8629 J. M. Keynes Dr., Charlotte
COST: Under $150 per night
Overlooking a small lake that is frequented by ducks and paddle boaters, this is the nicest hotel in North Charlotte. A walking path surrounds the lake, linking the hotel with the Shoppes at University Place, a small enclave of shops and restaurants (many overlooking the lake).
The hotel has 393 rooms ($101–144 d) and underwent a renovation in 2008 to upgrade the amenities, which include an outdoor pool, 24-hour business center, fitness facilities, and free shuttle service within a five-mile radius.
The Lakefront Restaurant overlooks the lake and serves up casual fare. It’s one of the few hotels in the University area that has a resort-like feel.