North Carolina Hotels for Architecture Lovers
The Tar Heel State, North Carolina, boasts some of the most design-forward spots in the country, from rustic-chic to midcentury modern. Journalist Juliet Izon writes about four of her favorites.
The Omni Grove Park Inn:
This striking resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains has been welcoming guests to its iconic Main Inn for over a century. Its unusual exterior, made of uncut granite boulders sourced from nearby mountains, was created by amateur architect Fred L. Seely, son-in-law of owner Edwin Wiley Grove. The idea was to create a hotel as magnificent as the landscape around it; we think they succeeded.
Midcentury modern design is certainly having a moment right now. For a stellar example, book a trip to The Durham, built by Perry C. Langston in 1968. Originally the Home Savings Bank, it has many hallmarks of the period, including geometric siding and an angled tower. The hotel also took inspiration from modernist Josef Albers, who taught at nearby Black Mountain College.
The design-minded team behind Blackberry Farm has another winner with High Hampton, which opened this spring in the Nantahala National Forest. The property’s first incarnation was nearly a century ago, as a private summer retreat. The hotel preserved both the American Chestnut wood used as interior décor as well as the shag bark exterior to create a space that is both rustic, yet impeccably refined.
The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel:
If you noticed this Art Deco hotel bears a striking resemblance to a more famous building in NYC, we’re impressed. The Cardinal was originally the headquarters of R.J. Reynolds Inc.; and designed by famed architects Shreve & Lamb. Just two years later, along with new partner Arthur Harmon, the trio completed the Empire State Building, whose ziggurat form is quite similar to its sister in Winston-Salem.