Stay in Style at Boutique Hotels in North Carolina

The WindsorStay in Style at Boutique Hotels in North Carolina

Located in downtown Asheville, The Windsor Boutique Hotel features 14 luxury suites

The growing number of boutique hotels opening across North Carolina give travelers, with an eye for design and sophistication, more lodging options than ever. Boutique hotels can be quite varied by size and location, but what they almost always have in common are purposeful architecture, high style and unparalleled service. In many cases, the hotels offer food and beverage services to match, and their locations put you close to popular local attractions.

Check out these nine boutique hotels, several of which have opened in 2015 or 2016, and discover the unique experiences that await if you choose one as a place to stay during your next trip.

Piedmont

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel
Winston-Salem
Architectural Fact: Once the headquarters of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., this Art Deco masterpiece was also the architectural muse for the Empire State Building. The lobby and hallways’ grandeur are accentuated with marble-covered walls and floors, ceilings of gold leaf and burnished-brass door frames.
Why You Should Stay: Having opened as a hotel in April 2016, the 174 guest rooms, including 15 suites, are on the second through sixth floors, all with modern amenities. Shared frills include a two-lane bowling alley, indoor basketball court and a game lounge. Guests can relax over afternoon sweet tea or evening wine hour in the lobby, and the adjacent Katharine Brasserie & Bar serves brasserie fare with a Southern flair.
While You’re There: Head off on foot or on a complimentary loaner bike to take in downtown Winston-Salem’s shops and dining spots, including Sweet Potatoes restaurant and Foothills Brewing. Just south is the nationally famous Old Salem Museums and Gardens, and to the north is the popular Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel recreation

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

The Durham Hotel
Durham
Architectural Fact: The iconic 1968 building in the heart of downtown once housed the former Home Savings Bank. The architectural era informs the Durham’s vibrant mid-century modern décor, from color choice and bold patterns to furnishings.
Why You Should Stay: It reopened last year as The Durham, featuring 53 stylish rooms, filled with thoughtful amenities and inspired design elements, with many local touches, such as blankets from Raleigh Denim. The restaurant and sixth-floor rooftop lounge, affording a view of the city, are run by Andrea Reusing, the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Chapel Hill's Lantern. Yoga lovers will appreciate the regular rooftop sessions.
While You’re There: Dozens of cafés, bars and restaurants fill the happening downtown area, along with a colorful Saturday morning farmers market. Within walking distance, you can also catch shows at Durham Performing Arts Center and minor league baseball games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

You Might Also Like: Downtown Durham is home to another impressive boutique hotel, the 125-room 21c Museum Hotel, named one of the “Best New Hotels Around the World” by Architectural Digest.

The Mayton Inn
Cary
Architectural Fact: Though the Georgian-style four-story building appears to be historic, it was newly built and opened this year. Starting from the ground up allowed the owners to incorporate several environmental features, including a 20,000-gallon rainwater cistern, pervious concrete pavers, and energy-saving fixtures.
Why You Should Stay: There are 33 standard rooms and 11 deluxe suites, all luxuriously furnished with a vintage art-deco vibe. Also on site is Tonic Remedies, a massage and wellness center; and Verandah, a 100-seat casual Southern restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Highball, the hotel bar, was conceived with nationally known Chapel Hill bartender Gary Crunkleton.
While You’re There: Part of Cary’s downtown revitalization efforts, the Mayton is convenient to the historic Cary Theater, old-fashioned Ashworth Drugs, and is a short drive to La Farm Bakery. In the spring and summer, downtown art and craft festivals attract large crowds and food trucks.

