Hotel rooms

Charlotte sees hotel room growth as COVID pandemic wanes

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The exterior view of the Hyatt Centric SouthPark Charlotte.

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A slew of hotels have recently opened, renovated or are about to open, as Charlotte sees a return of leisure and business travelers to the city.

This expansion also comes as COVID-19 vaccines become more prevalent across North Carolina during the pandemic.

A total of 1,274 hotel rooms are expected to open through next year, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The authority estimated that by 2026 there will be more than 50,000 hotel rooms and nearly 500 properties in the area to meet visitor needs.

Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray said one in nine Charlotte residents work in the hospitality industry, underscoring its importance to the region.

Charlotte has competed with other cities like Austin and Nashville to attract large-scale events and conventions, which is driving demand for hotels, according to Murray.

Here’s a look at several hotels that have recently opened or been renovated, as well as those slated to open this year.

Hyatt Centric South Park Charlotte

The newest addition to Charlotte Hyatt hotels opened June 10 in the SouthPark area at 3100 Apex Drive. Accommodations and amenities include 175 rooms and 11 suites, rooftop restaurants, an event venue, and 4,000 square feet of meeting space.

Common areas and lounges feature historic murals that showcase Charlotte’s history. Since June, the fitness center has not been open to the public due to the pandemic.

Hyatt Centric is an upscale Hyatt brand that offers a limited number of rooms. To date, there are only 29 Hyatt Centric hotels worldwide, the majority of which are in North America.

Hilton Charlotte Airport

Earlier this month, Atrium Hospitality renovated the Hilton Charlotte Airport at 2800 Coliseum Center Drive after a multi-million dollar makeover. The hotel management company now operates five properties in North Carolina.

The hotel changed from a Marriott property to a Hilton after more than a year of process. It includes 275 suites and 28,300 square feet of meeting space. Guests also have access to a private dining area and a fitness center with an indoor pool.

Located near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the hotel offers a free shuttle that will take you to the airport in 10 minutes.

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The Hilton Charlotte airport lobby. hilton

UNCC Marriott Hotel and Conference Center

The $83 million UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at 9041 Robert D Synder Road, developed by the nonprofit UNC Charlotte Foundation, debuted in March. It is next to the JW Clay Boulevard light rail station and close to the main UNCC campus.

The seven-story hotel has 221 rooms and five suites, as well as nine meeting rooms totaling 19,944 square feet of meeting space. Featured amenities include a 24/7 fitness center and an outdoor pool. The hotel also offers dining at its southern restaurant Golden Owl Tavern.

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The exterior view of the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Marriott

AC Charlotte Ballantyne Hotel

This September will mark the opening of a 186-room AC hotel in Ballantyne Village. The development will take place in the mixed-use Panorama Tower, the tallest building in Ballantyne developed by Panorama Holdings.

The hotel will occupy the first seven floors of the tower, while the upper six levels will be used as offices.

Hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and yoga studio, AC Kitchen restaurant, and AC Lounge, which offer a European-inspired breakfast buffet, cocktails, and tapas. The Panorama Ballroom, a rooftop event venue, will be built on the top floor of the tower in 2022.

The AC Hotel brand is known for its curated art installations that reflect the characteristics of each destination. In Ballantyne, the hotel will work with local artists and decorate common areas of the hotel with local artwork and murals.

The hotel has yet to decide which artists to work with, but spokeswoman Ann Winters said an art reception will be held after the hotel opens.

The brand is owned by Marriott and has 150 hotels worldwide. The new Ballantyne hotel will be operated by Raleigh-based hotel management company Concord Hospitality, making it the 11th Concord-managed property in North Carolina.

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The exterior view of the AC Hotel Charlotte Ballantyne, located in the mixed-use Sky Tower in Ballantyne Village. AC Hotels

JW Marriott Charlotte

A luxury JW Marriott hotel will open in July on Stonewall and College streets in the city center. The 21-story building has 381 rooms.

The hotel is part of the Ally Charlotte Center building developed by Charlotte-based Crescent Communities. It was completed in May, the Observer previously reported.

The hotel has a spa, a 24-hour fitness center and a restaurant. An outdoor terrace on the fifth floor includes an outdoor bar and a swimming pool.

With over 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the hotel can also handle large-scale events.

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A rendering of the JW Marriott hotel looking towards the Ally Charlotte Center project at Stonewall and College streets in the city center. Courtesy of HKS, Inc.

Intercontinental Hotel at the Carolina Theater

The planned luxury hotel will sit atop the podium at the Carolina Theater in Uptown. This will be the first Intercontinental-branded hotel in Charlotte. The opening date has not yet been determined.

The 252-room hotel will occupy 26 floors of a 32-story building at 6th and Tryon streets. The first six floors of the building will be used as theater space.

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The rendering of the Intercontinental Hotel at the Carolina Theater. Salter Brothers

Facilities include a rooftop restaurant and bar, ballroom, meeting space and fitness center.

In 2017, the Foundation for the Carolinas announced $50 million plans to restore and reopen the 1920s Carolina Theater, which closed in 1978. Construction was delayed due to COVID-19 and the theater is expected to open in November next year.

Construction of the hotel will begin once the theater podium, which serves as the foundation for the development, is complete, according to the foundation’s Lauren Smith.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority’s estimates for the extent of hotel rooms and properties in 2026. The estimates are for the region, not the city.

This story was originally published June 30, 2021 6:35 a.m.

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