The Best Hotels to Book Near Virginia Zoo

The stylish Glass Light Hotel & Gallery in downtown Norfolk is a haven for art lovers
The stylish Glass Light Hotel & Gallery in downtown Norfolk is a haven for art lovers | Courtesy of Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection /
Photo of Anna Kambourakis
14 September 2021

Virginia Zoo spans over 50 acres (20ha) between Lafayette Park and Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia – with visitors from around the country flocking to the zoo to see more than 700 animals of 150 species.

There are many different visitor attractions near Virginia Zoo, too, that will make you want to extend your stay here. With luxury resorts, historic buildings and ocean-side properties all within a short drive, this list of best hotels near Virginia Zoo will help you choose the perfect accommodation for you – bookable on Culture Trip.

Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel

Courtesy of Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel /
Enjoy a view of the boats along the Elizabeth River from every room at this newly renovated waterfront property. The esplanade of historic Old Towne Norfolk is just outside your door – perfect for a morning run or evening stroll. The brightly decorated rooms are sleek and modern with artistic touches – and the restaurant and bar have top-notch service, cocktails and delicious food. Be sure to take the water taxi to explore the beautiful marina and get to nearby attractions across the river.

Glass Light Hotel and Gallery, Autograph Collection

Hotel, Chain Hotel
Courtesy of Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection / | Courtesy of Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection /
Art-lovers will revel at the sleek, minimalist, yet luxurious rooms that now fill the historic Royster Building in the heart of downtown Norfolk. The decadent hotel not only features beautiful glass artwork from many artists, but the hotel itself is a work of art. Artist Peter Bremers was commissioned to create whimsical glass bunnies that you’ll find throughout the lobby and bar area. The creativity and artistry continue into the Glasslight restaurant – run by a Michelin-starred chef.

Smithfield Station

Have you ever slept in a lighthouse? Well, now is your chance at the Light, part of the quaint and endearing Smithfield Station. There are four separate accommodations provided by Smithfield Station, all set on the Pagan River in charming Smithfield, Virginia. The property hugs the riverside and offers you a serene and relaxing accommodation, just outside of the city of Norfolk and a short drive from the zoo. Smithfield Station is a great place for families with many kid-friendly activities nearby.

Aloft Chesapeake

Courtesy of Aloft Chesapeake /
Convenience and accessibility are among some of the best reasons to stay at Aloft Chesapeake – and it’s situated near all the best attractions of the area including Virginia Zoo, Virginia Beach and even, the Great Dismal Swamp. The rooms are clean, comfortable and brightly designed – and very well priced. After a day of exploring and shopping at the Greenbrier Mall, enjoy a cocktail in the very hip WXYZ bar, or tap your feet to live music in the lobby.

The Ocean Key Resort

Courtesy of Ocean Key Resort by VSA Resorts /
Wake up to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean when you stay at the Ocean Key Resort. The boardwalk is just steps away for a great morning – or evening – stroll and this resort is perfect for an extended stay in Virginia. Kitchenettes are in each room and there’s a pool, gym and a playroom to keep the kids entertained. The staff at Ocean Key Resort go above and beyond for their guests and by the end of your stay, you’ll feel like family.

The Atrium Resort

Courtesy of The Atrium Resort by VSA Resorts /
You’ll find the perfect place for families just two blocks from Virginia Beach at the Atrium Resort – the view of the Atlantic Ocean is a major bonus, too. The large two-room suites are very well-equipped to cook a few small meals during your stay and there are daily activities listed for kids – and the staff are eager with tips on what to do nearby. There’s an indoor pool and jacuzzi for fun and relaxation, too.

The Cavalier Boutique Hotel

Courtesy of The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection /
Immediately put a stay at the Cavalier Virginia Beach at the top of your bucket list – this lavish hotel has hosted 10 US Presidents and is among the most iconic and historic accommodations in the country. The room decor is exquisite, up-scale and beyond luxurious. The spa – oh wow, the spa – has services such as a caviar facial and quartz thermal therapy. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a fully operating distillery open for tours and tastings within the hotel.

Wedmore Place

Independent Hotel, Boutique Hotel
Courtesy of Wedmore Place /
You’ll think you’re on a European vacation when you visit Wedmore Place at Williamsburg Winery. The property is surrounded by lush vineyards that grow many of the Bordeaux varieties and the accommodation extends its European feel by naming and decorating each room to reflect a different region: Bavaria, Champagne, and Killarney – complete with antiques from each location. There are cozy fireplaces in each room making it a great fall and winter destination – and be sure to wine and dine in their award-winning tavern.

Explore more of Virginia by booking a stay near the picturesque Shanandoah National Park, or opt for one of the best hotels near George Washington’s Mount Vernon, available with Culture Trip. Find out where to see foliage in the state, and be sure to check out the most beautiful towns in Virginia.

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