Hotel Reviews

Expecting a Roadside Motel, Got a Boutique Hotel

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I met a travel challenge when my parents and I took a last minute trip out to the Shenandoah a few weekends ago. There are very few 3 star + hotels along I-81 in Virginia, and on the weekend we would be out there, there were lots of events. When a Hampton Inn is going for $200+ on a non-holiday weekend, you know you’re in trouble.

Unfortunately the Winchester Aloft was too far north, so I checked out Trip Advisor for the night we’d be near Harrisonburg and was underwhelmed by our options. At the time, the Hampton Inn Harrisonburg South was the #1 hotel, and pretty pricey. But #2 was The Village Inn, a family owned hotel with very affordable rates and great reviews.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Sign

Now I tend to differ from the usual TripAdvisor reviewer — I don’t ding properties for charging for parking or internet or not having free breakfast and I tend to be picky about other things, like in-room decor, etc. So I use it as general guidelines for whether the hotel will be decent, even if I would disagree with the ranking. And with that in mind, I was a little anxious about taking my parents to The Village Inn.

BUT the reviews were glowing and the price was right. I booked them a room with whirlpool tub and outdoor deck for $79.99 on a weekend when everything else was well above $100. And, I used it as an opportunity to book a separate room (sans deck) for myself for free using my Orbucks Rewards.

Pulling up to the registration area the hotel looked basic but very clean and well-kept.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Registration

Check-in was a little complicated. Both reservations were in my name, but one was pre-paid and one wasn’t, and they hadn’t gotten mixed up. The front desk person was incredibly nice though and was able to check us in to my parents’ room so we could relax a little after the long drive. They were in room 102 at the far end of complex (plenty of parking).

The Village Inn Harrisonburg parking lot

I was impressed by the room decor. It wasn’t a modern look, but nothing was worn and it felt like it had been remodeled recently. That room was quite large, we probably could have fit the 3 of us in if we’d needed to.


The Village Inn Harrisonburg Queen WP tub deck beds


All the rooms featured a decent size mini-fridge and microwave as well as standard desk and chair.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Queen deck desk

The bathroom was a nice size, though a bit narrow and smelled strongly of cleaning products. Not surprisingly though, the whirlpool tub looked spotless.

My favorite was their deck. The view wasn’t fantastic — we could see a shipping center to the left and the interstate in the background, but it was a great size and perfect for sipping a glass of wine at night in the cool summer air and looking at the stars.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Queen deck

The Village Inn Harrisonburg decks


I was eventually able to check in. I was in room 133 — a corner room at the other end of the complex. I wondered if I would have a deck, and I didn’t. It was more a true motel room, although by far the nicest I’ve ever been in . There were two windows which kept it from feeling dark and it was quite large, particularly the bathroom.

Double sinks and a separate toilet and shower area, also recently updated and quite spotless.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Queen corner bathroom

The same fridge and dresser my parents had as well as a comfortable sitting area.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Queen corner seating

Right off my room was the pool and playground area, which again, looked basic but really well kept.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Pool

The playground area had a great view of the hills and plenty of options. There was also a slightly sodden mini-golf putting green.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg playground outdoor sports


Though clearly the hotel had been recently remodeled, there were still some authentic parts from earlier times, such as the dining hall hours posted throughout the walkways.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Dining Room Hours


And what a restaurant it was! I had heard that the Dining Room was quite popular even among non-guests, but was skeptical. Because of the hassle during check in they had generously comped us all the $13.95 country dinner buffet. We were tired and didn’t want to get back in the car, so this worked out well!

The meat on the buffet–fried clams, shrimp, chicken, etc– was good but unremarkable, the sides were AMAZING and the desserts were pretty good. At less than $14 a person, it was a good deal. Breakfast buffet ($9.95) was even better — featuring homemade sausage and really good gravy.

The Village Inn Harrisonburg Dining Room The Village Inn Harrisonburg Restaurant Buffet

And at breakfast it became clear this really was a favorite with locals as we chatted with folks who had driven 30-45 minutes to come just for breakfast.

I was quite taken with this hotel! I had been hoping for the best with a motel, instead I found a place I’d happily stay at anytime I’m in the area, and would definitely stop by for a meal if I’m driving down I-81. It’s not generic and nicer and cheaper than most of the lower ranked chains. Add that it’s available using Orbitz Rewards and it gets even better. It was definitely not as luxe as the Campbell House in Penang, more like the Deerfield Inn in North Carolina, but applied the same principle — I wouldn’t need elite status if more hotels were like this.


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