Quirk Hotel and gallery opens in time for international visitors

The lobby of Quirk Hotel where rooms go for between $200 and $500 a night. Photos by Pilar Curtis

Adriel Velazquez
Contributing Writer

Quirk Hotel is located at 201 W Broad and opened in time for the UCI races.
Quirk Hotel is located at 201 W Broad and opened in time for the UCI races.

On Sept. 17, the nearly completed Quirk Hotel opened its doors to its first guests, just as the UCI World Championships began to take over Richmond. The 75-room hotel is the new home of Quirk Gallery.

Quirk Gallery has showcased art in Richmond since 2005. Now it is moving to its new location, 201 W. Broad Street, where it will be integrated into the Quirk Hotel, a hotel/gallery hybrid. The hotel occupies the building that once housed the J.B. Mosby and Co. dry goods store. It was built in 1916 and was the first fireproof department store in the city of Richmond. The new hotel features 75 rooms, each featuring art by regional and local artists and custom designed furniture. The custom beds are made from the salvaged floor joists of the original building.

The hotel began opening its floors in phases. It opened the fourth and fifth floors on Sept. 17, and the second and third floors on Friday, Sept. 18. The ground-floor lobby and the in-house Maple & Pine Restaurant opened on the Sept. 17. The actual Quirk Gallery opened on Sept. 25th. The rest of the floors, as well as a public-accessible rooftop terrace and bar will open Nov. 1.

During the week of the UCI bike race, all of the hotel’s 54 open rooms had been sold out. Director of Sales and Marketing for Quirk Hotel, Kate Brown,  said that the bike race was beneficial to the hotels opening. She said the hotel opened for the extra demand for rooms during the bike race.

The lobby of Quirk Hotel where rooms go for between $200 and $500 a night. Photos by Pilar Curtis
The lobby of Quirk Hotel where rooms go for between $200 and $500 a night. Photos by Pilar Curtis

“Well definitely that was our focus to get open before the bike races,” Brown said. “Our ultimate goal was to be completely open, but we wanted the quality of  what we offered to our customers to be very high quality, so that mean that we had to put some things off to make sure that was there, but it was still worthwhile for us open with partial inventory because gust can experience what is here in the lobby, our common areas as well as our amazing rooms.”

The timeline for opening was determined earlier this year. In June the hotel started accepting reservations for October and later dates. But in mid-July Brown says they determined it would be possible to open up a few floors for the race.

“I think the race has had a very positive impact for the hotel,” she said. “It’s good that we were able to open in time for the races because we got to take advantage of so many people both locally and internationally to see what we had to offer as a hotel.”

The Gallery and the Hotel share the same owner: the Ukrop family. The family has owned the space for the hotel for the last decade, but they have waited until now to make the hotel. However, Brown said that having the Gallery be a part of the hotel has been the plan since the hotel was envisioned.

“When the Ukrops bought the property in 1998, they always knew that it was going to be a hotel, they were just waiting for the timing to be right, economically, for the regeneration of this area to be at a level for a hotel to succeed,” Brown said. “When we decided to do a hotel, we knew that we wanted the art gallery to be a part of it.”

Quirk Gallery currently features work from artists including Aggie Zed, Andras Bality and Matt Lively, a VCU alum.

“I like the gallery/hotel hybrid concept because the potential customers are a captive and probably already informed audience,” Lively said.

Lively’s art is not in the gallery, but is integrated into the hotel. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Sculpture from VCU in 1993 and is represented locally by the Glave Kocen Gallery.

His advice for VCU students trying to get their work featured in the Quirk gallery, or any gallery is to know the gallery and the work they show to ensure work will fit in the space. He added that for a piece to be exhibited it needs to be a “cohesive body of work that is finished, dry and ready to be shown at a moment’s notice.”

Andras Bality received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in art history from VCU in 1986 and his work will be exhibited in the new hotel.

“I think (the Quirk Hotel is) great,” Bality said. “However artists can get their work out in front of people is good.”

Reservations can be made on Quirk Hotel’s website. Accommodations include guest rooms and suites. Prices range from $200 a night to almost $500.   

   

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