Driving into the quaint town of Luray, Virginia, was a much-needed reprieve from 4.5 hours spent driving mostly highways from New Jersey. My sister and I arrived in town around 4 p.m., found parking in the lot provided by Hotel Laurance, and happily jumped out to mask up, check-in and stretch our legs.
Ringing the hotel’s doorbell felt a lot like knocking on a friend’s house where I was expected company. We were welcomed inside, checked in and given our key codes along with a quick tour of the boutique hotel’s community seating area, also known as The Keeping Room, and back patio in minutes.
Each of our two rooms offered a private entrance separate from the hotel’s main lobby, so we could come and go as we pleased without walking through the hotel common areas — a nice touch for two out-of-towners traveling cautiously during a pandemic.
We checked out our rooms and excitedly unpacked a few things, preparing for a quick hike before sunset at Shenandoah National Park.
My room, named The Tucker, was like a small apartment with a full kitchen with a mix of retro and modern touches. I walked through to the small seating area complete with a smart TV and plenty of books to read by the window, and around the corner through a short hallway leading into a queen-bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. The space felt cozy but open with a window in every room. The décor was something out of a Southern charm handbook, including upscale finishes and vintage-style furniture and chic, old-fashioned touches in every room.
My sister’s room next door, called The Meranda, opened into a larger living room with a nice-sized sectional sleeper sofa, TV and an antique-luggage-turned-coffee-table at the center. Off of the living room was a fully-tiled bathroom, boasting a large shower and beautiful vintage accessories, including one of the prettiest trashcans I’ve ever seen. On either side of the living room was the full kitchen with a large 1950s-style sink, coffee bar with two antique stools, and a chic, modern-meets-old-world bedroom with a vintage-style wooden desk to work from and plenty of closet space.
Other than the hotel’s eclectic décor and charm, its other highlights have to be the friendly staff and great location for a hiking trip. Guests can easily walk to local eateries, walking paths, quaint shops and attractions in town, or hop in the car and drive 15 minutes to Shenandoah National Park or about 30 minutes to Shenandoah Caverns — two top attractions in the area.
After some helpful suggestions by the hotel concierge, my sister and I were on the road to the Thornton Gap entrance of Shenandoah National Park — we were on the trails in less than 15 minutes and watching the sunset over Mary’s Rock.
Not a bad way to start the first evening of a two-day hiking trip in Virginia.
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