[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
Downtown Asheville and surrounding neighborhoods will soon welcome visitors to new lodging properties, including two with ties to colorful local history.
Also opening this summer: Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins, just across the French Broad River from Biltmore. The development will feature 16 A-frame cabins plus a shop, bar/cafe, lounge seating, function rooms and a conference room.
After the recent arrival of three boutique hotels, downtown Raleigh is poised for a surge of lodging construction. The city has launched the bidding process for a convention center hotel with 500-plus rooms amid a slate of plans to add more than 1,100 rooms in the next four years. Work is under way on a Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites project that targets a fall 2023 completion, followed by a Hyatt House, Springhill Suites, TownPlace Suites, Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites. Adding notes of luxury as well as drama, the 180-room Kimpton Hotel Raleigh will rise at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Holiday Inn Downtown Raleigh, a cylindrical landmark built in 1969. The branded hotels build out a landscape that includes a trio of boutique newcomers: the indie Longleaf Hotel & Lounge and Heights House Hotel plus Hotel 83 Raleigh. The bidding process for the Raleigh Convention Hotel and Downtown Development Project, which includes a separate residential/mixed-use tower, revives a plan that was postponed because of the pandemic. Also on the horizon just outside downtown, the 148-room Oberlin Raleigh will rise at the historic Village District Shopping Center as part of Hilton's Curio Collection. The target opening is 2024. Find a comprehensive list of Raleigh-area projects here.
The NuWray Hotel in Burnsville, North Carolina’s oldest continuously operating hotel, will begin a new chapter after a full-scale restoration of the 16,500-square-foot Colonial-style inn. In addition to the structural work, James and Amanda Keith, who bought the property in 2021, are rescuing artifacts and collecting narratives from a history that dates to 1833. Once a stagecoach stop on the way to Asheville, the hotel boasts a guest list that includes Mark Twain, Elvis Presley, Christopher Reeve and Jimmy Carter. The NuWray, located about 20 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, will offer as many as 24 rooms and suites when it reopens in spring 2023. The Keiths are working toward relaunching the hotel’s restaurant by the close of 2022. Before taking on the NuWray, the couple renovated the stately Double Oaks B&B in Greensboro.
The new owners of Cataloochee Ranch, a well-loved rustic retreat that borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, plan to reopen the lodge for overnight stays in 2023. David and Annie Colquitt, who bought the Maggie Valley property in 2020, have undertaken an extensive renovation that includes redesigned interior spaces and new wrap-around terraces where guests can dine and enjoy the warmth from a newly converted two-sided fireplace. Other changes are designed to enhance the views from atop mile-high Fie Top Mountain and allow more natural light to stream into the stone and timber structure, which first opened for overnight stays in 1939. Renovations of the property’s cabins are also under way. Though the lodge has been closed, the Colquitts have continued to offer horseback rides, including lunch excursions to The Swag, their all-inclusive Relais & Châteaux property nearby.
The Mulberry House restaurant in downtown Washington is progressing toward its goal of adding a brewery and boutique hotel at its 200-year-old building on the Pamlico River waterfront. With plans to open by year’s end, the 16 suites will extend the legacy of the business's inspiration, the Mulberry Tavern, which once stood nearby and offered lodging as well as food and drink for more than half a century. The opening of the brewery and hotel follows the 2021 arrival of the restaurant, which serves cocktails and music in the rooftop Sky Bar as well as weekday lunch, weekend brunch and nightly dinner.
In North Carolina’s riverfront Colonial capital, the 1908 Elks Temple building is destined for new life as the 50-room Grand Bohemian Hotel New Bern from the Florida-based Kessler Collection. The five-story Beaux Arts landmark, downtown New Bern’s tallest commercial building, will include 1,500 square feet of meeting and event space, a lower-level speakeasy, and a street-level restaurant and coffee shop. Construction is set to begin in 2023 for a targeted opening in mid-2024. The Kessler Collection also owns the Grand Bohemian hotels in Asheville and Charlotte.