The Mayton Inn

Rhea Hospitality

The Dunhill Hotel
Charlotte
Architectural Fact: Open since 1929, originally as the Mayfair Manor, the Dunhill is the oldest hotel in Uptown Charlotte and is one of the state’s few hotels belonging to the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America. Standing 10 stories tall, the hotel has been fully restored, while its neoclassical architecture has been preserved.
Why You Should Stay: The 60 guest rooms give a nod to the Roaring ’20s, with writing desks, armoires and luxurious bedding in each. The Penthouse Suite retains its original marble floor, with double balconies offering panoramic views of the Queen City. The Dunhill’s in-house restaurant, The Asbury, sources from area farms for its local fare, while creative cocktails are crafted at the bar in the hotel’s lobby.
While You’re There: Walk or take the Uptown complimentary shuttle service to a host of attractions, including The Mint Museum, Levine Museum of the New South and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

Mountains

The Everett Hotel
Bryson City
Architectural Fact: Bryson City Bank occupied the stately brick building on Everett Street from 1908 until the mid-1960s, and it was later used by Swain County government. Renovations started with the Cork & Bean Bistro, now a full-service restaurant, café and wine bar, and in 2015 included a hotel. The interior is a mix of modern with wide-plank wood panels that complement the mountainous surroundings.
Why You Should Stay: Nine luxury suites in rich earth tones offer modern amenities, while a look up at the wood ceilings gives a nod to the past. Downstairs you’ll find the restaurant and bar, while upstairs a rooftop terrace affords views of the surrounding mountains.
While You’re There: Bordering the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the entire area is an outdoors playground. In town, step outside the hotel and you’ll discover a vibrant historic main street with local shops, arts and crafts galleries, a fly fishing shop, historical museum, scenic train and restaurants.

The Everett Hotel

The Everett Hotel

The Windsor Boutique Hotel
Asheville
Architectural Fact: Initially constructed in 1907, and later used as apartment homes and a storefront, the Windsor, in the center of the historical downtown, completed a full renovation in 2014. Many of the historical fixtures, such as the grand staircase and exposed brick walls, are still standing. Wide-planked floors are made of reclaimed wood from barns.
Why You Should Stay: The Windsor features 14 luxury suites, each with its own unique character, though in common they have a private bedroom, bathroom, washer/dryer, full kitchen area and living room, and luxury bedding. A curated collection of artwork created by locally renowned artists covers the walls, with many pieces for purchase. Pet-friendly rooms are available.
While You’re There: Only a short walk away are shops, galleries, craft breweries and dozens of restaurants, from casual to upscale, as well as the popular Pack Square Park. Just south of town you’ll find the world-famous Biltmore Estate.

Coast

The O’Neil
Kinston
Architectural Fact: Originally a Farmers & Merchants Bank, the O’Neil building is an example of the Renaissance Revival style popular in the early 1900s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The centerpiece of the two-story open lobby is the 16-ton main vault, which is still operational. The lobby also contains one of the state’s finest examples of an ornate plaster ceiling.
Why You Should Stay: Converted to a hotel in 2015, bank offices were transformed into seven plushy furnished rooms, each with its own unique décor, with an emphasis on comfort, elegance and charm. Though the rooms boast modern amenities, each retains the original door from the building’s previous life, so guests can stay, for example, in a former dentist’s office or the bank’s trust department.
While You’re There: Once a tobacco and cotton hub, these days Kinston is buzzing with fans of A Chef’s Life, the award-winning PBS show spotlighting seasonal restaurant Chef & the Farmer and its chef, Vivian Howard. Another popular stop is Mother Earth Brewing, which sports a sleek taproom and distillery. An in-progress Kinston Arts Riverwalk takes visitors along a paved path that follows the Neuse River.

The O’Neil Hotel lobby

The O’Neil

Inn on Pamlico
Buxton
Architectural Fact: From its weathered wood to its pleasing yellow hues, this inn resembles a comfortable sprawling coastal home. Since it opened more than a decade ago, first as a bed and breakfast, it has continued to grow, adding attractive buildings, a music venue and the perfect spot for a wedding.
Why You Should Stay: Many of the 12 bright and airy rooms have views of the water, while some feature large patios that overlook the Pamlico Sound. An abundance of outside seating areas dot the grounds. At the on-site Café Pamlico, the contemporary coastal cuisine changes frequently, but a spectacular sunset occurs almost daily.
While You’re There: Guests can windsurf or kiteboard right from the inn’s dock or nearby Sunset Point, and fish charters are plentiful. Just a few minutes' drive away is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the country; the charming Hatteras Village and the pristine beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Ocracoke Island is only a short ferry ride away.

Diane Daniel writes about food, travel and the environment, and is the author of the guidebook Farm Fresh North Carolina.

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