3DI Studio | New luxury inn coming to Villages at Staunton
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New luxury inn coming to Villages at Staunton

August 31st, 2017

STAUNTON – It’s been about five years since the idea first was floated of a new inn taking up residence in the original Western State Hospital at Richmond and Greenville avenues.

But now plans appear to be moving forward to bring life back into a building that was once home to the hospital’s administration.

The Blackburn Inn LLC and Retro Hospitality announced Wednesday the Blackburn Inn will be a locally-owned, 49-room boutique hotel. The new inn is set to open in spring 2018 at the Villages at Staunton.

“The Jeffersonian-style building will create a sense of place that entices both leisure and business travelers alike,” the release said.


The hotel will share the historic grounds with upscale apartments and condominiums owned by Village Development Associates, comprised of partners Robin Miller and Dan Gecker. The Blackburn Inn is the first hotel in Staunton to open under the development The Blackburn Inn LLC, based in Richmond.

For now, only one building will be opened to serve the public. Original 2012 plans called for a  three-building venture which would have included a spa and meeting center.

“At The Blackburn Inn we will create a home away from home for both residents and visitors and celebrate the history of Staunton and our historic site,” said owner Robin Miller in a release. “We are thankful to both the state and federal historic tax credits who made this project financially feasible.”

The original building, which was used for administration of what was then Western Lunatic Asylum, was designed by master builder and Thomas Jefferson protégé Thomas Blackburn in 1828.

For the new hotel, interior design firm, A Concept 2 Design developed a profile that acts as a backdrop to key historic components throughout the hotel, a release said. Included are wide corridors and hallway arches, vaulted ceilings and an original wooden staircase that will allow guests to access a rooftop atrium offering 360-degree views of downtown Staunton.



Original heart pine floors will flow throughout the hotel, an antique drafting table will be reclaimed for the reception desk and Thomas Blackburn’s signature incorporated into artwork and carpeting. The Blackburn Inn will also work with local and regional arts and artisans to showcase designs throughout the hotel.

The guest rooms and suites will include intricate molding that has been in place for centuries, oversized bathrooms with barn-style glass doors and rain showers, the release said. Four of the premiere-level rooms will also include soaking tubs, the release said.

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The hotel facilities will be available for community events and the hotel will develop packages focusing on Staunton area arts, history, recreation and food.

The new inn will also have a 16-seat indoor bistro and bar offering seating options on the outdoor terrace and front porch with locally-sourced menu items and Virginia wines, beers and ciders. Guests will also be able to enjoy wine and cheese tastings in the multiple alcoves throughout the hotel, as well as a front lobby tea parlor, which will offer coffee, tea and breakfast pastries from a local bakery.


Back in 2012, investors first announced plans to turn three of the historic state hospital buildings at The Villages of Staunton into a 102-room boutique hotel, spa and meeting center.

The group, which includes two principals of The Villages, said they would invest $28 million in the project, called The Blackburn Inn and Spa.

Back then, renovation work was expected to start in the spring, with the hotel and spa due to open in the late summer or fall of 2013, something that never happened.

The Blackburn Inn and Spa is named for Thomas R. Blackburn, a Virginia architect who learned his trade from Thomas Jefferson, working as an apprentice on the construction of the “academical village” at the University of Virginia. He was the main architect and builder for the old Western Lunatic Asylum, now The Villages at Staunton, as well as several homes in Albemarle County.

Laura Peters, lpeters@newsleader.com

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