A ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-November marked the reopening of the remodeled Continental Divide lounge at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

Tom Cupo, the inn’s general manager, said the lounge has gained positive reviews from guests and seen record-breaking business.

Continental Divide is “an ideal place for university faculty and staff, as well as community members, to gather and network,” Cupo said.

Changes include new flooring, wall décor, furniture, light fixtures, and a more open layout. The 1,200-square-foot space now seats more guests and offers a mix of seating styles, including the rebuilt dual-sided bar, which serves guests in both Continental Divide and Preston’s Restaurant.

The renovation is part of a major revamping of the inn’s food-and-beverage program. Within the past few months, the inn has announced the promotion of Chang Lei-Yun to director of food and beverage and the hiring of Scott Watson as executive chef and Lindsey Craft as Preston’s and Continental Divide manager.

In this one-minute video, Craft outlines the rationale behind the changes.

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New menus created by Watson and the culinary team feature shareable plates, salads, sandwiches, and light entrées. Signature cocktails include a blackberry margarita, along with seven rotating taps highlighting local brews and an extensive award-winning wine list. The lounge hosts live music every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Continental Divide’s makeover draws on its roots. The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Blacksburg, giving the lounge its name. Historical photos line the walls, offering guests a peek back in time.

This is the first major renovation to the space since the lounge opened along with the inn in 2005. The inn, at 901 Prices Fork Road, is owned by Virginia Tech and is the only hotel situated on campus. The inn is the only full-service hotel in Blacksburg and one of just 10 conference facilities in Virginia to earn certification by IACC, the International Association of Conference Centers.

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce hosted the ribbon-cutting with an event featuring Blacksburg Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith.

The lounge offers food-and-beverage service on Friday from 2 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday-Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m. Benchmark Resorts & Hotels has managed the property since 2011. It falls within Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company, brings four decades of experience operating properties within the Virginias and elsewhere.

Written by Hannah Allen

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