Like other cities of its size, Charlotte has its fair share of lodgings. Outside of the major hotel chains, the options are slim. There are no hostels, just three bed-and-breakfast inns, and a smattering of independent motels that are often located in bad neighborhoods and rented on a “short-term” basis.
The hotel scene in Charlotte continues to improve, though. Several new hotels opened up in 2009, expanding the choices for upscale and ultra-hip lodging. Though the new properties are part of existing hotel chains, emphasis has been placed on mimicking the atmosphere and experience of a boutique hotel.
When it comes to finding a place to bunk for the night, Uptown is the place to be, which is convenient considering this is where most people spend the bulk of their time. Uptown is one of the few neighborhoods in Charlotte that is truly walkable: Hotels here are just a few blocks from historic sites, museums, restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Although prices can be a little higher in Uptown, it’s worth it to be in the center of the action.
Accommodations are scarce in the trendy neighborhoods surrounding Uptown. Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, and Myers Park have just three hotels between them (each one a historic inn that was once a private residence) and Elizabeth has no hotels at all. The best options for budget travelers are outside the city center in neighborhoods like University City.
It’s a good idea to reserve a room well in advance, especially during peak times including summer, festivals, and holidays. During race weeks (in May and October) the city is especially busy and rooms are often reserved months in advance.
Choosing a Hotel
Uptown is the best place to begin exploring Charlotte, making it a natural choice when choosing a hotel. The diversity of accommodations also makes Uptown appealing for budget travelers and luxury lovers alike. Most of the hotels in Uptown have on-site parking and valet services for guests, but there is an extra charge for these services. Staying anywhere in Uptown is convenient for visiting all the neighborhood attractions as well as exploring the rest of the city.
Historic homes–turned-inns offer a unique glimpse into the history of the Queen City. These former fine residences in Myers Park, Dilworth, and Plaza Midwood have been restored to their original grandeur and operate as some of the most luxurious accommodations in the city. The inns are situated alongside private residences in Charlotte’s most prominent neighborhoods. Although the most popular sights are a few miles away, the beauty of the neighborhoods makes them worth exploring.
University City has one of the greatest concentrations of hotels in the city. The chain hotels in this area are often less expensive than their counterparts in Uptown and just a short drive from all of the major sights and attractions, making the area a good option for budget travelers. Hotels on the outskirts of town are more apt to offer amenities like swimming pools.
Visit Charlotte (www.charlottesgotalot.com) is an excellent resource for additional listings, hotel descriptions, links for reservations, and discount offers.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition