Driving is my preferred method of travel and always has been. Between the Northeast and Florida, Virginia is about halfway to Orlando, whether you take the coastal route via Interstate 95 or my preferred route through the mountains in Interstate 81. This route avoids the major metropolitan areas of New York City and Washington D.C.
Recommend this product?
On our most recent trip, we stopped for the night in Lexington, Virginia at the Hampton Inn there. My only regret was that we didn't arrive here in the daytime nor have the time to really spend some time appreciating this property.
Unlike other hotels, and in particular the chains that have sprung up seemingly at every exit on the Interstate, this Hampton Inn is unique. It has been crafted out of a property that was once owned by a governor of Virginia and the main building where the check-in desk is as well as breakfast was known as the Col Alto Mansion. For a complete history of the property, see: http://www.hamptoninnstaunton.com/html/history_of_col_alto.html
The Hampton Inn Lexington - Historic Area isn't right off of Interstate 81. It's about a two mile ride from the Interstate, but that helps give it a feel of being more of an inn rather than the utilitarian motels just off the Interstate. It was easy to find either using their directions or by plugging the address into my GPS device.
Even at night coming up the winding driveway, I was impressed with the stately appearance of the property. The driveway took us to the front of the hotel which is the original main entrance of the house. As I walked in the front doors, I had the feeling of entering someone's home. The front desk is on one side of the hallway while off to the other are sitting rooms which give the place a homey feel.
Check-in was a breeze. I had called ahead to let them know we would be there late and asked that they put us in a place that we wouldn't disturb others. To get to our rooms, we had to drive around the back of the hotel. We were on the first floor, near a conference room that's set in an old cabin believed to have once served as the summer kitchen on the property.
The area where the rooms are has a newer feel to it. The rooms all open to the outside rather than an interior corridor. When I travel by myself as a woman, this can sometimes leave me a bit wary. Our two rooms were next to each other, but there was no door between them.
Inside, the rooms were like other Hampton Inns across the country. Our rooms each had two double beds and were roomy enough for four people in each, especially if you didn't plan on being in them most of the time. There was a table for working on or setting up the computer as well as a flat-screen television that had plenty of stations available. There was also enough drawer space and closet space for the normal person to unpack if they were staying for a few days. The bathroom was roomy as well, although one of the things I noticed immediately the next morning was the smell of chlorine from the water. I guess I am spoiled by our fresh mountain spring water. There were plenty of towels for up to five people along with small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and mouthwash. There was also a placard inviting guests to come to the front desk for anything they might have forgotten.
I placed wake-up calls for both rooms as well as using the alarm clock as a back-up. Both worked fine and we were up early the next morning for the breakfast. In the light, I was even more impressed with the beautiful grounds this property is on. Especially because it was spring and everything was just blooming, I could appreciate the care that went into keeping it with the historic feel.
The breakfast was in the main house and here was a series of rooms for sitting in. I'm pretty sure one of them had a television in it, but we just sat next to the area where the food was. Hampton Inns are changing their menu by June of 2010, and the Hampton Inn Lexington - Historic Area was still working with the old menu while we were there. Everything was fresh and the breakfast attendant was very friendly. Hampton Inns have hot items along with continental items as well as juice and coffee available. The area where the food is served is a bit small and I can see it getting crowded and difficult to move in during peak times. In addition to the rooms to sit in, there's a porch when the weather is amenable.
The Hampton Inn Lexington - Historic Area has an outdoor pool and jacuzzi that weren't open while we were there. The exercise room has a treadmill, bicycle, and elliptical machine in it.
Our bills were waiting for us at the desk rather than having been slipped under the door, but check-out was simple. Everything was accurate and the staff was quite friendly. I would love to stay here again and I really appreciated the uniqueness of the property as well as its cleanliness. It really went above and beyond what I get from properties I stay in just off the Interstate by capitalizing on the historic setting of the property.
© 2010 Patti Aliventi