Article appeared Wednesday, June 8, 2015 on by Isabelle Esteves.

In the heyday of rail travel in the United States the country was dotted with wonderful luxurious accommodations. One of these was the Hotel Roanoke. It was opened to guests on Christmas Day in 1882 by the Norfolk and Western Railroad. The hotel opened the same year the city of Roanoke was founded.

Today, very few of these historic railroad hotels survive and, truth be told, the Hotel Roanoke burned down in 1888 and was closed for a year while it was rebuilt. The hotel you see today, dates from the 1930s when a 75-room addition was added, as well as a 60-car garage. The striking Tudor facade also dates from that period.

It is hard to miss the hotel, it sits on a hill above the downtown area of Roanoke. Guests get to take the skywalk over to the downtown where there are lots of dining and shopping opportunities.

The Hotel Roanoke was gifted to Virginia Tech but is managed by Hilton Group under the Doubletree label. For more than 5 years after the hotel was gifted to Virginia Tech, it remained closed. When it reopened, it had the addition of a 63,000 square foot high tech conference center. The conference center has had a very positive impact on the economy and tourism in the area. This award-winning hotel has 331 rooms and suites, with a variety of packages to suit just about any visitor but especially those with an interest in railroad history.

The Hotel Roanoke, a designated National Historic Landmark is known as “The Grand Old Lady”. It has played an enduring role in the city, and generations of residents have enjoyed family events and celebrations within its historic rooms and restaurant.

You will notice the warm feeling as soon as you pull up to valet park. The veranda in front has white rocking chairs that welcome you to relax and enjoy the view. It is not what you normally expect in a downtown hotel.

On entering the lobby, you are transported back to old Virginia. It is luxurious and warm at the same time, with murals adorning the walls and cozy areas to stop, sit and enjoy a drink or a chat. Portraits of important historical figures from Virginia history are strategically placed – be sure to look for the displays of historic artifacts placed strategically throughout the hallways.

For a special stay in Roanoke, the Hotel Roanoke has something to offer everyone from business persons to families looking for a central location. The hotel just oozes romance as well, making it the perfect destination for just the two of you to get away. Check the hotel’s website to see all the great packages that are available.