Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

June 26, 2018

HOTEL GUIDE: Girls' Weekend at Graduate Richmond.

     Richmond, Virginia's beautiful capital, is just over an hour away from Charlottesville! I'd been hoping to explore there and get to know the city more since I moved to Virginia, but aside from flying out of the Richmond airport for Memorial Day Weekend and an April afternoon spent at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, I hadn't had this experience yet. I was absolutely delighted when Graduate Hotels reached out to me and invited me for a stay at their Richmond hotel- what a perfect opportunity to get to finally explore this city! My Charlotte blog photographer and good friend Deeana came up to Virginia for the weekend to enjoy the stay with me, and we had a fun girls' weekend at Graduate Richmond! I'm so excited to share my review of the hotel with y'all today.

Richmond Travel Guide: Best Hotel to Stay At in Richmond VA

Photography by Deeana Kourtney

Thank you to Graduate Hotels and Graduate Richmond for the complimentary stay and meals. All opinions in this post are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!

     Graduate Hotels: 

     This was my first time staying at a Graduate hotel, and hopefully not my last! Graduate Hotels are a newer chain of boutique hotels; founded in 2014. Graduate Hotels are located exclusively in prominent college towns and cities across the US, and are typically within a few miles (or closer!) to a notable large university. There is even a Graduate hotel here in Charlottesville where I live- very close to UVA! The details and decor in the hotels strongly reflect the locations being near universities, which was so fun to see! A few of the details I enjoyed: a stack of cool faux textbooks as decor in our room, the room keys made to look like student ID cards, and there was a chalkboard wall near the lobby elevators with quotes on it about learning and school!

     There are actually eight new Graduate Hotel properties opening around the country between now and 2020- in even more college towns and cities. The next one opens in Bloomington, IN this fall- I wish it had been open when I visited here last winter to see one of my friends who is in grad school at IU! If you're like me and have friends currently in grad school all over the country (or maybe friends still in undergrad), Graduate Hotels could be a great option to assist with your travels for visiting friends.

Richmond Virginia Weekend Trip

     Hotel Location: 

     The Graduate Richmond is conveniently located in the same neighborhood as Virginia Commonwealth University, which I learned is one of the largest public universities in the state. The hotel is just a few minutes off I-64, which is also the interstate that runs through Charlottesville, so it was an easy drive for me to get to the hotel! Graduate Richmond is on the outskirts of downtown Richmond, and walkable to the center of downtown, and the James River. It's also just a few miles away from the charming neighborhoods of Carytown and the Fan District. The hotel is about a 20 minute drive (without traffic) from Richmond International Airport.

Best Hotel for Girls Weekend

     Rooms and Amenities: 

     Deeana and I stayed in a standard Queen-Queen room, and we both really enjoyed it! As I wrote above, I loved the fun touches of decor in the hotel room that played up the collegiate theme of the hotel. We also both loved the adorable dog artwork above each bed! I found my bed to be very comfortable, and I slept extremely well (which doesn't always happen in hotel rooms!). 

     Graduate Richmond has a fun lobby, with plenty of seating options for meals or lounging. There is also a game room off to the back side of the lobby, which guests are welcomed to use. During the night we stayed there, a private birthday party was actually happening in the game room area, which we could see from getting on the elevators. It was fun to see so many people celebrating in the hotel lobby- Graduate Richmond is definitely the type of hotel to bring people together! There is also a beautiful rooftop outdoor pool on the top floor, however we didn't bring swimsuits for this weekend, so that I hope I can come back an enjoy another time! 

     Something that I also want to mention is the amazing quality of service that we received during the weekend. Everyone from the front desk staff to the servers at the rooftop restaurant were just delightful. A high level of hospitality from staff definitely adds to the hotel experience! 

Graduate Hotel Richmond VA


     Graduate Richmond has two restaurants on-property. Brookfield is the cafe and bar located in the lobby, with a wide array of hours. Deeana and I enjoyed coffee and tea beverages there before departing the hotel on Sunday! 

     The real attraction at Graduate Richmond is their rooftop bar that overlooks the city. Byrd House is open nightly to hotel guests and the public alike, and if you happen to be visiting Richmond, definitely stop by here! I have long been obsessed with rooftop bars, so I was delighted to learn there was one right at the hotel, and it didn't disappoint! In addition to a full beverage menu at their bar, Byrd House also has food menu that features some casual but delicious options, such as veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a variety of appetizers. The speciality dessert at Byrd House is gourmet ice cream sandwiches: the flavor that they had the day we were there was Blueberry Donut and they were delicious. I was also very excited to see North Carolina soda favorite Cheerwine on the drink menu! 

