NC Travel Guide
Time flies when you're building a cool, arty 21c Musuem Hotel.
Last October will learned that a 21c would be opening in downtown Durham with 125 rooms, a chef-driven restaurant, a lounge, a fitness center and a spa. And of course, a contemporary art museum. Initially, we thought the hotel would open in May, but a hotel rep told us that a February/March opening would be likely. Lo and behold, the museum hotel will now open on March 23.
Admission, er, room rates start at $239 a night on opening night for a deluxe king room with 42" HDTV Flat Screen Televisions, free WiFi, complimentary, Nespresso Coffee Machine, and Malin + Goetz toiletries. We managed to get our hands on a sneak peek of the hotel lobby, pictured above, but only black and white room renderings are available on the website.
Cute Hotel Doggies / Hotel Pets / Hotel Animals / Hotel Dogs / Asheville Hotels / Aloft Hotels / Hotel Charities / → All Tags
A dog is not just for Christmas – it’s for overnight stays in the New Year, too. Or, rather, it is if you’re staying at Aloft Asheville. Its partnership with a local animal rehoming charity means that you can check in petless, and check out with a new furry best friend.
Aloft is working with Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue to rehome pets – which means a beauty parade of doggies around the public areas. Or, rather, one doggy at a time – wearing an “adopt me” vest, and giving pleading eyes to guests at check-in.
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The Merrion Dublin's two Christmas trees pales in comparison to the holiday spectacular that the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte has put on, which includes three Christmas trees, a gingerbread cottage, and an edible sleigh pulled by edible reindeer. Best take out your handkerchief to wipe up the drool.
Let's start with the 17-foot-tall tree made of 789 recycled green bottles and bathed in equally green lights. Obviously, this one is strictly for admiring, not for eating. (It's also a nod to the hotel's LEED Certification.)
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21c Museum Hotels will have some good company when their Nashville property opens as several hot brands like Ace, Virgin and Thompson are expected to populate the Music City. But when it comes to the hotel scene of Durham, North Carolina, we think the forthcoming 21c Museum Hotel in downtown will have the artsy boutique hotel game on lock.
Designed by Deborah Berke Partners, the 125-room hotel will have all the hallmarks of a 21c Museum hotel. That means it's part boutique hotel and part contemporary art museum, with a chef-driven restaurant thrown in too.
The art museum will be open and free to all visitors, not just hotel guests and will feature "curated exhibitions, interactive site specific installations and a full roster of cultural programming." Elsewhere at the hotel will be a lounge, a fitness center and a spa. As for the signature 21c Museum penguin, the Durham penguin will be rocking a bright fuchsia color.
AC Hotels by Marriott are working towards opening their first hotel in New Orleans in October, followed by South Beach, and Kansas City with JFK Airport and Chicago on the (tentative) horizon as well. And now, AC will open in Asheville, North Carolina too.
According to the Citizen-Times newspaper, design review approval was given to the owners of the BB&T building's parking garage. The garage will be razed and in its place a nine-story hotel--with 132 guest rooms, a restaurant and a bar--will be constructed.
Yay, exciting and that jazz. But what's also interesting, is that the BB&T building itself will be turned into an upscale, boutique hotel topped with six floors of condos. Naturally, we assume this brand has to be a Marriott-branded hotel as well. And if we had to place our bets, we'd put our money on a Renaissance Hotel which is definitely Marriott's boutique brand, after Edition of course. But the condo element has us a bit thrown off. So...what will it be? We're gonna go with Renaissance but only time, and maybe a loose-lipped developer or designer, will tell. Hint, hint.
[Rendering via AC Hotels]
Kimpton can't get enough of Southern hospitality. Fresh off opening The Brice Hotel in Savannah, the friendly boutique hotel chain is now taking over a historic office building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The R.J. Reynolds Building, the longtime headquarters for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, was built in 1929 by Shreve & Lamb, the same architects who designed the Empire State Building. The lobby is decorated with ornate murals, gold leaf millwork in the ceilings, and nickel and brass elevators throughout. You can see some photos of the building's Art Deco interior design here.
The building has been vacant since 2009 but now PMC Property Group will turn the office space into 175 hotel rooms, 36 suites, a hotel fitness center, and a 120-seat restaurant and bar, along with plenty of meeting and event space. Of course, the developers and Kimpton will do what they can to preserve the building's original design but we're gonna guess they won't be bringing back the museum of tobacco that once graced the tobacco building's ground floor. Heck, Kimpton probably won't even allow smoking in the guest rooms. Ain't that funny?
