I saw this hotel going up in the historic Motor Lodge in Downtown Durham various times throughout 2016 as I visited the area. I anxiously awaited its opening. It was rumored to be the hottest new hotel in the area, encouraging the meeting of creative minds and intriguing design elements. We were lucky enough to arrange an overnight stay and, I can say firsthand, all my hopes for this hotel are a reality! Here’s my review of Durham’s hottest new hotel: Unscripted.
Durham Unscripted Hotel
I was impressed from the moment I checked into the hotel. They have a parking garage attached to their property, which is a major plus because parking is sometimes hard to find in downtown Durham. I LOVED that they had hand-picked street artists paint the area (they even flew in a few from Los Angeles) so whether you enter from the sidewalk or garage it’s an attractive scene. They set the tone right away with bright colors, stylistic furniture and green boxwood walls as you approach the hotel doors.
Check In and the Lobby
Their check-in area is sleek. It perfectly blends with the posh living room scene you see upon entry. Warm and inviting, their employees quickly greet you at an unassuming, approachable table as you take it all in. They have keys ready for your room as they seamlessly complete your check in. All of this is done with the help of iPads in lieu of bulky, stuffy computers.
I describe their interior design as a fresh take on Mid-Century modern. It’s a nod to when the space was Jack Tar Motor Lodge in the 1960’s. They’ve honored the era but updated the look; they combined awesome graffiti (something treasured today more so than ever before) and typography with the era’s iconic colors and furniture in an ingenious way. From a velvet sofa, to matte finished metal tables, to statement pieces like an organically designed wooden chair, there’s a ton for your eyes to feast upon.
They have a total of 74 guest rooms. I was in room 422 with a city and pool view on the fourth floor. I had a blast looking through the room when I entered. Nothing is overlooked.
I loved the “marble notebook” envelope they gave me the room keys in and admired all the black and white mats on the outside of the room doors. Sayings like, “Hang Out” or “Have Fun” welcome guests to their rooms. I even appreciated how the grate railing creates an interesting pattern on the exterior concrete walkway on each level. (When you’re a photographer you tend to notice these things!)
Round magnets (pictured on the left, below) allow guests to playfully indicate they don’t want to be disturbed or they brought their dog along for their stay. “I’m Hot” is for summer time! It’s not so much for if you’re feeling sexy 🙂 as it is for a staff member to simply indicate caution if the metal door to your room is hot to the touch in the heat of seasonal days.
Everything down to the glasses in the mini bar and coasters by the bed match the branding of Unscripted Hotel Durham. The soft, fluffy allergen-free king size bed was dreamy! I love anything ombre so the ottoman under the desk had me googly-eyed over it’s blue fade to tan fabric. (Swoon!) I very much enjoyed getting some work done in the comfort of the robin’s egg blue chair and wooden desk. I clearly gave into posing for some photos in front of the mid-century modern patterned accent wall behind the bed. (Why should I resist, right?)
Can we just discuss how integrated and well done their branding is, one more time? Even the Jonathan Adler bath products were seamless! Can I get an AMEN for that?! (Thank you!)
It’s widely known novelty pool floaties are all the rage these days. A yellow duck and pink flamingo called me to The Patio. I love their nod to classic poolside lounges and the stunning view is magnetizing. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to try their activated charcoal margarita. It was the perfect pre-dinner cocktail.
I always appreciate a great TV in a hotel room. We purposely opt not to have a TV in our bedroom at home so I treat it as a bit of a fun perk when I stay overnight at great hotels. We had dinner with friends in downtown Durham (a convenient walk from our hotel – it was great not having to drive anywhere) and curled into bed to enjoy some evening shows on the in-room Smart TV when we got back.
In the Morning
Waking up is easy at Unscripted Hotel Durham. I was looking forward to checking out their gym for a morning workout and visiting their AllDay cafe for coffee. It welcomes visitors from the hotel and those in Durham looking for a lovely place to grab some caffeine and good snacks or perhaps an evening cocktail…because it is, in fact, open all day.
I Didn’t Want to Leave!
I lingered as much as I could, not wanting to check out! Could I move in?
I popped around for a few more photos before leaving. Be sure to check out their framed Instax mini (Polaroids) frame in the lobby. It has photos of the hotel’s creation! If you’re into street art, you’ll see photos of the artists Big Sleeps, Alex Kizu, Jose Reza (part of K2S graffiti crew in Los Angeles) and Ryan Keeley from Durham at work.
I packed lightly so I chose to leave through their staircase, which is beautiful. Again, nothing is overlooked! The pops of pink and purple have a design reminiscent of the paintings in the hotel’s lobby and garage entryway. I appreciated that every hallway and staircase requires access via a hotel key card; extra security is reassuring no matter where you are whether it’s your own home or home-away-from-home for a night.
If you’re visiting the area and need a place to stay I urge you to check out Unscripted Hotel Durham! It’s amazing and you’ll love your time there.
Please note: we thank Unscripted for generously hosting us. All the opinions in the post are ours and we bring you genuine content with real facts, photos and thoughts. Always.
Thinking of visiting North Carolina? Also check out:
Have you visited Durham, North Carolina?