Construction of the hotel at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business recently passed the halfway point, keeping the project on track for a spring opening.
The new hotel replaces the long-time UVA Inn at Darden, which hosted executive MBA students during their Charlottesville residencies, executive education and lifelong learning participants, alumni of UVA and the Darden School, as well as the general public.
The hotel will support Darden’s academic mission as a setting for several programs, including full-time MBA student events and faculty conferences and symposia. Its name will be revealed in the fall.
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, which operates 77 hotels in 72 cities worldwide, will manage the hotel and handle reservations – Kimpton’s first location on a college campus. The hotel will be owned by the Darden Foundation.
The five-story building will feature 199 guest rooms, including 12 suites. Amenities for guests will include morning coffee and tea service, an evening social hour, in-room yoga mats, an on-site fitness center, complimentary bicycles and pet-friendly policies.
The exterior silhouette of the hotel, designed by Cooper Carry architects, is in Jeffersonian style to blend into University Grounds and will meet specifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.
The hotel will feature a taproom and a ground-level restaurant with an outdoor terrace. Developers also see the hotel as a site for meetings and events such as corporate conferences and weddings. The hotel will house approximately 11,500 square feet of meeting spaces and classrooms for educational gatherings. The hotel also boasts a 6,000-plus-square-foot ballroom with capacity to seat 425 guests.
Another feature of the facility will be a five-acre botanical garden and arboretum on the hotel grounds, with a stream running through it. The gardens connect to the Rivanna Trail and will offer outdoor space and continuity to North Grounds.
“The hotel – and its arboretum and botanical gardens – won’t just be beautiful; it will support Darden’s academic mission,” Darden Dean Scott Beardsley said. “Not only will it serve as the center of our lifelong learning programs; it will offer the entire University of Virginia and Charlottesville communities a place for social, spiritual and educational growth and wellness.”
Darden’s hotel will be the company’s fifth boutique hotel in the mid-Atlantic region.
“The hotel will be open to all,” said Ashley Williams, chief executive officer and chief learning officer of Darden’s executive education, lifelong learning and non-degree programs. “Everyone from the Darden, UVA and local communities and guests visiting from out of town will be welcome, and the property will be a great place to stay, dine, drink at the pub and bar, or host an event. This will be another lodging option for Charlottesville visitors, especially convenient for those whose plans involve the University.”