Courtesy The Carolina Inn
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Carolina Inn has undergone seven renovations since it opened in 1924, but the most recent was the most extensive ever.
During the four-year project, the inn’s 185 guest rooms, function rooms and public areas were renovated, and its infrastructure was updated. Returning guests will notice more-modern paint colors and contemporary fabric at the inn, located on the campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill.
The inn used a number of local companies and sustainable products for the improvements. For example, new furniture was made in the state, and mattresses, made of bamboo fibers and soy, were manufactured by Kingsdown, a North Carolina company.
Even as the hotel was renovated, it held on to its Colonial Revival style, its antiques and artwork, essential for a property that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America recently awarded the inn a Best Practices Award for its new history displays, which are the most extensive on campus.
Original 19th-century portraits of famous Tar Heels and 90 cartoons drawn by students over the past 70 years for The Daily Tar Heel hang in the Carolina Crossroads Bar.
Nearly 700 images and biographies of noted UNC alumni, faculty and landmarks hang in guest-room corridors and in lounges.
A 1970 oil painting of the inn by alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jeff MacNelly hangs in the lobby. A display outside the 1924 Old Well Ballroom chronicles the history of the Old Well, UNCs architectural icon.
“The result is that the Carolina Inn is ready to provide everything for the comfort of the 21st-century guest in a unique atmosphere that reflects the rich history of both the hotel and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the nation’s great public universities,” general manager Jack Schmidt said.
The inn has earned AAA’s Four Diamond rating for 16 years. Its restaurant, Carolina Crossroads, has been awarded Four Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide and has earned the AAA Four Diamond rating for 13 years.