Soak in some southern charm in the US city of Charlotte. Sport is a big deal here; the city is home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, the NASCAR (auto racing) Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. But visitors can also delve into regional post–Civil War history at Levine Museum of the New South, or get hands-on with science at Discovery Place. Each district has its own personality; from the historic uptown to the artsy vibe of the NoDa neighbourhood and there’s a burgeoning foodie scene across the city that’s well worth checking out.
Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, Autograph Collection
This Argentinian-inspired hotel features bold and eclectic custom furnishings and original artwork. Each bedroom offers Starbucks Coffee, a JBL Bluetooth Speaker, a soaking tub and a portable steamer to tackle travel-creased clothing. Búho Bar is the indoor/outdoor lounge on the 16th floor with weekly live music; Mico is the lavish restaurant serving Argentine cuisine in Art-Deco-influenced surroundings; and Poseidon is the hotel’s spa, harnessing the healing power of water. Additionally, there’s a Starbucks coffee shop, the exclusive use Monito dining room and a Bohemian Garden for some alfresco relaxation with stunning views over Charlotte.
The Ballantyne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte
Home to one of Carolinas’ largest whiskey collections, The Ballantyne is a resort-style hotel with a breathtaking Gone with the Wind wide staircase and its own art gallery. Try a signature treatment, such as the Carolina Lavender massage, at the in-house spa which is considered to be one of the best in Charlotte. You can swim indoors here, or outdoors, surrounded by glamorous loungers and beside the pool bar (which also serves food). Further dining options are the Gallery Restaurant (with golf course views and an alfresco terrace) and The Ryal. 244 bedrooms have deep-soaking baths, 55-inch TVs and designer toiletries.
The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
This was The Ritz-Carlton group’s first LEED Gold-certified property worldwide, and the first hotel to receive the accolade in the Charlotte area, making it a good option for the eco-conscious traveller. The property is located in the salubrious Uptown, accommodating guests in 146 bedrooms over 18 storeys. A penthouse spa and wellness centre occupies two floors and there’s a newly launched in-house gift boutique, Hidden Treasures. For drinking and dining guests can frequent the Urban Sip wine and scotch bar, the Bar Cocoa dessert dining and retail experience and the Cocoa Lab dessert cooking school (the chocoholic’s dream), as well as a street-side BLT Steak restaurant.
Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel
Stay in the Uptown’s Third Ward, at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. This is a brand known for its commitment to pet-friendliness and wellness (rooms have yoga mats and treats for four-legged guests). Guests can take advantage of loaner bikes, custom-designed Micro Kickboard scooters and complimentary evening wine receptions; dine at Angeline’s modern American restaurant; drink and order small plates in Merchant & Trade (the rooftop terrace on the 19th floor); and meditate at sunrise on the deck. In winter you can book your own igloo for a romantic tete a tete under the Carolina stars.