     Things to do in Richmond: 

     I'm looking forward to putting together some more complete Richmond Travel Guides over the next year, as I continue to explore the city! But in the meantime, here are some things that I enjoyed checking out with Deeana, as well as a couple things that have been recommended to me by people in Charlottesville (which I haven't gotten to discover yet!): 

     *Walk downtown: Graduate Richmond is located at the edge of downtown, and it's an easy walk in! Deeana and I found Richmond's downtown to be safe, fairly clean, and very walkable. We didn't get to check out the state capital building, but that's on my list of things to do for a future trip!

     *See the James River and Browns Island: The massive James River runs right along downtown Richmond. Also a short walk from the hotel is a very cool park area by the riverside called Browns Island! You have to walk on a pedestrian bridge over a canal to access it. Charlottesville doesn't have any bodies of water in its downtown, and neither did Charlotte (when I lived there), so this was really cool to check out! 

     *Check out the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: My mom and I spent an afternoon checking this out when she came to visit in April! The VMFA is the largest art museum in the state, and it's free to the public!! (Yes- 100% free to visit.) The grounds are also beautiful- Deeana and I shot this outfit post in one of the museum gardens. It's a short drive from Graduate Richmond. 

     *Shop at Short Pump: Richmond's premiere shopping district is called Short Pump! (Think Lilly Pulitzer, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Kendra Scott, etc). It's actually located in the western part of the city, so it's just under an hour from Charlottesville. I sadly still have yet to visit here, but a Short Pump day trip is on my 2018 Summer Bucket List

     *Explore Carytown: Carytown is a cute neighborhood is just a few miles from downtown/Graduate Richmond, and is filled with charm and character! Lots of unique restaurants to be found, as well as some different types of shops. There are a lot of high-end consignment shops here, and Deeana and I enjoyed browsing some of them! We had lunch at the Galaxy Diner in Carytown- who doesn't love breakfast for lunch at a classic diner?! 

      Thank you again to Graduate Richmond for hosting us for this fun girls' weekend! This was my first time getting to see Deeana since I left Charlotte last year, and we had such a fun time. I have been so blessed with this blogging journey to become friends with most of my photographers. 😊I had such a great experience at this hotel that I'm already hoping to check at the Graduate Charlottesville (in my own backyard!) soon, and some of their other properties out-of-state as well!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 



  1. Looks like such a fun weekend trip, Annaliese! Love all your Lilly pieces and so glad you go to see Deeana!


  2. Aww this reminds me of when I went to Richmond! We didn't stay at Graduate hotel but we visited the Jefferson Hotel and had dinner at the Tobacco Company Restaurant!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  3. I've never heard of Graduate hotels but what an awesome idea! I'd love for one to come to my college town. Looks like that rooftop bar was a great spot!

  4. This hotel is so nice -- love the decor! Looks like you had a fun trip!

  5. omgsh this looks like such a fun experience!

  6. looks like such a fun weekend! love your outfits!

  7. I love boutique hotels they always have such character. I'm pretty sure I need that book table!

  8. wait...this is all so cute!!! i need to stay at one of these graduate hotels xD the decor is so cute!

  9. I love boutique hotels like this. I hope we get one in my area soon. We have a few college towns down here

  10. Looks like a great city! I've never been there but it looks like a great place to have fun.

  11. What a cute hotel! Love the little school/university accents with it being so close to campus!

  12. I've been hearing a lot of great things about Richmond. Hopefully, David and I can visit here someday. Great weekend guide, by the way.

    -Gerome of G&D Blog

  13. I've never heard of Graduate Hotels, but I love the vibe! Very reminiscent of college days :) Also, your outfits are on-point! Super cute.

  14. Oh my gosh I want to go to the Graduate Hotel for their logo and branding alone! What a cute concept! Looks like you had a fantastic time too!

  15. This sounds like a great weekend guide! I haven't been to Richmond yet but there is so much to do! Looks like so much fun!

  16. Short Pump is my favorite place to shop! It's great in the warmer months since it's outside, but make sure to go around Christmastime too - they have beautiful lights and decorations!


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