Kimpton The Forum Hotel, the IHG Hotels & Resorts luxury and lifestyle brand’s first on-campus property, opens its doors today on the Grounds of the renowned University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
As reflected in its name, the 198-room boutique hotel is a gathering place where food, drink, entertainment, conversation, education, reflection, and more can be shared by all in a vibrant setting. Anchoring the on-property dining are Birch & Bloom, a modern steakhouse with regional influences, and The Good Sport, a neighborhood craft beer bar with brews and familiar bar fare.
Kelly Brown, General Manager of The Forum Hotel, says: “We are honored to be a part of the lively Charlottesville community and look forward to welcoming visitors and neighbors alike. From curated local partnerships to direct access to the university, guests will find themselves immersed in the destination’s charm and hospitality from the moment they step inside.”
The five-story, Jeffersonian-style building boasts a modern interior and countless amenities, including morning coffee and tea service, evening social hour, a modern fitness center, pet-friendly accommodations, expansive suites, comfortable gathering spaces, and a lively arboretum and botanical gardens. The Forum Hotel’s grand exterior, with its stately white columns, red brick façade and stone accents, pays homage to the architecture of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village. Inside, guests are greeted by comfortable, contemporary interiors – crafted by Looney & Associates, Beleco Design, and the Kimpton design team – featuring organic textures and geometric shapes, with subtle nods to the property’s location by incorporating university colors throughout. At the centerpiece of the lobby is a custom installation by local artist and university alumna Brielle DuFlon, who uses reclaimed materials in her work. Guestrooms feature luxurious robes designed by Darden alumnus Richard Loh, complimentary yoga mats, a minibar with treats from local businesses, including Gearharts Chocolate, La Vache Microcreamery Caramels and Three Notch’d Brewing Company, and bespoke bath products from Atelier Bloem.
Scott C. Beardsley, Dean of the Darden School, says: “We could not be more excited to welcome The Forum Hotel to the Darden family. A sense of purpose and deep connection are at the heart of our community and at the core of our educational experience. The Forum Hotel will provide students, faculty, staff, alumni, Charlottesville community members, and University of Virginia visitors alike an inclusive place with great energy to learn, celebrate and recharge.”
Led by Chef Eric Brownlee, The Forum’s two restaurants provide dining options sure to please both guests and locals alike. Birch & Bloom is a reimagined American steakhouse with seasonally driven, farm-to-table offerings. The menu highlights Virginia farmers, growers, brewers, and vintners such as Michael Shaps Wineworks , Honey Brook Farms, Angry Duck Farm, Caromont Farm, and Polyface Farm. The Aspen Bar & Terrace, a swanky, centrally located cocktail bar, enlivens the lobby with a menu featuring creative riffs on the classics. Across the lobby, The Good Sport, a neighborhood craft beer bar, offers familiar-yet-elevated tavern fare with an impressive roster of craft cocktails and local beers from Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, Blue Mountain Brewery, Potter’s Craft Cider, and many more. A 2,000-bottle wine cellar houses international, regional and local labels, paying special tribute to the area’s flourishing wineries.
The Forum Hotel also provides ample space for gatherings of all sorts, from small groups to large gatherings with capacity for more than 500 people. The hotel boasts more than 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 6,000-square-foot ballroom, dynamic classrooms of various sizes, and a large lecture hall where Darden will regularly host courses and events. Additional meeting spaces include the arboretum boardroom overlooking the gardens, as well as an executive meeting room with an intimate wine room next door. For private dining and events, guests can reserve the L’Orangerie, a naturally lit, glass-enclosed solarium adjacent to Birch & Bloom.
Just behind the property sit expansive botanical gardens and an arboretum with 17,000 square feet of outdoor function space, providing lush greenery, walking trails that connect The Forum to UVA, a tranquil pond, and several gathering places – including an outdoor amphitheater and 4,000-square foot event lawn.
Rates at The Forum Hotel begin at $269 per night, and guestrooms can be booked online at www.forumhotelcharlottesville.com or at +1 855-546-7866. All excess economic proceeds from The Forum Hotel will go to helping the Darden School achieve its mission via the Darden School Foundation.