The Clifton is an undeniable choice for overnight stays and fine dining in picturesque Charlottesville, Virginia. With arguably the richest history of any other local lodge, the Clifton sits near the gateway to Shenandoah National Park and is directly associated with the city’s most famous former resident – Thomas Jefferson. With a stunning backdrop of the mighty Blue Ridge Mountains, the Clifton is also gaining broader attention, possessing Michelin-worthy cuisine and a refreshing new change in personnel to this sprawling 18th century property. Whether it’s for an upcoming holiday getaway or an intimate spring wedding, learn why the Clifton is a top choice when visiting the historic city of Charlottesville.
About The Clifton
1296 Clifton Inn Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22911
The Clifton is an historic boutique hotel built in 1799 by Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., the husband of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Martha. Serving as an inn now for more than 35 years, the Clifton retains many of the original structures on its 100-acre property, such as the colonial revival-styled Manor House. The celebrated boutique offers 20 guest rooms and suites, world-class service and hospitality, an exceptional restaurant and bar led by a Michelin-starred chef, infinity swimming pool and indoor/outdoor wedding facilities.
The Clifton is just minutes from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and other Charlottesville attractions like the historic Downtown Mall and the University of Virginia. Additionally, some of the state’s leading wineries are also nearby, on the legendary Monticello Wine Trail, including Jefferson Vineyards, established nearly 250 years ago and called the “Birthplace of American Wine”.
Also known as the Clifton Inn, this award-winning property is consistently named the best hotel in Charlottesville by TripAdvisor and has earned a number of recent distinctions, like “12 New Boutique Hotels to Visit this Year” by Southern Living and “The Best Place for a Girls Trip” from O, The Oprah Magazine.
In addition to the stately Manor House with seven rooms and suites, the Clifton offers accommodations in four other historic structures, with three within walking distance – Cottage with two rooms, Livery Stables with three suites and the three-room Carriage House, including a two-story bridal suite. One half mile from the central property is Collina Farmhouse, with five bedrooms and private baths, a fully equipped kitchen and views of the Clifton’s 18-acre private lake.
While each of the guest rooms and suites are unique in design, each offers fine linens and bath products, flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, a blend of antique and modern furnishings, custom lighting by Luke Hobbs and impressive original artwork from William McClure. Some rooms feature fireplaces, private decks, and claw foot tubs or rainfall showers from Waterworks. Other amenities include luggage assistance, nightly turndown service and complimentary continental breakfast. The Clifton is also pet friendly, with pets allowed in many of the rooms. A $75 fee per stay is added to the reservation.
1799 is the signature restaurant of the Clifton Inn, led Michelin-starred executive chef Matthew Bousquet who earned coveted star as owner-chef of Mirepoix in California’s Sonoma Wine Country. Known as one of the most romantic restaurants in Virginia, 1799 showcases Mid-Atlantic cuisine, including a fabulous chef’s menu graced with imaginative gourmet dishes and fresh organic vegetables sourced directly from the chef’s on-site farm. While the central Library dining space is quite popular, additional seating is available at the Cooper Bar, Wine Cellar with a private entrance, the exclusive Chef’s Counter in the kitchen and seasonal outdoor patio.
Back by the restaurant’s Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, the Cooper Bar offers premium wines from France and California, along with expertly crafted house and signature cocktails. A sample bar menu includes popular favorites like Maple Walnut Perfect Manhattan, premium beers and seasonal cocktails like Cooper Sazerac and Oaxaca Old Fashioned.
Open for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch and dinner, 1799 restaurant is also hosting a lavish Thanksgiving dinner featuring sumptuous salads, traditional turkey, Virginia flounder and deliciously inventive desserts.
In addition to the 400 square foot infinity pool, the property features a spacious hot tub, cabanas and lounge chairs. The property also features courts, lawn games like croquet and several miles of hiking trails, including a short stroll to the private pond. Onsite massages are also available upon request.
The Clifton offers several meeting rooms and outdoor spaces onsite. This includes the Library for up to 25 guests, Wine Cellar for 30 guests and larger spaces like the Outdoor Terrace and Back Lawn or the Court Tent for 200 and 250 guests respectively. Other options include the Cooper Bar and Lounge for up to 25 guests and Collina Farmhouse, with a capacity of 120 guests.
One of the most coveted wedding venues in the entire Charlottesville region, the Clifton offers a number of wedding services. Examples are accommodations in all 20 guest rooms, suites and cottages, pre-wedding family/rehearsal dinner, gourmand dining options and wedding space from smaller parties to larger space for 250 guests.
A clear indication of why the Clifton is such an extraordinary boutique is its obvious quality of service and hospitality, as well its fine attention to every detail. Everyone from the bar and wait staff to the concierge and all levels of management, particularly incoming general manager Leah Pence are truly outstanding. Additionally, Ms. Pence also expects to see additional improvements in the near future, such as valet parking and structural refinements. A distinguished graduate of both George Mason University and Columbia University, Ms. Pence also serves on the city council of the Town of Luray and as secretary on the Board of Directors for Page County’s Habitat for Humanity, among others.
The Clifton is offering a number of specials and offers. This includes a Fall Harvest Package through November 31, History Lovers Package with two night accommodations and two passes to Monticello and Staycation, with luxurious accommodations and dinner at 1799.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University and a member of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).