Richmond, Virginia

Photo: Destination Hotels
Photo: Destination Hotels

Surely, you’ve been to Richmond before. You toured the White House of the Confederacy, the Tredegar Iron Works, and the Chimborazo Medical Museum. You followed the James River and the trails on the Cold Harbor Battlefield. You walked along the cobblestone streets, by the old brick buildings, and through the beautiful gardens. Then you practically forgot about this traditional Southern city. But Richmond can no longer be ignored.

The Capital of the South has changed—a lot—since your last visit. Sure, the historical sites still draw lots of visitors, but they’re now rivaled by the blossoming arts scene. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is considered one of the best museums in the country. Downtown Richmond is now known as the arts and design district. Art galleries, housed in refurbished buildings, are tucked in between small boutiques and farm-to-table restaurants. Bright murals now decorate formerly gloomy walls. Plus an art-filled hotel recently opened.

The Quirk Hotel is the city’s first truly hip hotel. From the outside, it doesn’t look very different. The Renaissance building, constructed in 1916, used to house a dry goods store. It features limestone arches and high cross-vaulted ceilings. But that’s where its classical style ends. The lobby is decorated with pink velvet, gray accents, and a brass reception desk. A sleek coffee bar features beans from Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company; a custom Quirk blend has notes of tobacco in it. Used coffee lids have been turned into art. While the adjacent Quirk Gallery features exhibits by emerging local artists.

Upstairs, you find more whimsical art in your pink room. Yes, pink. The walls are a subtle blush color, though you barely notice them since they’re bathed in light from the large windows. Maple hardwood floors, soft area rugs, a custom bed made from salvaged floor joists, and a plush white duvet fill the rest of the room. Plus locally sourced snacks and more robust coffee are in the caffeine bar. But those will have to wait. You plan to drink craft beer from nearby microbreweries, learn about Virginia wines, and find goodies to take home at the Farmers’ Market. After your art tour, of course.

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