Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Announces The Forum Hotel at the UVA Darden School of Business in Charlottesville
New Boutique Hotel Reveals Name, Hires General Manager
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury & Lifestyle Collection, announced the name of its first on-campus hotel, The Forum Hotel at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in Charlottesville, and the appointment of its leader, General Manager Kelly Brown. Set to open in spring 2023 on the Goodwin Family Grounds of the Darden School, The Forum Hotel will reflect the vibrant atmosphere and purpose-driven culture of the Darden community by creating a dynamic meeting place for students, alumni, faculty and guests. The Forum is now taking reservations on its website for the summer season, with dates of stay as early as 1 July 2023 currently available.
The Forum Hotel will fully embrace the meaning of its moniker to become a place that offers opportunities to connect, reflect and learn together throughout the boutique property. Situated on the Grounds of the Darden School of Business and anchored by a magnificent five-acre arboretum and botanical gardens, the hotel will be home to thematic gardens, a pond, a restored stream and walking trails that connect Darden to the UVA School of Law, Rivanna Trail, and the greater University and Charlottesville area. From well-suited interiors, personalized guest service, robust food and beverage programming, and breath-taking indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces — every detail is designed to encourage heartfelt connections within the community.
The unique collaboration between Kimpton, the UVA Darden School, the UVA Darden School Foundation and the generous donations of many philanthropists will make the vision of a completely reimagined boutique hotel and restaurant experience on the Grounds of the Darden School a reality. Lead donor Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) provided seed money as part of his transformational gift to Darden in 2019 — the largest in School history. Principal founding sponsors of the hotel, arboretum and botanical gardens include Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88), board chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees; the Altec/Styslinger Foundation; David M. (MBA ’78) and Kathleen O. LaCross, who are naming the botanical gardens; George Tahija (MBA ’86); Dick Crawford (MBA ’74); the Hugin Family; Steven C. Voorhees (MBA ’80); and Donald E. Morel, Jr. Ph.D. (TEP ’97).
The Forum will stand as a five-story, new-build hotel featuring 198 sophisticated guest rooms, 10 suites with sweeping views, and more than 11,500 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting spaces and classrooms, perfect for celebrations, corporate conferences, and educational gatherings of every sort. Further enhancing the guest experience, The Forum will offer all of Kimpton’s beloved perks, including morning coffee and tea service, evening social hour, “Forgot It? We’ve Got It!” program, in-room yoga mats, on-site fitness center, complimentary bicycles and pet-friendly policies. Anchoring the property with a true convivial spirit and a deeply connected gathering experience will be two unique restaurant and bar concepts that will embrace the bounty of the mid-Atlantic region — a lively taproom and a ground-level restaurant with a large outdoor terrace. Complementing these will be a well-appointed wine cellar, available for meetings and private dinners. Those seeking new venues for board meetings and special celebrations will also find ample inspiration in the hotel’s 6,000+ square-foot ballroom, with the capacity to host a 425-person seated reception, and a similarly sized adjacent event lawn.
To lead the team, Kimpton tapped seasoned hospitality professional and Kimpton alumna Kelly Brown as its general manager. A 16-year hospitality veteran, Kelly began her career with Kimpton, holding managerial roles at its properties in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. She rose through the ranks at the boutique hospitality company to her most recent post as the general manager at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There she was awarded by the local Chamber of Commerce with an annual leadership award for her leadership on the property and in her community involvement. Now relocated to Charlottesville and settling into her new role, Kelly will lead the team at The Forum and oversee all aspects of the hotel’s opening and operations.
“We are so eager to open the doors to The Forum Hotel next spring,” said Brown. “We are confident Charlottesville will embrace our sophisticated hotel, offering flexible spaces for the community to relax, focus and collaborate. My team is already working hard on making The Forum one of the most exciting places in the city to stay, connect and celebrate.”
The Forum will be Charlottesville’s first Kimpton, joining Hotel Monaco in Baltimore, The George Hotel, The Banneker Hotel and Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C., as Kimpton’s fifth boutique hotel in the mid-Atlantic region. For more information, visit forumhotelcharlottesville.com.
San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is a leading collection of boutique hotels and restaurants and the acknowledged industry pioneer that first introduced the boutique hotel concept to the United States. In 1981, Bill Kimpton founded the company that today is renowned for making travelers feel genuinely cared for through thoughtful perks and amenities, bold, playful design, and a sincerely personal style of guest service.
Kimpton is consistently ranked as one of the top companies in the Market Metrix Hospitality Index, Upper Upscale Segment, for Customer Satisfaction. The company is highly regarded for its innovative employee culture and benefits and has been named a FORTUNE magazine “Best Place to Work” seven times annually since 2009. Kimpton is continuously growing and currently operates over 60 hotels and 70 plus restaurants, bars, and lounges in 32 U.S. cities. In January 2015, Kimpton was welcomed into the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) family of hotel brands, bringing together two special cultures and sets of values to create the world’s largest boutique hotel business. For more information, visit www.KimptonHotels.com.
The University of Virginia Darden School Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Darden School of Business by promoting philanthropic support from alumni, friends and corporations; managing endowment funds for the School’s exclusive benefit; and operating Darden’s top-ranked Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs, The Forum Hotel and hospitality offerings on the Darden Grounds. Darden’s elected board of trustees oversees the Foundation’s strategies and gives time and advice, providing an essential link between the academic and business communities. For more information, visit www.darden.virginia.edu/foundation.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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