The Highlander in Radford, Virginia — Destination “Boutique” Hotel

Rooftop bar overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains at The Highlander, in Radford, Virginia.

On the way back from Dallas driving up I-81 at midnight in southern Virginia in a snow storm that dropped 8 inches of snow (January 2024) — with family in tow in a Ford Expedition and 2 Shiba Innu dogs in the back — I searched for and booked what looked like a really nice hotel in Radford, Virginia — The Highlander. It gets 9.6 out of 10 stars on Expedia, was going for $109 a night, and was pet friendly.

We had to be on the road again first thing in the morning. I wish we could have stayed several days.

What a beautiful hotel; deserving of the 9.6 rating.

Radford is a college town, residence of Radford College.

The hotel is relatively brand new — opened in April of 2023 — and is amazing. It is a 6-story hotel that seems to be a converted factory — with loads of new artwork on the walls of the lobby — forming an art gallery.

The expansive lobby has a cafe which has espresso machines.

The rooms are beautiful — finely designed in a sort of nuevo art deco style.

There is a rooftop bar that allows you to view the Blue Ridge Mountains (see main picture to article). We didn’t get to see this on our quick one night stay; in fact we didn’t know it existed.

Brand New Building

The Highlander is not actually a converted factory — it just looks it. The building was constructed anew, with four existing buildings that existed on its lot torn down, and the new building begun in April 2021, when construction crews broke ground.

“Destination”, or “Boutique” Hotel

The Highlander was built as a “destination hotel and conference center” inspired by the Scots-Irish origins of Southwest Virginia, “but with a modern twist,” said hotel general manager Rachel Pegues in an article on the Radford College website.

The hotel also bills itself as a “Boutique” hotel. It has 124 rooms, and four apartment-style suites.

Built in Collaboration with Radford College

The hotel cost $40 million to build, via a public-private partnership between Radford University, the Radford University Foundation, design firm Blur Workshop, Preston Hollow Capital, S.B. Ballard Construction Company and Aimbridge Hospitality.

According to hotel general manager Rachel Pegues, “The hotel started as just an idea that Radford should have a distinguished new hotel, one fitting of its place on the doorstep of this incredible university. One that could serve the businesses that call this region home and with an experienced management team that could bring this new promise to life.”

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