready to book a weekend getaway to Wytheville, Virginia.

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The grand opening of the Bolling Wilson Hotel drew a sizable crowd of eager locals.

History

When U.S. Highway 11 was built in the 1920s, it opened the country’s eastern half to travel. The 1,600-mile highway connected New Orleans to Montreal. But cars weren’t equipped for long-distance driving, meaning if you traveled for business or pleasure, you needed to stop for the night more frequently.

In 1927, the George Wythe Hotel opened on Main Street in Wytheville, Virginia. It became a primary stop for travelers between Roanoke and Tennessee’s Tri-Cities area. During the heyday of the Great American Road Trip, the hotel kept busy with road-tripping families on the Great Lakes to Florida Highway.

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Did You Know | The Francis Marion Hotel opened the same year as the George Wythe Hotel in Marion, Virginia. The Francis Marion Hotel and town were named after famed Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion.

In 1960, Edith Bolling Wilson returned to her hometown for a local ceremony. She stayed at the George Wythe Hotel during her visit. It was the last time she visited Wytheville – she died the following year.

The way people traveled changed when Interstate 81 was completed in the 1960s. Cars were faster, traveling on better roads, and could drive significantly further than in the 1930s. With traffic diverted away from Main Street, the George Wythe Hotel closed in 1973.

The building was home to several banks for almost the next forty years. A drive-thru window was added to one end, and an impressive vault was built in the building’s center. The upper floors were rarely used, falling into disrepair.

In 2010, Bill and Farron Smith bought the building to revitalize downtown Wytheville. The couple purchased the Bolling Building across the street in 1989 and opened the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum in 2008. With the hotel, they hoped to turn Wytheville into a destination.

After a $4.5 million renovation, the Bolling Wilson Hotel opened in 2014.

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Rooms

The Bolling Wilson Hotel has 30 guest rooms spread across the upper 3 floors of the building. The rooms are sometimes narrow, oddly shaped, and have cutouts in the ceiling for the tall windows – a testament to the fact the boutique hotel was built inside the shell of a much smaller 1920s hotel.

There are 7 types of rooms for all kinds of travelers at the Bolling Wilson Hotel:

  • Queen Standard rooms have two queen beds and a walk-in glass shower
  • Queen Deluxe rooms have two queen beds and a tub-shower combination
  • Double Accessible rooms have two beds, wider doorways, and a roll-in shower
  • King Standard rooms have one king bed and a tub-shower combination
  • King Deluxe rooms have one king bed and a walk-in glass shower
  • King Accessible rooms have one king bed, wider doorways, and a roll-in shower
  • King Parlor rooms have one king bed, a comfortable sofa, and a tub-shower combination
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All the guest rooms have a desk, armchair, HD television, and Keurig coffeemaker. The accessible rooms do not have armchairs but instead have a larger floor plan with room to maneuver a wheelchair.

Typical of a boutique hotel, the rooms are decorated more like a home than a hotel. Luxury bedding and mattresses are of a higher quality than those of typical hotels. Lamps feature decorative shades.

Each hotel floor features guest rooms with a theme representative of Edith Bolling Wilson: Orchid Rooms, Canary Rooms, and Bourbon Rooms. Orchids, canaries, and bourbon were some of the First Lady’s favorite things.

I stayed in a King Deluxe room. A leather headboard was attached to the wall above the king-size bed. The armchair in the corner was supremely comfortable and allowed me to relax after a long day of exploring Wytheville. An embroidered pillow, a custom leather binder with hotel information, and a unique desk chair were additional touches to the boutique hotel experience.

And then there was the walk-in glass shower. There’s just something nice about a hotel that ditches the unused tubs in those awkward combinations for a nice walk-in shower.

My favorite feature of the room was the desk. I’m a business traveler, so I need a good desk to type notes from the day and social media work each morning. But the desk could be useful for any type of traveler. Outlets built into the desk and a wall outlet directly above the desk provided four quick and easy places to charge devices.

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Hotel Amenities

No expense was spared in the high-quality amenities. More than anything else, the amenities are the feature that sets boutique hotels apart from traditional ones.

