Stratford Hall is known as part of Virginia’s stately past and was once home to the Lees of Virginia. However, what has been the secret of a few travelers recently went public with an extensive article by Guy Trebay in the New York Times Travel and Leisure section: “Virginia’s Lost History,” November 22, 2012. Timing of the article’s release was opportune, as it coincided with Stratford Hall’s Board of Directors’ major plan to launch the property into the professional world of inn keeping, making it a “must-see-and-do” destination.
Its Board of Directors has committed to developing the “lodging component.”
After more than a year of searching, Stratford Hall has brought Northern Neck native and third generation hotelier, Randolph Stephens, on board to lead the effort in catering to travelers.
“The members of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association Board cannot believe our good fortune in finding Stephens, an incredible pro in the hospitality field and a native of the Northern Neck, at a time when an integral part of our mission is to expose more visitors to Stratford Hall for longer periods of time,” said Mrs. William Woltz, Board Director for North Carolina.
“There is nothing like the experience of staying on the property where the Lees lived, and now we can be confident that it will be a great destination under his guidance.”
Stephens, a Northern Neck native, was raised in the resort hotel business created by his grandfather, E. A. Stephens, and his father, Robert L. Stephens, which developed into one of the “nation’s great resorts.” In his youth, Randolph earned money during summers and holidays working in every department of The Tides Inn, and later, after graduating with a degree in the hotel and restaurant tourism business, launched his professional career working in world-class properties like The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Once he and his wife, Tamara, began to grow their young family, “it was time to get back home to the best place I knew to raise children,” recalls Randolph. In 1989, he returned to Irvington and the Tides Inn and began working for the family business until 2001, when the Stephenses sold the property.
“Stratford Hall is a uniquely beautiful property, and an important part of this country’s history,” says Stephens. “It is an enchanting retreat and step back in time to the simpler things in life.” According to Stephens, Stratford Hall has everything in place for a lodging experience. The rooms are recently redecorated and modernized, the staff is committed, knowledgeable and the Board of Directors is in full support. They have even funded a much needed kitchen renovation.
“What we need now is the word to get out that we are open for business, and that is my job!” said Stephens.
The new designation of Stratford’s lodging, dining and meeting facilities as “The Inn at Stratford Hall” reflects the bringing together of all these components. It has 21 well-appointed guest rooms with Wi-Fi, as well as 18 individual log cabins to rent.
A dining room that will seat 100-plus reopens this spring with a modern commercial kitchen and a new look. There are meeting rooms for corporate functions and it is the perfect setting for weddings and family reunions. An accommodating staff caters to each group’s individual needs and interests.
“My reservation agents and I are eager to talk to anyone interested in learning more and can be easily reached at 804-493-1966 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”