We stayed at the Hotel Roanoke on a Saturday evening, after finding out that another hotel (at which we had a confirmed reservation) had overbooked.
The hotel is located on a prominent hill in the midst of the city of Richmond, visible from many parts of the city. The operation of the hotel began in the 1880’s, when it was constructed by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, as a stopover for folks on long journeys. In the late 1980’s, as Norfolk Southern took over the Norfolk and Western Railroad, the hotel was shut down. However, in the mid-1990’s, a massive expansion and redevelopment of the hotel occurred, brought about by efforts from the City of Roanoke, in collaboration with Virginia Tech.
We initially were a bit reluctant to stay at this hotel, based on a few of the more critical Trip Advisor reviews. In fact, those reviews are what initially led us to make our reservation at the other hotel, rather than at the Hotel Roanoke.
The concerns we thought we had with the Hotel Roanoke subsided immediately upon our arrival. The front desk staff was extremely helpful in getting us a room. Due to confusion brought on by the instructions given by the other hotel, we were initially assigned to a room on the 4th floor. Upon returning to the front desk, the staff quickly resolved the issue, and reassigned us to a room on the “Executive Level”.
The “Executive Level” consists of an area of the hotel that has access to complimentary hors d'oeuvres in the evening, as well as breakfast. We arrived about 15 minutes before the conclusion of the hors d'oeuvres, but a number of items were still available, including a cheese board, and chicken wings, as well as a variety of drinks (non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary, but beer and I think wine could be purchased).
Staff throughout the hotel was extremely friendly. Two that come to mind include “Danny” at the front desk, who was very helpful in getting us checked in, as well as getting our room switched around after the issues brought about by the other hotel were realized. Additionally, we encountered a man from Austria, named “Joseph” in the hallway leading to our room in the executive level that night. He was quick to assist us in getting to our room, as well as to give us some helpful directions to get ice and other amenities. I encountered him again in the morning, about 14 hours later—he either works some odd shifts, or some REALLY long hours.
There is a restaurant (“The Regency Room”) as well as a pub (“The Pine Room”) on the property. Due to time constraints, we were not able to eat at either establishment. However, I saw the breakfast buffet in the Regency Room, and it looked very elaborate. Made to order omelets, a large selection of fresh fruit and pastries, as well as the more traditional breakfast dishes, and a variety of coffee and juices.
Valet parking is available, as is a self-park area. There is a fee for both ($12 for valet, $7 for self-parking).
The hotel is adjacent to the railroad tracks that originally served as the reason for the hotel to be built. The tracks would have presented a problem for pedestrians to get access to a significant part of downtown, and so there is a large glass walkway over the tracks, allowing for easy access to the downtown. A large number of photographs and historical notes line the interior of the walkway, allowing visitors to quickly learn the history of the hotel, as well as the railyard, and gain a quick understanding as to where the tracks go, and the typical freight carried upon the lines. Although the tracks are active, we never heard the trains from the hotel.
The swimming pool at the hotel was nice, with a large adjacent hot tub. Access to the pool/hot tub was through a very large, extremely well-equipped workout room. I saw numerous elliptical machines (which had sophisticated touchscreen systems for watching TV, and even playing games while one worked out), and various other workout machines in excellent shape, as well as a variety of free weights, which generally are a rarity in hotels.
It’s definitely the hotel to go to in Roanoke!