Hotel 24 South: Preserving City Spirit in Staunton, Virginia

Hotel 24 South Staunton - Elegant lobby with many original details.

Can a landmark like Hotel 24 South embody a city’s spirit? You bet. 

The independently-owned Hotel 24 South in Staunton, Virginia, is not only a iconic architectural gem. The Historic Hotels of America property is also a cultural beacon. The hotel sits in the heart of an downtown full of entrepreneurs. Just walk a few steps and you’ll find unique restaurants, boutiques and outstanding theatrical performances.

The 124-guestroom hotel was built in 1924, restored in 2005, and underwent a meticulous renovation in 2018. While the owners made sure modern amenities were forefront, they also were careful to maintain the structure’s past elegance. And their efforts have been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Exterior of the Hotel 24 South.

Walk into the lobby of Hotel 24 South and you’ll see much of what guests saw back in the 1920s. As you make your way to the reception desk, you’ll tread on original marble floors. Look around and you’ll glimpse glass display cases along the wall. Your path will be lit by original chandeliers and wall sconces. Depending on the season, you might even be able to pull up a chair to the fireplace. It features the  lobby’s first and only mantlepiece.  

When you check in, look up and you’ll see the 1924 railing bordering the mezzanine area. That floor is worth a wander. It’s where you’ll find a 1923 Wurlitzer Organ, built especially for the hotel. 

Reports note that during the renovations, the organ was found sealed inside the hotel walls. After a complete restoration, the antique organ became playable again. You can hear it if you’re there for a special event, especially during the holiday season.

Comfortable guest room with two beds.

On the new and improved side of Hotel 24 South, guestrooms and bathrooms have been enlarged. Also, a porte-cochere was added to the exterior and is fitted out with rocking chairs. It is a refreshing place to take in the breeze on a warm evening. As well, off the lobby area are a gift shop and a space to pick up coffee and  sundries.

Room amenities include free Wi-fi, a coffee maker, and pillowtop mattresses. If you are traveling with Fido, you can reserve a pet-friendly room for a fee. Self-parking, in a covered garage, is also available for a fee.

Good sized swimming pool with hot tub.

To keep in shape, there’s an indoor pool. Or you can work out in the small fitness center. A hot tub in the pool area is great to relieve tense muscles.

Also available is a business center. Plus there is 8,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space that can accommodate up to 400 people.

The 1924 Lounge off the lobby.

As for refreshments and dining, check out the 1924 Lounge off the lobby. It serves light, comfort fare such as burgers, tacos, and cocktails. Open Friday and Saturday nights 5-10 p.m.

The Magnolia South restaurant, also off the lobby, is where you can indulge in a sumptuous breakfast buffet. Take your choice of fruit, yogurt, pastries, eggs, smoked bacon, and sausages. The cost is $15 and it is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings.

People like to stay in Staunton for its culture, nature, and history. Theater fans flock to the city because it boasts the American Shakespeare Center and Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. The Hotel 24 South is right next door.

Shenandoah Valley.

The area is also a natural paradise. Located in the breathtaking Shenandoah Valley, Staunton’s nearby parks offer more than 500 miles of hiking trails. Or you can cruise the Skyline Drive and stop at 69 different scenic overlooks. Not to be missed is Shenandoah National Park. It has 300 square miles of backcountry, wetlands, and waterfalls.

For history buffs, there’s the Frontier Culture Museum, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum, and the Antique Fire Engine Museum. In addition, you can peruse the Camera Heritage Museum, and the Staunton Military Academy Museum at Mary Baldwin University. 

There are several nearby Civil War battle sites since Staunton was a strategic site in the Shenandoah Valley. It was valued by both Confederates and Federals.

Interestingly, Hotel 24 South was originally called the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center. According to a press release from the hotel ownership group, in 2020 members felt it was “appropriate” to rename the hotel. They joined many other institutions at that time that were ridding themselves of contentious monikers. 

Today, the name reflects the hotel’s address at 24 South Market Street as well as the year it was built. With the new name, all prospective guests can recognize it as a welcoming property.

Rates range from around $145 per night for Queen and King rooms, to $360 for a one-bedroom suite. Book your stay directly with the hotel or check rates at an online hotel booking site such as Expedia or to see if you can find a better deal there.

Hotel feature by Toronto-based travel writer Maureen Littlejohn. Photos © Maureen Littlejohn. Virginia Tourism arranged for her stay as she researched a larger piece. As always, her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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