We have been pulling into this remarkable departure from stucco-sided Hampton Inns for Thanksgiving weekends for a decade or so. We were suitably seduced yet again this year. Exiting I-81 and I-64 in historic Lexington—birthplace of Sam Houston, burial place of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson—we turned off a concrete wasteland of fast food and supermarkets onto a drive that winds into the inn’s seven-acre property and up a grassy, oak-sheltered knoll. There at the crest stands a brick and colonnaded, 186-year-old classic revival manor house where eminent families of the Confederacy, among them a Commonwealth governor’s, slept and entertained.
Climbing the steep granite steps to the door, Yvonne, my preferred companion, and I come upon a quiet and mellow front hall spacious enough for General Lee’s horse. To the right is a registration counter that faces reception rooms arrayed with Oriental rugs, honest antiques and inviting nooks for reading or tackling the guests’ wide-screen computer. Off a hall is a guest room and upstairs, nine more. In tone and décor, the manor’s guest rooms, many with fireplaces and four-poster beds, match the public rooms. By booking one, you can stake out space in the reception rooms and indulge the illusion that it is all yours. The sole fault to the manor’s guest rooms--irksome enough to dissuade us from taking one on this trip—is their locked down windows. They afford uninterrupted views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but they wot let you taste their pristine air.
Instead, you can take one of the 76 rooms in the larger hotel that is appended with similar brick to the back of the manor house. The addition is tastefully designed, robustly built, clean and functionally efficient, with ample and well-equipped rooms and baths. And the windows open. Through the night we savored the mountain’s breeze, not a machine’s. Our room, #304 on the third floor breezeway, was larger than most, with room for a couch and coffee table, along with a king-sized bed, and a suitable desk. It was pricey for Lexington at $178.89 for the night after an AARP discount and $18.14 in taxes.
We took the room for its windows, not much of anything else. It was not an easy call. The addition’s rooms convey none of the manor rooms’ pride in history and place, though they cost about the same. The walls, for example, are hung with flavorless images of farmland and flowers that say nothing of where you or they are. Housekeeping evidently neglected to leave in the room the one item that might have helped orient us--the binder listing telephone and taxi services, locations of the hotel’s facilities, like the fitness center, Lexington’s restaurants, museums and churches, etc.
The two hotels merge for breakfast in one of the manor’s reception rooms, a setting as pleasant and comfortable as any we’ve tried. As at most limited-service hotels, breakfast is laid out on counters in an adjoining pantry. Just about everything is there—waffles and omelets, oatmeal and cold cereals, yoghurt and juice, bagels and muffins. On a busy Thanksgiving morning, two attendants kept the counters supplied and the trash down.
Like breakfast, everything clicked at this Hampton Inn. Discounting our perhaps excessive displeasure with mechanical air, both the manor house and its addition, while quite different, succeed at what they aspire to do. They are a clear cut above anything else in Lexington and readily warrant five stars.
Consider one of the ten rooms in the manor house--the Robert E. Lee Room, or the Stonewall Jackson R...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.