I am late posting this review which I wrote back in April. My wife and I visited Abingdon in early April, 2014. We stayed at The Martha and attended a play at the smaller playhouse called the Barter Theater Stage II. We bought the theater package which included one night’s stay in the hotel, dinner in the hotel’s restaurant called Sister’s, play tickets and full breakfast in Sister’s, all for two people. The total price (for a weeknight) was $445 including tax and all tips.
We stayed in Room 305, which was a good sized room with a king bed, a sofa and chairs, and a good sized bath. All the furnishings were “period” furnishings. The linens were high quality and clean, as was the entire room. The room was attractive and beautifully decorated. The floor was hardwood, the bath was tiled to look like travertine, with a double sink and a walk-in tiled shower. The low-flow showerhead was awful, and I forgot to bring a non-restricted flow showerhead with me like I usually do. In addition to the low-flow restrictor, it leaked terribly, and was too high for my 5'7" wife to reach, so I had to adjust it for her, although I couldn’t stop the leaking around the swivel socket. It was cool outside (around 35 degrees at night), but the windows were painted shut and covered by interior storm windows, so the split system under-window HVAC unit was the only way to cool down the room. The fan worked fine, but the compressor stopped compressing after a few minutes, so it was of no use, and the fan just blew out warm air from inside the room. The showerhead and a lousy air conditioner were our only complaints about the hotel.
Normally the theater package includes a “superior” room with a queen bed. We asked for a king when we booked the room, and were granted one. The king rooms are upgraded “deluxe” rooms which normally cost more than superior rooms, so we were fortunate to get the upgrade at no increase in the package rate. Business was slow in April, so it may be difficult to get the upgrade when they are busier. At any rate, our room was very nice, and I recommend asking for one of the king rooms.
In April, the sidewalks roll up at dark - at least during the week - and even the bar in “The Martha” closed at 9:00 on the weeknight we were there. We had failed to bring any booze with us, so we could not get a drink after the play (which was over just after 9:00 PM). No alcohol is served at the theater at all.
The hotel and the grounds are beautiful. There have been some recent changes to accommodate a new spa or something. Apparently, there was another restaurant and bar located below the lobby until this year that is no longer there.
The food in Sister’s was OK, but nothing to write home about. The menu choices for folks like us who were on the package plan were adequate. I don’t think there was another menu for non-package people, so everyone is equal there. The wine list was pretty limited, and they do not allow customers to bring their own - even with a corkage fee.
The play we saw was “Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell,” a comedy that lasted about 100 minutes, including the intermission. I’m not much of a theater guy, but it was funny (and clean), and I didn’t fall asleep like I usually do.... The theater is a five minute walk from the hotel. Don’t be late for the theater like we were! We were 3 or 4 minutes late (due to slow service in the hotel’s Sisters’ Restaurant), and the play was already underway.
If you have time on your visit, hike or bike some or all to the Virginia Creeper Trail, which starts in Abbingdon, not far from The Martha. A road trip to White’s Mill, which was recommended to us, was not worth the 10 mile round-trip drive. There is an old non-operating mill there, and an old country store. Both were closed at noon on a Wednesday when we arrived.
All in all, we had a great time, and would definitely return to The Martha, but would probably eat somewhere else.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- History and legends abound at this historic hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Martha Washington Hotel Abingdon
- Martha Washington Hotel
- Martha Washington Inn Abingdon Va
- The Martha Washington Inn