[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
The newly opened Blue Ridge Boutique Hotel will double its room count to 32 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 with 16 rooms plus a library and conference space, will resume this winter to add 16 rooms plus a restaurant and bar (it’ll be called the Principal’s Office) for 2022. 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.
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.
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
Rebounding from a COVID-19 slowdown, Charlotte looks to the future with new lodging options in the Center City. JW Marriott Charlotte, the first of Marriott International's luxury flagship hotels in North Carolina, opened in July across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center. With 381 oversize rooms and suites, the property features 22,240 square feet of meeting space, a Spa by JW, rooftop lounge and pool, Dean's Italian Steakhouse and Caroline's Oyster Bar. The hotel is part of the Ally Charlotte Center project. In other developments, the 175-room Hyatt Centric SouthPark Charlotte opened in June. The first of the millennial-minded brand's properties in North Carolina, the hotel features such colorful touches as a 6-foot-tall peacock sculpture and murals saluting Charlotte's Revolutionary War history and the nation's first gold rush. Dining options include IRO in the lobby and Mizu, a seafood-focused rooftop restaurant. These new arrivals follow the August 2020 opening of the Kessler Collection's 254-room Grand Bohemian Charlotte, complete with art gallery, spa and fitness center, and restaurant with rooftop bar and lounge.
High Hampton, a mountain retreat well-loved by generations, turned the welcome lights back on in April after a consummate renovation by the team behind Blackberry Farm with guidance from the N.C. Historical Preservation Office. The revitalization includes the 18-room inn and its restaurants, 40 cottage rooms and three separate cottages plus a redesign of the 18-hole golf course by Tom Fazio with new club amenities. Located at 3,600 feet on the edge of Nantahala National Forest, the 1,400-acre resort retains its hallmark rustic character with modern accents in the mix. Guests can access more than 15 miles of hiking trails; a pool and hot tub overlooking Hampton Lake, a 35-acre spring-fed lake with beach; and a kids camp with supervised activities and programs. High Hampton had been owned by the McKee family for 95 years until 2017, when Daniel Communities and Arlington Family Offices acquired the property and brought in team from Blackberry Farm/Blackberry Mountain. highhampton.com
The arrival of boutique lodging downtown completes the appeal of a capital city known for stellar chefs (including Ashley Christensen, the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef), craft beverage, nightlife, culture and outdoor spaces. The latest opening is Heights House Hotel, a restored 1860 Italianate-style mansion that becomes a nine-room boutique hotel with indoor and outdoor spaces for private and community events. Promising “casual luxury,” Heights House features 15-foot ceilings, original hardwoods, 10 fireplaces and grand common spaces. It follows the 2020 openings of the 126-room Origin Hotel Raleigh and the 57-room Longleaf Hotel, a stylish reinvention of a mid-century motor lodge. A late 2021 opening is targeted for a 124-room AC Hotel by Marriott as part of The Willard development.