High-speed Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel without an additional charge. I had good signal everywhere, from the ground floor restaurant to my room and the rooftop terrace.

The ground floor featured a spacious common lounge, gift shop, and lobby. The gift shop had travel size toiletries and memorabilia. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day. However, there is no concierge or bellhop.

One of my favorite places in the hotel was the covered entrance. Comfortable couches and armchairs offered a splendid place to enjoy the peacefulness of Wytheville’s Main Street.

Free parking is readily available around the hotel. Angled parking on Main Street is the closest, and a parking lot behind the hotel has plenty of room for guests.

The covered space that once served as the banks’ drive-thru is now a covered side entrance for checking in and out of the boutique hotel. I thought it was a fantastic reuse of the building’s features.

The Bolling Wilson Hotel is pet-friendly for an additional fee of $50 per stay.

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Graze on Main

Since opening in 2014, Grave on Main has become Wytheville’s top-rated restaurant. The restaurant has a southern atmosphere with wood floors, pendant lights, and comfortable high-backed chairs.

The marble bar is the barrier between guests and the impressive selection of bourbons. It’s not a bourbon bar with a tremendous selection, but the glass shelves are stocked with the highest quality bourbons. \

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Appetizers include a charcuterie board, BBQ chicken flatbread, and a traditional southern fried green tomato. Entrees include lamb chops, steak, country-fried chicken, and the Graze Burger. My favorite menu item was the Lemon Alfredo Linguine – linguine pasta, alfredo sauce infused with lemon, garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and topped with your choice of chicken or shrimp.

Did You Know | Edith Bolling Wilson became the First Lady during the early days of WWI when rationing was in effect throughout the country. She replaced the White House groundskeepers with sheep to save some taxpayer money. She donated the wool to the American Red Cross when the sheep were ready for shearing. Graze on Main was named after this quirky part of the First Lady’s history.

Save room for dessert because you’ll want a slice of the homemade cakes. The double-layer carrot cake and Reese’s Peanut Butter cheesecake will excite your tastebuds. During my visit, I ordered a slice of the Dr. Pepper Cake they no longer serve. It was dense, weighed twice as much as it looked, and tasted five times better. I hope they bring this amazing dessert back someday.

The wine menu has a good selection of reds, whites, and rosé. The bar typically has about a dozen craft beers on tap. And you can always order a craft cocktail. My go-to is a whiskey sour – and the bartender made it with fresh lemon juice for the best taste.

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Perch Rooftop Terrace

My favorite place in the Bolling Wilson Hotel was the Perch Rooftop Terrace. It’s the only rooftop seating in Wytheville.

The views of the local mountains from the rooftop terrace are almost tear-inducing – especially during sunset when I visited. Comfortable outdoor seating surrounds fire pits, perfect for chilly spring and autumn evenings.

Visitors can get a drink or bottle of wine from the bar at Graze on Main and take it to the rooftop terrace.

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The Bottom Line

Wytheville is a great place to spend a weekend in the southern Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by outdoor recreation and scenic drives. And the Bolling Wilson Hotel is the best place to stay during that weekend getaway.

The boutique hotel’s guest rooms are moderately priced, about the same as a Hampton Inn. But the amenities like on-site restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, and luxury bedding gives the boutique hotel more value for the money spent.

Guest rooms are perfect for short or extended visits. It doesn’t matter how long you stay, the daily housekeeping and walk-in showers in some rooms will be wonderful day after day.

When you enter the Bolling Wilson Hotel, you feel like you’ve entered a home. Gorgeous artwork adorns the walls. High-quality furnishings are in every room. It doesn’t feel like a sterile hotel but more like renting a luxury house.

The bottom line is that the Bolling Wilson Hotel is an affordable, luxurious place to spend nights sleeping in a historic building with an old-world feel but all the modern amenities.

Book your stay now at Booking.com or Expedia.com

Price | $150-$160 per night
Suitability | Solo travelers, couples, and handicapped
Address | 170 East Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382
Phone | 276-223-2333
Website | https://bollingwilsonhotel.com

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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