River City Area Magazine 2024 Vol 1 (Spring) Cover

River City Area Magazine 2024 Vol 1 (Spring) Cover

My First Visit

“The Holbrook Hotel is a beautiful home base for corporate and leisure travel to Danville, Virginia. What was once a doctors’ building has now been reimagined into a modern boutique hotel; with colorful mid-century modern design, and amenities such as on-site guest laundry and suites with kitchenettes, we are prepared to provide unparalleled hospitality and comfortable accommodations to those spending one night, or several weeks.” (Madison Eades)

When I was visiting the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History a couple of years ago, gathering information for a story, (2021 Vol. 4) I paid little attention to the building across the street. I saw a rectangular, three-story building with windows all around each level. “Nice building,” I thought, and maybe wondered what it had housed. Recently, when I drove into the parking lot of that same building at 990 Main Street, I was more focused and excited about what I might find inside. I knew this was the latest addition to the hospitality industry in Danville and that the same people who were responsible for The Bee (2022 Vol. 3) were behind this. Remember I had fallen in love with The Bee and thought it was my dream place to stay. I would not stay in any other place in Danville. Now I have a big problem!

If I ever need to stay over in Danville, I think the only solution to my problem would be to split my stay between The Bee and The Holbrook. I could not choose between the two, nor can I compare the two. I think of them as two beautiful sisters, alike but each individual with qualities that would make any would-be suitor of the two want to marry both.

I had no trouble locating The Holbrook, and parking was convenient with a large parking lot accessed from Holbrook Street behind the building. Free-standing signage and signage on the building assured me I was in the right place. Following directional signs to the lobby entrance led me down a sidewalk bordering Chambers Street, where I realized Midtown Market was just a stone’s throw from The Holbrook. I entered a hallway and found a stairwell beside me and one directly in front. Windows in each gave a light and airy feeling to the space, and the carpet – with rectangles and squares in shades of blue, green, beige, and cream – extended in both directions as a large welcoming mat. Midway between the two stairwells was a large credenza with books stacked on top and a graphic behind it with the word “HOME” in blue on a brick wall in shades of gray. I felt then that I was entering a very special place.

The lobby was through a doorway to my right with a desk to check in, an L-shaped sofa, two workstations in front of the windows, a table with two lamps, and eight shelves arranged in a square around a hand sculpture of the American Sign Language gesture for “I love you.” The sculpture rests on three books whose spines proclaim, “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE – JOHN LENNON.” Resting on each remaining shelf were books stacked by like colors. I knew I was in love.

As I was led through the other three floors of the building and shown the different types of rooms, I was struck by how it felt like I was visiting a home, not a hotel. There were windows – not a window, but windows – in every room. The views at the rear of the hotel were a mixture of man-made beauty in the churches and homes in varying architectural styles and the natural beauty of the sky and the small mountains in the distance. I was also struck not only by the simplicity of the design but also the comfort. I didn’t want to leave.

Colorful, Warm, Light, Airy, Mid-Century Modern WELCOME HOME TO THE HOLBROOK
The Holbrook Courtesy of The Holbrook Hotel

The Building and Its History

“Our story began in 1957. Originally built for a group of nine doctors, The Holbrook occupies a pivotal and historic location at the crossroads of the Old West End and the historically Black professional neighborhood known as Holbrook-Ross. Now, our campus is a distinctive and historic property and on the official National Register of Historic Places.” (The Holbrook website)

From the Dec. 12, 1956, edition of The Bee newspaper, I learned that this was a three-story fireproof structure measuring 60 feet by 100 feet. The permit was issued to Doctors Building Inc., which represented a group of local doctors seeking office space. The building continued to house offices until 2019, then stood vacant until 2022 when Ed Walker – developer of The Bee and owner of the property since 2018 — was able to begin transforming the structure into a sister for The Bee. The project had been in the works since 2019, but like many other things, was delayed. Thank goodness it was only delayed and not denied.

Colorful, Warm, Light, Airy, Mid-Century Modern WELCOME HOME TO THE HOLBROOK
The Holbrook Courtesy of The Holbrook Hotel

The Neighborhood

“We are excited to bring new guests to the neighborhood and showcase all that we have to offer in Danville and nearby. We are also looking forward to showcasing our neighbors, such as Crema & Vine, Midtown Market, King Cropp, and the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History – all wonderful local options for our guests to take advantage of!”( Madison Eades)

I am delighted with the location of The Holbrook and think lots of other people will be too when they discover it for themselves. The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History is a fascinating place to spend a few hours. Crema & Vine, right across the street from the museum, is a great place to take a break from the history and art and refresh the body with food and drink. Everything there is good. And Midtown Market! Oh, the chicken salad and coconut cake! But what I find most fascinating is the neighborhood. The houses and the churches in the Old West End neighborhood and the Holbrook-Ross Historic neighborhood could provide hours of just taking in their splendor and imagining times past. On foot, by car, or by bicycle on your own or by guided tours, this is a great place to roam. Like The Bee in the River District, there are a multitude of things to do nearby. The two hotels are almost like bookends for some of the best there is in shopping, food, and entertainment.

Colorful, Warm, Light, Airy, Mid-Century Modern WELCOME HOME TO THE HOLBROOK
The Holbrook Room 306 Courtesy of The Holbrook Hotel

The Rooms and Their Vibe

“The Holbrook Hotel takes pride in offering a boutique hotel experience that is both creatively inspired and artistically curated. From the lobby to the guest rooms, every corner of the hotel reflects a commitment to the playfulness of mid-century modern luxury with a vibrant and stylish atmosphere that sets it apart from traditional accommodations.” (Madison Eades)

The Holbrook comprises 45 rooms. These vary from standard rooms to suites. There is even a Presidential Suite with what I thought looked like a nod to The Bee. A full description of the rooms and their amenities is easily accessible on the website. Regardless of the type of room, all the furniture was custom-made for the hotel by Txtur Company of Roanoke. Txtur is a three-year-old residential furniture brand with all the support and capabilities of its 90-year-old parent company, which produces commercial furniture. Having access to the carpet and tile choices, the design pallet for the furniture was chosen to be complementary to create a vintage fashion for the entire building. All case goods were designed from the ground up to go with the mid-century aesthetic of the building and meet the hotel’s needs. But I did notice that the TVs are not mid-century modern, but nice, modern, big flat screens.

The first building in America to be designed and built as a hotel opened in New York City at the corner of Broadway and Thames Street over 200 years ago. Boutique hotels like the Bee and the Holbrook are the newest chapters in the hospitality industry in America, and you won’t find a finer two. Check out the websites or plan a getaway and check them out for yourself.

The Holbrook Hotel Danville Virginia

Holbrook Hotel
990 Main Street
Danville, Va. 24541
(434) 234-5040