A new boutique hotel in Greenville will elevate the destination status of the lively Uptown neighborhood when it opens in 2023. Taking its name from the historic tobacco factory the hotel will occupy, The Ficklen will feature 70 rooms, a chef-driven restaurant and lobby bar, and a 10,000-square-foot event space plus a community-focused food hall and market in the adjacent the Star Warehouse. The property is poised to draw on the energy of the adjacent Dickinson Avenue Arts and Innovation District, downtown events and activities at East Carolina University. The Ficklen will be affiliated with Marriott's Tribute Portfolio collection of independent hotels. City officials are working with developers on additional hotel projects nearby, including one that will be part of ECU's new Intersect East campus.
With a $23 million investment, the historic Cherry Hotel will return to glory as a customized Courtyard by Marriott with 101 rooms and around-the-clock dining. Plans from South Carolina-based Raines Co. call for the décor to reflect the history of a town once known as the world’s largest bright leaf tobacco market. The six-story Beaux Arts-style structure, built in 1917, originally welcomed train passengers — including Perry Como, Guy Lombardo and the Fontaine Sisters — at the midpoint between New York and Florida. After closing in 1981, the building served as senior housing until it was foreclosed in 2011. A late 2023 or early 2024 opening is expected for the hotel, which sits half a mile from the signature Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. The Raines Co. portfolio also includes in the Foundry Hotel in Asheville and the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club in Waynesville.
Margaritaville Resorts & Hotels will add the 103-room Compass Hotel Beaufort to the lodging options in this historic Intracoastal Waterway town. It will be the brand’s third hotel, following openings in Bradenton, Fla., and Medford, Ore. The hotel will cater to boaters traveling along the nearby Cape Lookout National Seashore. Compass, the newest addition to the Margaritaville lifestyle brand, are designed “to bring the fun and flavor of their full-scale resorts to a more boutique concept.” A 2023 opening is planned.
The popular Topsail Island resort town of Surf City has added a luxury condo-style hotel to its lodging options with the May opening of Saltwater Suites. The first phase features 24 suites with an additional 24 to open in 2024. Each unit offers 700 square feet of open living space with fully equipped kitchen. Located a block from the ocean, Saltwater Suites features a common area with multiple seating areas, tables and games. A pool and event space are part of the expansion plan.
Developers target 2023 for completion of a 180-room Westin Hotel near the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro. The Westin Greensboro will feature the brand's 24/7 fitness center as well as dining and bar space, 22,000 square feet of event space and 6,500 square feet of outdoor space. It will be North Carolina's second Westin Hotel, following the Westin Charlotte by two decades. www.westingreensboro.com
The Blue Ridge Boutique Hotel will double its room count to 32 this year as part of Mayland Community College’s reinvention of the century-old Pinebridge Complex in Spruce Pine. Originally built as a school on land donated by mining magnate C.J. Harris, the complex includes the 5,000-seat Pinebridge Coliseum, once home to the Southeast’s largest ice rink and a hockey team, the Pinebridge Bucks, who made Spruce Pine the smallest town in the United States to field a professional hockey team. Renovations at the Blue Ridge Boutique Hotel, which opened in July 2021 with 16 rooms plus a library and conference space, continue with the planned addition of 16 rooms plus a restaurant and bar (it’ll be called the Principal’s Office). The college is also transforming the coliseum into the Three Peaks Enrichment Center, which will include a 2,000-seat event space and college-community connections.
Jackie Robinson slept here. So did James Baldwin, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Ike and Tina Turner, and other Black travelers who needed a place to stay in the Jim Crow South. The Magnolia House Motel, whose listing in “The Negro Motorist Green Book” was starred as a recommended Greensboro site, faded after it closed in the 1970s. After four decades and a consummate restoration of the 1914 structure, Historic Magnolia House now hosts weddings, concerts and other events, and in December, it again welcomed overnight guests to the second-floor rooms, whose decor honors the celebrated travelers. Guests can check out history displays that showcase the motel’s history from its prior ownership and that of the Pass family, the current owners, whose relatives figure into the region’s civil rights history. Plans for the next phase call for construction of an adjacent museum.