History, Policies and FAQs
We are renovating and upgrading the inn to improve the guest experience, including decadent fabrics and decor, more delicious food with an emphasis on local provisions and an expanded offering of packages and amenities. As we embark on this exciting new chapter, we want to thank the tens of thousands of wonderful guests who made our first 13 years possible.
Since we opened in 2003, we have received recommendations from dozens of media outlets, including:
- Travel & Leisure Magazine
- CNN Travel
- The Chicago Sun Times
- NBC’s Today Show
- The New York Times
“James Dinsmore… a more faithful, honest and respectable man I have never known.”
The Dinsmore Boutique Inn takes its name from the home’s architect and builder, James Dinsmore. Perhaps no other person had as much of a hand in shaping the famous presidential homes of Virginia, and the University of Virginia than Dinsmore. This house is a standing testament to his craftsmanship and legacy.
Born in Northern Ireland in about 1771, Dinsmore became a naturalized citizen in Philadelphia on the fifth of June, 1798. His tools, purchased in Philadelphia at Thomas Jefferson’s expense, were sent to Monticello where Dinsmore worked as a master carpenter. In 1809, Dinsmore left Monticello to build Montpelier, the home of then U.S. President James Madison. Meanwhile, British troops had burned the nation’s Capitol in 1814, and Jefferson recommended Dinsmore to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America’s first professionally trained architect, for restoration work there.
In subsequent years Dinsmore resided in Charlottesville, living on Main Street and speculating in property along that thoroughfare. From 1817 to 1825 he subdivided thirteen contiguous lots between Tenth and Fourteenth streets. Surviving structures from that period are the Vowles and Livers townhouses. The Dinsmore Boutique Inn staff and guests currently occupy the Livers house.
During his time at the University of Virginia Dinsmore was the principal master carpenter for Pavilions III, V, and VIII; fourteen dormitories; and together with John Neilson, the Rotunda and Anatomical Theatre.
The Dinsmore prides itself on making sure your visit to Charlottesville and our inn is as pleasant and memorable as possible. With so much investment in each and every guest, and the inn we offer as your Charlottesville home, we ask that you have a look at our policies to assure your satisfaction.
Unless otherwise stated, cancellations must be communicated no later than two weeks prior to your stay. No-shows or cancellations made less than two weeks prior to your stay result in a charge equal to the total amount of your reservation. If your reservation is cancelled inside the two-week window, we will refund any portion of your reservation that we are able to resell.
Check-in time is between 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Early check-ins and late check-ins can usually be arranged by phone. If you will be arriving later than 7:00 p.m., please give us a call so we know when to expect you. Arrivals after midnight are not guaranteed a room, unless prior arrangements are made. Checkout time is 11:00 a.m.
If you are traveling with pets, please let us know and we will gladly provide numbers for kennels in the area.
Smoking is not permitted in the Inn. Guests may smoke outside on the back porch or in the courtyard.
We require a two-night minimum stay over prime season weekends and some holidays. The two-night stay requirement will be lifted on the Wednesday prior to the requested stay for any rooms not yet reserved, and only a one-night stay is required if booked within three days of the desired date.
Children over eight years old are welcome at the Inn. Please inquire by phone if your children are younger. While we love children, we are sensitive to the fact that some of our guests have come to The Dinsmore to escape their own wonderful children for a few days.
A full breakfast is served from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Special dietary needs may be accommodated with prior notice.
Most guestrooms have non-operational fireplaces. Per fire code, and for the safety of our guests and inn, no fires or candles are permitted in guestrooms.
The Dinsmore has free fiber-optic wireless Internet access available to our guests, which provides unmatched speed and reliability so that our guests can stream video or conduct business on their personal devices. We do not have telephones in our guest rooms.
Do I need to drive when I go downtown?
It is not necessary to drive to go downtown. If you like to walk, we are a ten-minute walk to the Historic Downtown Mall. There is also a stop for the Free Trolley just 1/2 block away from our front door.
Is parking available?
We offer off-street, garage parking for our guests. The parking garage is accessed with a key card, which you will be provided at check-in.
Are there places nearby to walk to lunch and dinner?
Yes! We are located near UVA Hospital, the University and at the east end of “The Corner“. There are eateries that specialize fresh salads, gourmet burgers, specialty pizza, Thai/Vietnamese, Mexican, Mediterranean, deli sandwiches and more within a two-block radius of the inn. We are happy to make reservations for you.
Are there things to do outdoors without having to drive far?
The University of Virginia has some trails along the west side of campus: one circles the Observatory, and the Rivanna Trail runs the entire length of the campus, north/south along Route 29. McIntire Park has several shorter trails to follow, and the Rivanna River has walking paths on either side of the waterway.
Where are the wineries?
There are nearly 20 wineries all within a 30-minute drive of The Dinsmore. Our staff will be happy to point you in the right direction, or you can visit the Monticello Wine Trail website.
How far is Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello?
Monticello is 5.3 miles away from The Dinsmore. There is no public transportation to Monticello, so we recommend you take your own vehicle or call an Uber. Highland, the home of James Monroe is 7 miles away, and Montpelier, the home of James Madison is 20 miles north of the inn.