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Depending on where you're staying, there are two fantastic options for lodging in Charlotte. If you're staying outside Uptown in the Ballantyne area, you can't go wrong with the Forbes Travel Guide-rated Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. Located in the heart of Ballantyne on a public, championship PGA golf course, the traditionally-decorated Forbes Four Star hotel exudes Southern charm and hospitality not to mention a popular restaurant and bar. The Forbes Four Star Gallery Restaurant serves delicious contemporary American fare. For a more modern feel, head to the bar where the chic decor--sleek wood paneling, an illuminated bar, and comfy seating with sleek lines--couples well with the impressive Baucom’s Best Farms beef burger. This mouthwatering burger is layered with Guinness-soaked gruyere, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and served alongside hush puppies or sweet potato fries. A bonus: add foie gras for a most decadent entree.
If you’re in Uptown, book a room at the Forbes Four Star Ritz-Carlton Charlotte. This relatively new property is the most luxurious in Uptown boasting a cool, modern aesthetic and one of the most popular bars in the city. With the addition of Bar Cocoa—the premier dessert bar and chocolate bar in Charlotte--guests can sample housemade pasties, confections, French-style macarons, gelato, cakes, cupcakes, and even ultra-rich hot chocolate and chocolate-infused cocktails. Before dinner, head upstairs for a cocktail at Urban Sip. This sophisticated lounge offers a near-panoramic view of the city and a menu featuring a distinctive selection of wines by the glass, premium Scotches, tapas and artisanal cheeses. For dinner, make a reservation at BLT Steak, one of the city’s top steakhouses.
More and more hotels keep cropping up in uptown Charlotte. Recently, Embassy Suites announced plans to build a hotel uptown and just this week, plans hit the news for a 125-room hotel near the new uptown baseball stadium. Right now though, there are three hotels that stand above the rest when it comes to spending an evening overnight in Charlotte.
In addition to being the first LEED-designed hotel in town, The Ritz-Carlton is easily the city's most luxurious destination. The hotel's interior is sleek with a lounge off the lobby boasting a contemporary glassed-in fireplace and cozy tables and sofas for guests. Just up the stairs is Bar Cocoa, offering an indulgent selection of chocolate and sweets. Elsewhere in the hotel you can dine at Urban Sip, the 15th-floor wine and Scotch bar, and at BLT Steak, the urbane French bistro-meets-steakhouse. The hotel also features a spa and wellness center with an indoor pool offering skyline views. And, of course, the rooms are luxe with 400-count sheets, Illy coffee machines, and plenty of space to relax and rejuvenate. Oh, and if all of this wasn't enough, The Ritz-Carlton's location is smack in the center of town, meaning it's accessible to just about anywhere you'd need to go.
Not far down the road from the Ritz is the Westin. Located just across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center and up the road from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it's easily accessible to all of uptown. Whether you're looking to unwind from a long day or gear up for the night, the hotel's Bar10 features a swanky crowd sipping sweet cocktails most nights. Looking for a bite? Ember Grille & Terrace offers modern dishes with a southern twist, perfect for getting a taste of the town. Rooms here are modern and bright with impressive views of the city and of its tree-filled neighborhoods to the south.
Charlotte's other top hotel isn't as close to town, but what it lacks in location it makes up for in activities and luxury. The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge is located just south of I-485. Here you'll find one of the area's top golf courses (and school), a resort-style spa complete with indoor and outdoor pools, and a four-star restaurant offering delectable locally-sourced dishes. The hotel's charming rooms offer lush golf course views and many have balconies, perfect for enjoying during warmer months.