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A few days ago I stayed at the Comfort Inn Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia for work. We have a couple projects nearby, but they are closer to other cities in the general Blue Ridge area, so I haven’t been in Charlottesville as often. However, in one instance, it was $250 cheaper to fly out of Charlottesville, so I ended up booking an open jaw return from there. In this case of this trip, I had to attend a meeting.
I normally don’t default to Choice Hotels, but it made sense in this case. First, the Hilton, IHG and Marriott options were all above the allowable budget for lodging. Charlottesville can be fairly expensive, and even the Comfort Inn Monticello was a couple dollars above the target cost. It also made sense due to a great current Choice promotion.
Until this trip I didn’t realize that Monticello is literally minutes away from Charlottesville. Back when I was 16, I joined family friends on vacation through D.C. and Virginia. The final place we visited was Jefferson’s famous estate, which I remember doing on a rainy, dreary morning. I later spent the night in a terminal of the Atlanta airport. That is a story for a different time.
Arriving at the Comfort Inn Monticello
I drove up from Roanoke to Charlottesville via Lynchburg instead of I-81. While I would have preferred to take the truly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, a full day of work plus a dinner appointment meant my schedule didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Still, it was a bit better than maneuvering through the truck traffic for a couple hours on the interstate.
A full schedule meant dinner was my first stop (which was at the Milan Indian Restaurant and quite good). Then I headed across town to the Comfort Inn Monticello.
Check in was lengthy, but only because the lady in front of me had made her reservation for the following Monday instead of that day. Talk about awkward. They’d had two rooms booked, but there was only one left for the four people.
Once I had my key and was headed to my room, I began to realize how worn everything appeared. This didn’t give me much hope that I’d booked even a decent place. After climbing the stairs, I arrived right at my door.
Comfort Inn Monticello prices
The Comfort Inn Monticello runs 16,000 Choice points a night. The cash prices were around $100 on my dates.
Comfort Inn Monticello – Standard Queen Room
My misgivings were alleviated when I stepped into a room that had been fairly recently remodeled. It was in much better shape that the outside hallways or stairs. Compared to the last few Choice hotels I’ve stayed at, it was in good shape.
The room was small, but comfortable. There was a chair and ottoman off to one side for reading or relaxing with your computer.
The room included a microwave and fridge. The latter is a generally appreciated amenity that I often find lacking from upscale hotels.
The desk was in very good shape and was comfortable to work from for an hour. If only the WiFi was better. I was in room 200, at the very end of the second floor, so that may have been part of the issue. But it is also directly over the office, and you’d think they’d need to have decent internet. My phone struggled to maintain a connection.
The view was…well…not why I was here.
The bathroom was functional, clean, and in nice condition.
It was definitely a step up from the last couple Choice hotels at which I’ve stayed. This was a nice surprise.
And finally, the closet.
The A/C was a bit of an issue. It worked, but it was quite noisy when it started up. I like when an A/C unit can be placed on constant fan and the only noise change is the condenser switching on and off. In this case, placing the unit on “constant fan” did nothing. It took me a few cycles to fall asleep, but I eventually did.
In the center of the hotel buildings is the pool. There is also a fitness center. I did not use the pool, but it was very inviting and tempting, given the current Virginia heat.
The hotel has a guest laundry as well, which obviously costs, but is an option if you need it.
Breakfast at the Comfort Inn Monticello
Free breakfast is served from 6:00 to 10:00 every day. It’s a pretty standard free breakfast for a budget hotel, including yogurt, toast and bagels, waffles, juice, coffee.
My one comment on breakfast was that the lobby and breakfast area did not feel air conditioned. Even at 7:30 in the morning, it was overly warm and oppressive.
If you’re not familiar with Charlottesville, it is a premier college town, home to the University of Virginia. UVA is a top-tier public university, founded by Thomas Jefferson, who also designed and laid out the original buildings for the campus. Inspired from classical architecture, the campus is truly beautiful. Let me also suggest The Whiskey Jar for a nice lunch when visiting Charlottesville.
Additionally, the town is famous for nearby Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate. Monticello is less than 10 minutes away (which should be obvious with a hotel name of Comfort Inn Monticello). I did slip away after a meeting in Charlottesville for a visit and toured the estate. In short, the price was a bit steeper than I’d expected, but the tour guide was extremely knowledgable and it was a great piece of history to experience.
You can also visit Montpelier, the estate of James Madison. It is about a 40 minute drive to the north. The Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park are also reasonably close.
Overall, the stay was right about what I expected for a Comfort Inn stay. The room was nicer than expected, and there were a couple small issues (noisy A/C, overly warm breakfast room). But it was nothing that prevented me from having an overall satisfied stay.
Based on the prices I’ve seen around the University of Virginia, Charlottesville can be a kinda pricey place. There are hotels in other towns 20-30 minutes away that are a bit more reasonable, but if you want to stay close, you’ll have to generally pay a tad more.
The added hotel cost has even turned me off from flying in here for work rather than Roanoke, even if the flights are cheaper (sometimes they are), as the hotel rate would be above our allocated amount. Unless, of course, I want to stay at a Motel 6. But I’d definitely prefer the Comfort Inn Monticello.