A few weeks ago, I got the chance to do a staycation at Hilton Norfolk The Main, a new high rise hotel set in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The luxury hotel graciously had me for two nights and I felt so spoiled. It was nice to escape, even just for the weekend! The hotel is steps away from the water and the newest addition to our skyline. The space itself is incredible and it’s already a go-to destination for tourists and great regular hangout for locals in Coastal Virginia. Inside the modern hotel are four places to dine including a rooftop beer garden (we’ll get to the food in just a bit), indoor pool and a game room.
My room at Hilton Norfolk The Main was perched on the 19th floor and with it comes sweeping views of the Elizabeth River. To be honest, I didn’t think this view would ever impress me until I actually saw it. You can see the new Waterside District and a little bit of Portsmouth across the water where they’re building US naval ships. The King bed is ultra cozy and I appreciate the modern decor in the room. One of my favorite decor pieces is the map of Coastal Virginia above the desk space. The bathroom is spacious and features a stone walk-in shower that’s super luxe. Also, the lighting in the bathroom is perfect for doing makeup so no complaints here, which is rare! Plus, the station above the nightstands on both sides of the bed features USB ports, so cubes for your chargers can stay in your bag.
Where to Eat
VARIA (2ND FLOOR)
Varia, an upscale romantic Italian restaurant, is on the second floor of Hilton Norfolk The Main. The decor is intricate and lush, including a shiny red piano, where a pianist plays six nights a week. The gorgeous chandeliers are from the original Cavalier Hotel, which sits by the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach. While I enjoyed all the restaurants during my staycation Varia is at the top of my list for taste and ambiance.
For breakfast, diners can opt for buffet or order off the menu. I got the power bowl, which includes quinoa, country sausage, kale, roasted butternut squash and a poached egg. The serving size may look small, but it really fills you up and is delicious. Also, you create your own omelet or order delish waffles from the griddle. If you order room service for breakfast, the food will come from Varia. I can personally vouch for the eggs benedict and french toast.
Next up at Varia is dinner, which is absolutely divine. The lighting is romantically dim and on the night I was there a lovely singer serenaded guests. For tapas, they are either $5 each or you can choose three for $14. I tried the fried burrata, the stone oven meatball and the white bean and marinated tomato bruschettas. I was with a hungry group and the tapas went around quickly, so I’m sorry for not having photos. My entree, the lobster spaghetti was superb. The lobster is beautifully prepared and nicely sweet. The pasta is fresh and I was geeking out when the staff let me get up close to see.
Finally, for dessert, I could not resist the tiramisu ball. Despite being so full, I really enjoyed the new take on one of my favorite sweet treats. Inside Hilton Norfolk The Main, no design detail is left unfinished. The kitchen is a dream, including white subway tile with touches of red. There are hundreds of books inside Varia lining the beautiful bookshelves. The hotel’s interior designer had all of the books reskinned so he could have the exact colors he wanted. Speaking of bookshelves, toward the back of Varia, there are two massive bookshelves. They are actually secret speakeasy style doors, opening to reveal a private dining room. A celebrity, I may completely admire dined inside. 😉
Another note, Varia offers wine by the glass and I was told the sommelier is fantastic. As a side note, dinner on the weekends can be a hub of sound and activity with the pianist and singer going and many of the patrons trying to speak over the music. It’s romantic and fun spot with scenes of The Great Gatsby coming to mind.
SALTINE (FIRST FLOOR)
Next up when it comes to restaurants inside Hilton Norfolk The Main is Saltine. It’s a street-level bright and airy seafood restaurant. On sunny days, the garage doors open up onto Main Street with a patio extending into one of the busier intersections in Norfolk. It’s a lovely, casual hangout with good weather in Hampton Roads. There is a huge mermaid tail when you first walk in, an homage to Norfolk’s mascot. I’ve eaten at Saltine twice now, both times for lunch. However, I am a bigger fan of the second experience. There is a lunch special where you can get half a sandwich and a soup. I got the flounder and it was good, but didn’t blow me away. The lobster bisque was yummy, though! Also, I really enjoyed the raw oysters from the James River.
