Lodging News

Asheville Area Sees a Flurry of Boutique Hotels

Asheville and the surrounding area are eager to welcome visitors to new lodging properties, including several with ties to colorful local history.

  • The Restoration Hotel. This newly opened six-story, 60-room hotel sits across the street from Pritchard Park, home to Asheville’s Friday night Drum Circle. The hotel features farm-to-table dining, rooftop and basement-level bars (the latter with bowling), and a coffee shop. Developed by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, the Restoration has a sister property in Charleston, S.C.
  • Mirror Hotel. From Asheville Glamping comes a set of 18 “invisible” cabin suites featuring architectural mirrors that reflect the surrounding nature. In addition to hotel-style amenities, the Marshall property will outfit the outdoor space with a large deck, grill and pizza oven, fire pit, hot tub and other indulgences. The owners plan to extend the concept to other destinations. For now, those interested in booking a stay need to join the email list. Target opening: May.
  • Zelda Dearest: Centering on the restoration of three historic homes, the hotel pays homage to Zelda Fitzgerald and husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. Being developed by Atlanta-based Hatteras Sky in partnership with the Fitzgerald estate, Zelda Dearest will include 20 rooms, outdoor spaces, and food and beverage service from notable local chef Jacob Sessoms. A summer opening is planned. F. Scott Fitzgerald spent two summers in Asheville while his wife was hospitalized in Highland Hospital, a sanitarium where she died in a 1948 fire.
  • The Radical. Also, from Hatteras Sky, the 70-room hotel transforms a vacant warehouse in the River Arts District. It promises retro-luxury interiors, a spacious lawn and outdoor courtyards plus a Sessoms-led food and beverage program to include a restaurant, coffee lounge, cocktail bar and rooftop bar. The company aims to open the hotel in summer.
  • Flatiron Hotel. For September, Indigo Road Hospitality Group plans to open this 71-room inn as an adaptive reuse of the Flatiron Building from the Roaring ʼ20s (pictured at right), an era that sparked a remarkable building boom in Asheville. The eight-story, wedge-shaped hotel will include a restaurant with wood-burning oven and craft cocktail bar and rooftop bar. 
Historic New Bern Properties Undergo Transformation

In North Carolina’s Colonial capital, a turn-of-the-19th-century mansion and a 1908 Elks Temple will see new life as boutique hotels.

  • New Bern-based Heron Hospitality is transforming the Harvey Mansion, a three-story Federal house that’s one of the city’s oldest brick structures, into a 10-room inn that will be called The Harvey. Four private balconies, luxury furnishings and a courtyard are in the plans. With past lives that include private residence, boarding house and dormitory, the mansion most recently housed Circa 1810 restaurant and bar, which closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in 2018. Fans of resident writer Nicholas Sparks might recall a reference to Harvey Mansion in “The Notebook” as “one of the best restaurants in town.” The owners, whose other properties include the Pony Island Inn at Ocracoke, expect the hotel to open later this year.
  • Three blocks away, 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 this year with a targeted opening in mid-2024. The Kessler Collection also owns the Grand Bohemian hotels in Asheville and Charlotte.
Umstead Hotel Spa Reopens After Thoughtful Renovation

The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, a Forbes Five Star property, has reopened its 16,000-square-foot spa after refreshing its palette and furnishings to reflect North Carolina's natural beauty.  Inspired by neighboring William B. Umstead State Park, the spa boasts natural elements of river rock, granite, bamboo and glass, balanced with a contemporary and sophisticated aesthetic. New services focused on health and wellness have also been added. The Umstead, which occupies 12 woodland acres overlooking a private lake, is one of only five properties in the United States to earn Forbs' triple Five Star rating for hotel, restaurant and spa. The hotel opened in 2007.

New Owners Restore NuWray Hotel in Burnsville

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 this year. Before taking on the NuWray, the Keiths renovated the stately Double Oaks B&B in Greensboro.

Cataloochee Ranch Aims for 2023 Reopening

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.

Rhode’s Motor Lodge Refashions Classic Boone Motel

The old Greene’s Motel, which dates to the 1950s, is being stylishly transformed into Rhode’s Motor Lodge. With an outdoorsy design and laid-back vibe, the 53-room property aims its appeal at family adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and casual travelers. Plans include a restaurant, bar and outdoor gathering space for locals as well as travelers. Loden Hospitality, whose properties include the retro-chic Longleaf Hotel in Raleigh, targets a summer opening. Also new in Boone: the newly hip and eco-conscious Blue Ridge Tourist Court, booked through Airbnb.com.

City Camper Hotel to Welcome Guests in Brevard

Brevard, an outdoor adventure mecca in the “cycling capital of the South,” is on track for a new downtown lodging option: the City Camper, a 120-room hotel with a spring 2024 completion target. Billing itself as the “ultimate adventure basecamp,” the 4-acre property will include an on-site park, a restaurant, spa, fully equipped fitness room and wellness space, and such specialized amenities as a bike valet, tune-ups and City Camper gear.  The project’s developer is Tye Warren, who directed the sustainability-forward Lodge at Gulf State Park in Alabama.

Wealth of New Rooms to Arrive in Downtown Raleigh

After the recent arrival of three boutique hotels, downtown Raleigh is poised for a surge of lodging construction. Work is under way on a Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites project that targets a September completion, followed by a TownPlace Suites by Marriott in April 2024, Hyatt House in late 2024, Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites in February 2025, Moxy Raleigh in August 2025 and Springhill Suites in 2027. Adding 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 The Casso, Raleigh. And just outside downtown: the 148-room Oberlin Raleigh at the historic Village District Shopping Center as part of Hilton's Curio Collection. Target opening is 2024.

Uptown Greenville to Welcome Boutique Hotel

A new boutique hotel in Greenville will elevate the destination status of the lively Uptown neighborhood. 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. Opening TBD.

Cherry Hotel in Wilson Adds Restoration to Its Story

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.

Coastal Beaufort to Welcome Margaritaville’s Compass Hotel

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 mid-2024 opening is planned.

Jarrett House to Make a Comeback in Dillsboro

The Jarrett House, a stately 16-room inn, will again become the talk of a town known for its artistic leanings and Great Smoky Mountains setting. The new owner has undertaken a meticulous restoration to honor a history dating to the 1880s and the heyday of railroad hotels. In addition to accommodations, the property will see the return of a restaurant loved by locals as well as travelers for its family-style meals with a true Southern focus. Also in the plans: a bakery-café and retail centering on local craftsmanship. A 2023 reopening is targeted.

Condo-Style Hotel Opens in Surf City

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.

Suzanne Brown
Media Relations Manager
Veda Gilbert
Public Relations Manager
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