As I continued to travel, I realized there were few things I needed in a hotel. A safe place to spend the night, a comfortable bed, and a warm shower are the bare necessities. Quiet air conditioning, plenty of outlets, and a big desk are nice additions. And a great hotel includes a hot breakfast, secure access to the rooms, and a friendly staff. I’m always excited to see crispy bacon and scrambled eggs in the morning.
I found all of these at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
Blacksburg is most commonly known as the home of Virginia Tech, but that’s not the only reason to visit. Located in the New River Valley and surrounded by the gentle peaks of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands, visitors can enjoy scenic drives, outdoor recreation, and exploring small towns. And, of course, a walk across the Drill Field and around the beautiful campus.
That’s why I checked into the university-owned hotel for three nights. I had a busy itinerary of shopping, hiking, driving, dining, and I was particularly excited to visit the Duck Pond. Every night, I returned to my room, slid into the comfy bed, and fell asleep before I could count even three sheep.
The Inn at Virginia Tech
The university owns the Inn at Virginia Tech, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a student or instructor or staff or even a visiting speaker to book a night. You don’t even have to be a Hokie. It’s okay just to be a regular Joe or Jane looking for a great place to stay.
Like most campus buildings, the hotel features the iconic Hokie Stone and neo-gothic architectural style. When the land grant university was founded in 1872, the buildings were brick. But when Dr. Joseph Eggleston was elected president of the university in 1913, he contracted a firm led by alum J. Ambler Johnston to create a cohesive architectural plan for the campus that adopted a Collegiate Gothic style. The iconic Hokie Stone – a locally quarried limestone – is the featured building material across campus and at the hotel.
The Inn at Virginia Tech is more than just a hotel. It’s a conference center, restaurant, bar, meeting space, and hub of activity for campus visitors and events. The location on the western edge of campus, along the four-lane Prices Fork Road, is just minutes from US Highway 460 that quickly transports guests to Interstate 81. Featuring 147 rooms split between two queens and a single king, there is almost certainly a room type you need for an adventure.
Tapping the card on the lock, I swung the door open. Every time I enter a new hotel room, I feel like I am pushing through the back of the wardrobe and entering the land of Narnia. What will I find once the door has opened? Will it be a magical land of comfort or a hellish den of despair?
Warm sunlight beamed through two large windows, negating the need for lamps during daylight hours. The room was a study in earth tones with a beige-colored carpet, cream-colored wall, and brown-colored accent. A vibrant red – almost a Hokie maroon – was splashed here and there on a throw pillow, a bed runner, and a chair.
The furniture – a chest of drawers, a big desk, two nightstands, and a headboard – were made of a high-quality cherry-colored veneer. Black metal lamps with outlets in the base featured square white shades, except the solitary floor lamp in the corner with a round shade. Two armchairs offered a rare chance in a moderately-priced hotel to sit somewhere other than the bed or desk – and the desk featured a comfortable ergonomic chair.
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The 147 guest rooms at the Inn at Virginia Tech are divided into three different layouts. The Queen Rooms featured two queen beds with a single nightstand in between. The King Rooms featured a single king bed with a nightstand on either side. Both of these room types included a large L-shaped desk, one or two armchairs, a mini fridge, and a television hung on the wall.
The pinnacle of overnight accommodation was the Deluxe King Parlor Room. The spacious room featured a king bed, a large sofa, leather armchairs, and a round table with four chairs. The desk was smaller, but the mini-fridge and television were the same as other rooms.
The air conditioning was controlled from a digital thermostat, and air quietly blew into the room from registers mounted high on the wall. The bathroom was more than adequate, although the hotel still featured the antiquated tub/shower combo – when was the last time you took a bath in a hotel?
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Stepping inside the spacious lobby, I was greeted with leather couches and chairs surrounding a fireplace. It was too early in the year for a fire, but I could imagine sitting on the comfortable couch with a glass of wine from the lounge enjoying every minute of the evening.
The Inn at Virginia Tech spared no expense on the amenities. Free wifi was available throughout the building – my room near the end of the hallway still had a strong signal. Bucking the trend of other luxury hotel chains, there was no charge for increased internet speeds. The two electric vehicle charging stations were an interesting amenity, catering to a new class of road trippers with electric vehicles and hybrids.
Access to all the hotel’s rooms was exclusively through the lobby. The exterior doors were locked every evening, requiring the guest to swipe their room key for entry. This level of security is a nice feature in any hotel. Pro travel tip: this is why I always ask for an additional keycard to leave in my car just in case I lose the first.
Preston’s Restaurant & Continental Divide Lounge
Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical college. From this history, it is only fitting that Preston’s Restaurant serves farm-to-table meals. Black Angus beef and vegetables come directly from farms scattered throughout the New River Valley, and seafood is delivered weekly from Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay.
Preston’s Restaurant is a full-service restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at The Inn at Virginia Tech. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow daylight to bathe the dining area, creating an invigorating atmosphere for a savory meal. The veneer topped tables, and padded chairs were comfortable enough to enjoy a lengthy meal dribbled with bits of conversation in between bites.
The menu was printed on a sheet of paper because it changes almost daily. It’s sparse at best, with only a few appetizers and entrees. Breakfast typically includes made-to-order eggs, roasted diced potatoes, roasted apples in a brown sugar sauce, and sausage links. Dinner is usually a bit more varied, with meals ranging from poultry to fish and beef. The Continental Divide Signature Burger was an 8-ounce ground brisket and short rib patty topped with smoked cheddar and bacon onion jam and served with hand-cut fries.
The Continental Divide Lounge – named after the boundary that passes through Blacksburg – is a cozy and comfortable bar. A few small tables are scattered around a short bar top with high stools. Drinks are served late, and a limited menu is available from the restaurant.
Road Tripping at The Inn at Virginia Tech
Ten whole minutes had passed from when I exited Interstate 81 until I pulled into the roundabout in front of The Inn at Virginia Tech. Ever since the four-lane limited-access US Highway 460 bypass was finished more than a decade ago, the travel time from interstate to campus has dropped from 30-40 minutes to a pleasant ten minutes.
The Inn at Virginia Tech features comfortable rooms with every kind of amenity a road tripper could want – except maybe a swimming pool. Safe and secure inside the hotel, the rooms offer two queens or a single king bed for traveling families or friends. With an on-site restaurant serving three meals a day, you won’t have to worry about heading out for that first or last meal of the day.
This was the perfect place for me to stay for three nights while exploring the New River Valley. I could walk across campus and drive to everything else, never having to spend more than half an hour in the car. At the end of the day, weary from hiking and shopping and walking and loving every minute of the adventure, the hotel was the perfect place to retire and blissfully rest for tomorrow’s adventures.