disclosure: We received a discounted rate and a free upgrade at the Oakhurst Inn. Regardless, all opinions are totally my own.
Our recent 11 day 3,400 mile road trip provided many overnight stays at some form or fashion of inn or hotel along the way. Planning for this trip occurred well before we packed anything in the car. I will admit that I am super duper picky when it comes to accommodations, and my husband is more than aware of it. So he turned the hotel planning over to me. I just had to let him know where we were going, stay within some kind of a budget, make sure that we moved our son into his apartment in New Haven, Connecticut somewhere along the way, and let him (my husband) plot our adventure on the map so that he could drive it.(Easier said than done!)
“Super duper picky” means you do a ton of research before making a reservation anywhere. From Trip Advisor (the good, the bad, and the ugly) to Expedia to google images and everything in between, I did my homework. So when I finally committed to a reservation at a place, it meant that it had already been thoroughly checked out…by me…the picky hotel girl.
When I found Charlottesville, Virginia’s Oakhurst Inn I knew I had hit the jackpot. It passed all my tests – great reviews, wood floors, good interior design, minimal bed linens,(yes, that is really a requirement for me and no I am not crazy 😉 ) interesting architecture, and even better – it was a relatively new place having opened on January 1, 2014. But there was also much more that made me choose it.
Our first day on the road (and the night we would be in Charlottesville) just happened to be our son’s 25th birthday, and the interior of Oakhurst looked exactly like something I thought he would like. He loves coffee shops, and if a coffee shop could grow up and be an inn, it would be the Oakhurst Inn. From the photos I could see of it, the inn had that kind of vibe – cool, urban, eco smart. And even better than that – Oakhurst has their own cafe and coffee shop! Yes, I had hit the jackpot with them (but we didn’t tell our son where we would be staying so that it would be a delightful surprise.)
Now let me share a little about the background of the inn. Oakhurst is really a group of 4 buildings on a circle in a lovely historic residential neighborhood. Dr. Paul Barringer, former president of Virginia Tech, built one of the buildings in the 1920’s. The owners lived on the 1st and lower levels of Oakhurst House 100 (the building in the top 2 photos of this post.) The other entrance to the house led to the upstairs. This floor was for boarding medical students who worked at UVA hospital. Later Dr. Barringer had another building constructed (the one in the next photo) to provide more housing. The buildings actually served as dorms until 2012.
The other 2 buildings of the Oakhurst Inn were former homes of college professors. We stayed in the one pictured below. In 2007, a group of investors, including owner Bill Chapman, purchased the 4 buildings and began the 7 year project to redesign, renovate, restore, and turn the buildings into the beauties they are today. Getting approval for all the plans took several years, and the actual construction took 18 months.
I mentioned that the buildings are on a circle in a residential neighborhood. The interior of that circle is a beautifully landscaped park area.
The inn borders the University of Virginia campus. In fact, you can see some of UVA’s apartments here between 2 of the inn’s buildings. There is a small conference room in that complex that Oakhurst often rents out for those who need such a facility when staying there.
Okay, enough of all the info. I want you to see the inside of this glorious place! So come on in their plum colored door to check in. (Note that beautiful potted plant there. It was one of many on their property. Kudos to their landscape person!)
I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of “at home” that you get when you stay there. It truly is like being in a friend’s house. Soooo very welcoming. Each of their buildings has a library on each floor for a common space. Our son is an avid reader, so this was yet another reason for choosing Oakhurst. The room below is beside their office where you check in. (You can see it through the door there.)
Each common room has a working fireplace, a wine cooler stocked with bottled water and San Pellegrino sparkling juices, and a Nespresso coffee machine available for guests 24/7. (And there is no additional fee for the use of these. It is included in your rate….just in case you were wondering.)
We checked in, unloaded our car, and made our way up the stairs to our room. (If you have mobility issues I would recommend requesting a first floor room. The stairs are authentically steep and narrow in these old houses.) We had a suite with a sleeper sofa because our son was traveling with us. (He was afraid my husband and I would snore so loudly it would keep him awake. No problem. The Oakhurst Inn has equipped each room with a white noise machine. We gave it to our son to use while we were there, and he had no problem whatsoever sleeping.) I was expecting one room with a bed and a sleeper sofa in it. Boy was I wrong!
We entered our room on the second floor through our sitting room with the cute patterned ottomans….
and nice desk and chair…
and there was a full length mirror hanging in a hallway that led to….
our bedroom…an entirely separate space!
All of the beds in the inn were designed by Kenny Ball Antiques and Accessories and built out of cherry by local craftsman, Tim Fisher. I loved those drop down tables and the ample plugs for charging phones and all the electronics we travel with! Using those beautiful brass wall sconces gave the “table area” more free space. Super smart.
The bathroom was simple but classic luxury with a fabulous walk in shower.
Loved the Malin+Goetz products in the shower. All 3 of us wanted to take the bottle of peppermint shampoo with us!
Our door was the one on the right in the photo below. If you walked right past that bench, and went across the hall…
you entered the library common space for our floor. I love how the fabric from the lumbar pillow and ottomans in our suite was repeated on the hallway bench and the throw pillows and ottomans in this room. It almost made me a fan of orange! There were more charming brass sconces in this room as well.
This library was full of interesting books, and because no one else on our floor was using the room, (truly) we just left our door open, and it felt like it was part of our suite. I told you it was like staying at a friend’s wonderful home.
I want you to notice all the Roman shades in the inn. This detail will be important in a future post.(And of course you can notice the old phonograph player below!)
There’s my husband enjoying an espresso at the desk by the fireplace in the library.
Just look at all those treats for guests! No detail has been overlooked at Oakhurst Inn.
We went out for a birthday dinner that night at a restaurant in Charlottesville. (A post is coming up about it very soon.) When we returned, the kind folks at the inn had left their nightly package of delicious ginger cookies and this plate of goodies with a card for our son when they came in to do their evening turndown and set up of the sofa bed with linens. (When I contacted them about reservations, I mentioned that it would be our son’s birthday, and I would love it, if possible, if they could do a little something for the occasion. They surprised him by greeting him with “Happy Birthday!” when we registered in the office, and I had assumed that was all they would do.) I think they came through nicely; don’t you?
We all enjoyed the cupcakes tremendously (and the cookies) and our stay at the Oakhurst Inn. Our son says it was the best place on our entire trip. Remember this is the son who said, “Mom, I want my apartment functional – not decorated.” Well, when we were about to leave the inn he asked if we could make his apartment in New Haven look like “his” room at Oakhurst!I’m afraid that didn’t happen, but at least he did notice that decorated can be functional, comfortable, and welcoming too.
(He did share his birthday cupcakes.)
And this isn’t all there is to see of the Oakhurst Inn! I want to show you the inn’s cafe, our delicious breakfast there, one of their other libraries, and one more room when we come back for part 2. So be sure to watch for that post later this week!
Until next time…