After one of the coolest hotel’s I have toured, Graduate Richmond, opened this summer, I was thrilled to learn it was part of a boutique hotel collection that launched in 2014 and that one of the first hotels they opened was just up the road in Charlottesville! Since it is only an hour and some change west of Richmond, I have made many Charlottesville day trips to one of their countless wineries. We decided to book a fall weekend at Graduate Charlottesville for some quality family time before we head into the busyness of the holidays. It was our absolute best trip with Chloe and I just couldn’t wait to share all the details with you!
One-Funnel Cake Doughnuts
I cannot stress enough how delicious these little guys were! The Graduate Charlottesville’s adorable lobby cafe, the Sheepdog, makes them fresh all day long and they come either sprinkled with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. The front desk had a warm plate of each flavor waiting to welcome newly arrived guests. I was thrilled to discover they were available to order (by the cup full) with my afternoon latte from the Sheepdog cafe. Speaking of, the Sheepdog cafe not only makes amazing lattes, they also have a great looking menu for simple lunch/dinner options.
Two– Dog’s Dream Hotel
We always feel so limited in our hotel choices when traveling with Chloe. In my experience, dog-friendly hotels aren’t always the ones you want to visit and the pet fees are usually incredibly high. After this past weekend at the Graduate Charlottesville, our bar for “dog-friendly” has officially been raised. Not only do none of the Graduate Hotels charge a pet fee, they go above and beyond to make their four-legged guests feel right at home. Before we had time to put our bags down in our room, Chloe was already helping herself to a bowl of fresh water the lovely staff had set out for her. They even left her a scholastic themed BarkBox complete with a toy pencil that she has been cuddling ever since. After this incredible experience, I honestly don’t know if we will be able to travel with Chloe to any city that doesn’t have a Graduate Hotel!
Three– Preppy Academic Decor
I was immediately impressed with the vintage collegiate vibes of the lobby. The check-in desk is made from an old library card filing cabinet and on one lobby wall, the words “we are all students” are written in neon pink lights. The preppy academic vibe carries from the lobby up to the hotel rooms and if you look, you will see a few nods to UVA. Some are obvious like UVA’s founder, Thomas Jefferson’s silhouette on the TV stand in the bedroom but others, like the ceramic Wahoo (nickname for UVA students and sports teams) mounted over each bed, are subtle and cheeky.
Four- Super Comfy Bed
A hotel’s main selling point for me is how comfortable the bed is. Graduate Charlottesville did NOT disappoint. We slept like babies!
Five- Life-Changing Brunch
Daniel and I enjoyed both a dinner and brunch at the gorgeous rooftop restaurant, Heirloom. We were impressed by both menus but absolutely blown away by brunch. I ordered the Croque Madame and Daniel the Chicken Biscuit. For mine, the chef took an architecturally bold and creative approach to the French classic and it was an impressive success. The ham was sandwiched in bechamel and toasted sourdough and the whole thing was wrapped in crispy gruyere with a side of perfectly cooked farm eggs. Though the chicken biscuit was beautifully plated, we couldn’t have expected the incredibly unique flavor. Just when we were trying to put our finger on what was making the chicken so perfect, Executive Chef Frank D. Paris III, came by our table and we had the chance to ask him. He told us they soak the chicken thighs in buttermilk and sriracha overnight and that he makes his own BACON FAT HOT SAUCE to top it all off. I legitimately might make the hour and a half drive to Charlottesville just for brunch some Sunday soon.
Charlottesville is a seriously cool town. It is only about an hour and a half west of Richmond and it is surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains and over 20 wineries! The Graduate is the perfect place to stay after a day of wine tasting and it is only steps from the beautiful UVA campus and just a mile from all the famed shops and eateries of the historic Downtown Mall!
The Graduate offers adorable free bikes to their guests. We didn’t get the chance to use them this trip but they are high on my list of reasons I need to go back. The Downtown Mall doesn’t allow cars so getting there by bike would be awesome!
The view of campus and the surrounding town framed by the Blue Ridge mountains, wrapped in fall foliage, was exquisite. I can’t wait to come back during warmer temps to enjoy a cocktail (and their killer looking cheeseboard that I didn’t have the chance to try) on the roof with that charming view of Charlottesville.
Nine– Plethora of Massive Windows
Daniel always teases me when I gush about a space having good natural light. A sun-drenched room just fills me with delight and always puts a smile on my face. I love how Graduate Charlottesville has giant windows on every floor!
Ten- Friendly Staff
Every single person that worked at the Graduate Charlottesville went above and beyond to make all three of us feel welcome, thought of and comfortable. From the friendly barista remembering from one day to the next that I take my latte’s with whole milk (go big or go home) to the front desk team offering us complimentary late check-out so we could enjoy a lazy brunch on the rooftop.
Tip- Plan ahead and make dinner/brunch reservations at Heirloom. It was clearly a popular spot for guests and locals alike and there was a bit of a wait both days.
Special thank you to the Graduate Charlottesville and Heirloom restaurant for hosting us and to the incredible staff for making our stay such a pleasure!