It’s no secret that after Virginia Tech overenrolled by at least 1,000 students this fall semester, the university had to enlist the help of two Blacksburg hotels. Living in a hotel-turned-dorm room remains unfathomable to all upperclassmen and on-campus residents.
Amid all the hysteria, however, resident Brendan Huang, a freshman majoring in math, lets students in on the enigmatic reality that is life at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
Consequent to acting upon his acceptance letter from the university back in April, Huang got quite a late start in the dorm hunt. It was then that he came to the realization that he and his future roommate would ultimately be living off campus their freshman year. “I was happy because I knew you would get a bathroom but worried if I would be disconnected or if the walk would be really long,” Huang said.
While the 15-minute commute to campus is a relatively short one in comparison to that of the Holiday Inn, Huang said, “The walk is pretty bad; especially in the cold it kind of sucks.”
Beyond the journey to campus, living in the hotel mean an extra upfront expense in addition to a meal plan: a $300 laundry service. Huang decided to opt for this amenity. “On Tuesdays they pick (the laundry) up in the morning, and they just put it in this bag that they give you, but it's not very big of a bag so I have to stuff everything in there. It doesn’t come back until Thursday in the afternoon, so you have to wear anything you have,” Huang said.
Another difference is that the hotel’s student residents don’t have to swipe into the building by means of Hokie Passport. Although, the lack of card security is compensated for with the presence of guards.
Nevertheless, upon passing the guards to enter one of the rooms at the inn, beds are still lofted like many dorms on campus. It is merely a hotel with dorm furniture after all. “Since the bed is lofted, I hit my head on the ceiling every once in a while, and you know hotel ceilings — they’re the crumbly ones. The ceiling falls off and the crumbs get in my bed, so I have to wipe it all off,” Huang said. In this sense, hotel life might not be all that different from living on campus.
Residents do, however, have the luxury of in-house maintenance in which cleaning staff tidies the bathroom and vacuums the carpet. Continental breakfast is also served in the mornings. If he had the choice to leave these conveniences behind or live in a traditional dorm, Huang said, “the bathrooms are really nice so depending on the amenities you get, preferably, I would pick the Inn over Slusher.”
Living on the opposite side of campus from the residential area, the hotel residents get to experience independent living at quite an expedited pace. Living away from home, let alone off campus, poses quite the navigational challenge. Like most upperclassmen, living off campus means not getting home until 10 or11 p.m. each night due to the sheer convenience of remaining on campus.
“I don’t really interact with a lot of people from the Inn because most people are gone because they don’t want to be there,” Huang said. Everyone that they want to see is on campus.”
Huang was one of the lucky ones, though. “Another thing I like about (the hotel) is the people I ended up meeting there; it worked out pretty well,” he said. Despite the hotels’ unfortunate locations, this form of off-campus living might not be all that different from the dorms as so many have come to think; they still get to experience bonding with their hallmates. Rather than complaining about dorm showers, however, in the hotel, it might just be about the strangely enthusiastic hotel manager, who, realistically, may be even more entertaining.