[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
High Hampton, a mountain retreat well-loved by generations, turns 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
Even with the slowdown from COVID-19, Charlotte looks to a future with new lodging options in the Center City. JW Marriott Charlotte, the first of Marriott International's luxury flagship hotels in North Carolina, is poised to open this summer across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center. With 381 oversize rooms and suites, the property will feature 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. Also in the works: North Carolina’s first InterContinental-brand hotel, which will rise atop a 1927 theater that closed four decades ago. The luxury hotel, being developed by Valor Hospitality, will offer 274 rooms in a 20-story addition to the five-story theater, which will be restored. In August, the Kessler Collection opened the 254-room Grand Bohemian Charlotte, complete with art gallery, spa and fitness center, and restaurant with rooftop bar and lounge.
Two decades after the last guests were served, the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough’s downtown historic district is again welcoming travelers and diners. Originally known as Spencer’s Tavern, the landmark enjoyed a long history as an inn and later a popular restaurant that closed in 2001. The two-story structure houses a restaurant, bar, event center and 28 guestrooms. Additional lodging will be available in a new wing with a target competition date is 2022. Hillsborough, once destined to be the state's capital, has been dubbed "America's little literary town" for its concentration of writers. colonialinn-nc.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.
A new boutique hotel in Greenville will elevate the destination status of the lively Uptown neighborhood when it opens in summer 2022. 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 three additional hotel projects nearby, including one that will be part of ECU's new Intersect East campus.
The Swag, an all-inclusive guest house near Waynesville, has joined the international Relais & Châteaux association of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. The Swag, whose name refers to a low-lying area connecting two ridges, sits on 250 acres at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The all-inclusive hideaway has 14 rooms, each of them individually furnished and decorated with original artwork, rustic antiques, woven rugs and handmade quilts. David and Annie Haslam Colquitt of Knoxville purchased The Swag in 2018, and in 2020, they joined another couple in acquiring nearby Cataloochee Ranch, whose history is tied to the national park’s creation. With operations currently limited to horseback rides, Cataloochee Ranch is expected to reopen in 2022. The Swag joins two other North Carolina properties, Fearrington House in Pittsboro and Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, on the Relais & Châteaux roster of about 500 properties on five continents.
The old Rocky Waters Motel in Maggie Valley again welcomes guests, this time as The Route 19 Inn, a 32-room motor lodge with a mid-century vibe. In renovating the 1949 motel, the new owners channel time and place with a 1951 Kaiser, serve homemade ice cream sandwiches by the pool, and depict the curvaceous Tail of the Dragon mountain road in a mural. The inn takes its new name from U.S. 19, a pre-interstate highway that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Erie. www.route19inn.com
Developers target 2022 for completion of a 180-room Westin Hotel near the International Civil Rights Center and Museum n 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 19 years, with Westins also planned for Raleigh and Wilmington. www.westingreensboro.com