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‘You have to have a new ride’

Pipeline of new hotel properties expected to make Virginia more competitive

“It doesn’t feel like we’re in Norfolk anymore,” Dana Jo Decker remarked to friends while standing in line recently to check in at The Main, Virginia’s newest luxury hotel and conference center. “It feels like we’ve been transplanted somewhere else.”

While Norfolk’s downtown landscape was visible from the lobby’s glass atrium, a festive gala was underway inside during The Main’s soft opening in late March. Hotel staffers served champagne to guests waiting to collect room keys, while dancers — whose costumes evoked Norfolk’s mermaid sculptures — performed under giant helium-filled balls.

Visually, there was plenty to take in.  A hot-pink ice cream sculpture stood near the elevators while a red, baby-grand piano added to the ambiance of Varia, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. Another stricking feature was a bookcase that opened into a private dining room. 

“It was just a great vibe — happy, uplifting, energetic,” Decker, a local resident and member of a prominent business family, says of the $175 million, 22-story property.

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