This week marked the official opening of Richmond’s first art-driven boutique hotel, Quirk Hotel. Housed inside an old 1916 luxury department store—with the 13-foot ceilings and original maple floors to prove it—the property connects to the Quirk Gallery, a neighboring art space directed by co-owner Katie Ukrop. According to Katie’s husband and fellow co-owner Ted Ukrop, the concept for the hotel came fully formed: “We always had a pretty clear idea of what artists we’d exhibit, what the overall aesthetic and feel would be.”
And about that name? “To us, a ‘quirk’ isn’t necessarily ‘quirky.’ Our favorite quirk moments are in those subtle nuances or unexpected details.”
So, without further ado, a breakdown of the hotel, in ten ‘quirky’ facts:
1. The rooms are pink. Yup. They call it the “perfect marriage of masculinity and femininity.” We call it genius.
2. The hotel has its own custom blend of coffee. It’s called “Quirk” (naturally), and the beans get roasted just across the river at Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. The flavor profile? “Sweet notes of tobacco and candied orange.”
3. The lobby features a rather unusual art installation: a collection of used coffee lids arranged in the shape of trade routes in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s by Susie Ganch, one of the artists the hotel reached out to via Instagram before opening.
4. When you step off the elevator, the first thing you’ll see is a cat. That is, if your room number starts with 3. Each floor has a unique portrait made out of papier-maché, and there are seven in total—two dogs, one cat, and four humans.
5. You can do your holiday shopping inside the hotel. Every item in the gift shop is handpicked by Ted and Katie, featuring humorous items like tabby cat pillows and pixelated solitaire cards, as well as stationery, books, and perfumes. There’s even custom jewelry by the likes of Tina Frey, who is responsible for the ice buckets and vanity trays in the guest rooms as well.
6. Your bed used to be a floor joist. That’s right, all of the beds were made from reclaimed wood and floor joists—that’s a foundational support beam, for all you non-builders—saved during demolition.
7. Breakfast is made from scratch. The kitchen, led by Chef David Dunlap, doesn’t cut corners when it comes to the most important meal of the day: stewed apples (served with brioche French toast for breakfast), marinated blackberries (mixed with Greek yogurt), and roasted vanilla almond milk are all made in-house.
8. This hotel has been ten years in the making. Co-owner Ted Ukrop, whose family has owned the building since 1997, first got the idea for Quirk after staying in the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the first hotels to blur the line between lodging and art exhibit space (and a Travel + Leisure 2014 Global Vision Award winner).
9. The hotel almost had a seven-story tunnel slide. During demolition, they came across a steel cylinder delivery chute stretching from the sixth floor down to the basement. “It was probably used to send merchandise from floor to floor,” says Ted.
10. The best is yet to come. Though the hotel officially opened last week, a set of four specialty suites—built on top of the roof inside a glass cube, each with a private patio—are set to debut in November, next to the hotel’s rooftop lounge.
Rates for a double room start at $203.