On my second lunch trip, I ordered a variety of starters with my sister. A beautiful spread including charbroiled oysters, soft shell crab, fried calamari and crab cake graced our table. The crab cake is very light and full of crab, which is exactly how it needs to be! The calamari is just right and the soft shell crab absolutely yummy. The charbroiled oysters were delicious and we definitely had some food left over between the two of us. The presentation of the food is beautiful, which is great for Instagram! I would absolutely recommend these!
The pewter-top bar is a beauty and as water rings form, it adds character to the top. I love the old-world detailing of the restaurant and the mosaic tile floors are beautiful. I definitely am guilty of taking a couple photos of my shoes here! From the bar area to the dining space things get more elegant. I love the deep green leather seating, which adds a rich feel. Also at the bar, Josh Seaburg, the head mixologist, brings his A-game with every single drink.
GRAIN (5TH FLOOR)
Grain is nestled on the 5th floor and is a beer garden with more beers than I can count! The rooftop terrace offers beautiful views from Hilton Norfolk The Main. It’s the place to be, especially since it’s Norfolk’s only rooftop beer garden. Trust me, the only reason I’m the only person in these photos is the staff graciously let me inside to take photos before opening at 11 am. I’ve been to The Grain a handful of times and each time it is popping. Millenials all the way to baby boomers show up to grab a drink or two, hang out with friends and catch the game. There are foosball tables, darts, billiards and plenty of games to play. There is also a fun photo booth and you can stick your photos up on the wall afterward!
In addition to beer, the menu offers light fare, including BBQ pork wings, steamed shrimp, mac n cheese, burgers and substantial sandwiches. If you go at night, I would recommend arriving before 9 pm, since that’s when they start to card guests and the line starts to grow pretty fast. It can take about five to 10 minutes to get inside. Johnny and I went to The Grain with friends a few weeks after they opened. As you can see, the view is quite stunning.
FRUITIVE (1ST FLOOR)
Fruitive is the first certified organic fast-casual restaurant in North America. Offering a wide variety of fresh smoothies, they call them liquid meals, juices all the way to wraps and sandwiches, it’s a great way to eat healthily. I found time to go twice, each time getting a liquid meal. The first time I got the Dragon Berry and the second time the Peaches & Greens. Both are super yummy and I highly recommend. While they are smoothies, both kept me full for a couple hours. I actually brought the Dragon Berry one with me to the pool, which was probably one of the best ideas I had during the staycation.
What Else You Need To Know
On the same floor as Grain sits the hotel’s pool, which opens up to a rooftop patio. While the pool is indoors, I like having some of the sleek lounge chairs outside. You can soak up some sun and not have to worry about accidental splashes from the pool. This fun swan print bikini top and matching bottoms are perfect for lounging. The high-waist silhouette really elongates the legs. Plus, no worries about keeping that tummy tight, especially after indulging in all the yummy food Hilton Norfolk The Main has to offer.
The valet service at this hotel is excellent. However, the drop-off and pick-up points are in different locations, so take note. If you are coming back to the hotel after 10pm and it’s a weekend, have your room key card or valet slip handy. Security will ask for it since there will be crowds around the entrance and hotel lobby. These are usually folks who are either going up to The Grain, leaving or just hanging around. Therefore, hotel staff usually want to make sure at that point, only guests can access certain parts of the hotel.
There are two separate elevator banks. One for folks who are coming for dining or events at the hotel that stops at the 5th floor and the other for guests. Hence, you will need your room key card to access guest floors.
I hope you enjoyed this staycation post. Hilton Norfolk The Main exceeded my expectations for a high-rise hotel in Downtown Norfolk. The rooms are spacious and beautiful. Of course, they have all the modern amenities you would expect. I would definitely recommend staying here if you are in Coastal Virginia!