The Sanderling Resort in the Outer Banks of North Carolina has some rather clever culinary presentations that they do for wedding receptions and other events at their beachfront property (check out the I Love Bacon station here.) But with everyone else but us (or it seems like) kicking back on Spring Break this week, we're really loving this Beer Canoe.
Yup, a canoe filled with bottles of beer. So simple and yet so right. The hotel will also do a seafood buffet out of a canoe too. Hello there, lobsters!
More pics below!
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Not long ago, we wrote about the growing trend of the dual-branded hotel property. When a combined Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites opened in Denver last May, it reflected the tendency of these new-ish hotel concepts to pair an extended stay property with a limited service hotel. Starwood’s announcement last week,however, was the first we have heard of upscale brands getting in on the act.
The hotel company is planning to open a combined Sheraton and Le Meridien in Charlotte’s uptown business district, with each hotel occupying one tower each of a massive hotel complex that is currently operating as the Blake Hotel (run by Amsterdam Hospitality.) The two hotels will each have their own separate entrances and lobbies, but will share the fitness center, spa, pools, and meeting space. The two towers will have a total of six restaurants, and Le Meridien will feature a rooftop bar offering views of the Charlotte skyline.
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Not long ago we reported on the Capella Georgetown which has no check-in or check-out hours. The concept has even made its way all the way to Australia and its Art Series hotels where Serena Williams tweeted about the hotel's policy of not kicking you out if there isn't a guest scheduled for your room. We thought this kind of perk would be limited to small, quirky hotels, but imagine our surprise when we received a news bit letting us know that The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte (apparently a favorite of Lenny Kravitz!) is now offering a guaranteed 24-hour stay for guests who check in on Saturdays.
That's right, with the new "Stay and Play 24" package, the hotel will accept check-ins at any hour on Saturday and allow departure a full 24 hours later – even if that means a Sunday evening check-out. For guests who check-in early on Saturday, check-out will be after 24 hours have passed or at noon on Sunday – whichever is later and offers more convenience for the guest. Let's hear it for a lovely leisurely weekend!
And, to top it off, the "Stay and Play 24" includes a $100 food and beverage credit that can be redeemed in the hotel's Bar Cocoa, lobby lounge, room service, or the Urban Sip restaurant. We're told that Bar Cocoa has a banging Sunday Brunch, so keep that in mind.
The "Stay and Play 24" package costs $379 a night and regular Saturday rates are $299 a night, so we're thinking with the $100 F&B credit and extra hours, this is a pretty decent deal.
[Photo: Ritz-Carlton Hotels]
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Forget, for a minute, the glowing reviews of Michelle Obama's and Bill Clinton's speeches at the DNC. It turns out another thing reporters' minds were the rotten hotels they were assigned for the event, which took place this past week in Charlotte, NC. But cramped rooms and bad service were the least of it—we're talking drug dealers, prostitutes, and bed bugs.
The bed bugs in particular were an issue, as the Washington Times reported that several of the DNC media-hosting hotels have dealt with bedbug infestation complaints in the past year.
The scene was enough to make radio talk show host David Webb comment:
"It comes down to organizing a good event, and frankly, that says something about how they do things here."
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Ready or not, Aloft is slowly infiltrating every corner of the world—India, China, and the US are all in line for multiple openings this year. And it was announced last week that South Korea is even set to get its first Aloft by 2014.
But in the more immediate future, we're looking at two US openings this month: Aloft Asheville on Aug 23 and Aloft SFO on Aug 30. One will be a place to retreat from (or invite back to your hotel room) all the ukulele-strumming Blue Ridge Mountain hippies. The other will be a place to lament your delayed flight. Both will spoil you with free WiFi.
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We know, we know. What a random acting role for musician/hotel designer Lenny Kravitz! Just in case you haven't been up and up on the "Hunger Games" madness, Lenny stars as Capitol stylist, Cinna, in the movie which premieres this weekend.
Yet what befuddles us hotel geeks more than this role for Lenny is rather where he and the cast were staying during filming.
According to the NY Post, Lenny's "ritzy" hotel digs became the "unofficial hangout" for his co-stars.
“My hotel room became the after-hours joint,” Kravitz tells The Post. “Any given night there you’d see me, Stanley [Tucci], Gary [Ross], Woody [Harrelson], Elizabeth [Banks], Josh [Hutcherson], Jennifer [Lawrence.] It was fun.”
You know what this means--it's time to Guess the Hotel!!