Hotel Roanoke
The Hotel Roanoke is a luxury hotel and National Historic Landmark located in the Gainsboro neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia. Originally built in 1882, the hotel has been renovated many times. It is currently owned by Virginia Tech and operated under the Doubletree Hotels brand.

The Hotel Roanoke was built in 1882 by the Norfolk and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern Railway), which had recently constructed its administrative offices in the city, bringing in over a thousand railroad workers. It officially opened on Christmas Day, 1882. In July, 1898, a fire started in the kitchen which shut down the hotel for several months. The hotel was reopened in January, 1899, restored with a few additions. The next major renovation took place in 1938, remodeling the hotel to have a more Tudor look. Additional new wings were added in 1947 and 1955. In 1989, Norfolk Southern deeded the Hotel Roanoke to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) for $65,000 (USD). After the flag lowering ceremony on November 30, the hotel was closed. Sale of the contents began and continued for 17 days. In 1992, the "Renew Roanoke" campaign was launched to raise enough money to reopen the hotel. Virginia Tech had set a deadline of December 31, 1992 to have enough money. By late fall, the campaign was still short $1,000,000. In an unprecedented Christmas-time fundraiser, the campaign succeeded, raising $5,006,000. Norfolk Southern then donated an additional $2,000,000; 30 times what it received for the hotel. The Hotel Roanoke reopened in 1995 and still operates today. A conference center was built directly adjacent to the Hotel Roanoke and opened in 1995. A pedestrian bridge was also constructed over Norfolk Southern's railroad tracks to link the hotel and conference center to downtown Roanoke near the Wachovia Tower. Roanoke's landmark former passenger rail station was built across the street from the hotel. In 2004, it was converted in a museum devoted to the photography of O. Winston Link as well as housing the Roanoke Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center is operated by Doubletree Hotels (a division of Hilton Hotels) and is partnered with the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center .

Famous guests
In addition to hosting many conventions, the Hotel Roanoke has also had a number of famous guests, including:
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Richard Nixon
  • Gerald Ford
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H. W. Bush
  • Douglas MacArthur
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Aerosmith
  • Spiro Agnew
  • Dick Cheney
  • Hilary Duff
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Ric Flair

  • The hotel is well known for its signature dish, peanut soup, invented by Chef Fred Brown in 1940 and still served today.
  • The Hotel Roanoke was the first hotel in the United States to have air conditioning.
  • Since 1954, Hotel Roanoke has been the host of the Miss Virginia Pageant.
  • In the 1960's, a cattle auction was staged in the Ballroom, which was then cleaned up and deodorized for use in a Roanoke Symphony Ball a few hours later.
  • Mahalia Jackson was the first African-American ever registered in the hotel.

Building Activity

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