The DURHAM HOTEL Review: Upscale + Conveniently located
This hotel caught our attention long ago, and our Durham Hotel review reveals it lived up to our expectations and then some.
Being transported back to the 1950s and 60s in a modern hotel is one of the best ways to flashback to a wonderful time in recent history. And one of the best hotels in downtown Durham, North Carolina is The Durham Hotel. It honors the past while keeping up-to-date with the present.
We finally had the chance to book it for a weekend getaway! We're happy to share why The Durham Hotel is the complete package, and you should consider booking a stay.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, which means we may earn a small commission if you click the link and proceed with a purchase, at no cost to you. Though we were hosted by The Durham Hotel, but we only recommend hotels, products, and services we personally approve.
The Durham Hotel Review, Overview
The location of The Durham Hotel is prime. It's in downtown Durham within walking distance of great bars, restaurants, DPAC (performing arts center), American Tobacco Campus, and the Durham Bulls stadium.
The rooms are spacious with touches of local artisans and vendors in decor and food, like the Counter Culture coffee in each room.
The vibe is mid-century modern with an interesting color palette of deep blues, mustard yellows, and burnt oranges.
There's a rooftop bar as well as a restaurant indoors, downstairs. The hotel is popular amongst tourists from near and far and the restaurant is popular for people wanting a lovely space to work remotely too.
It's also a popular wedding venue and location for local wedding parties to get ready before the big day (privately, in hotel rooms mostly but the hotel is popular for wedding photos).
➜ Check hotel rates for your stay at The Durham Hotel
About The Durham Hotel
The Durham Hotel is a unique hotel (not necessarily boutique, but it is unique) in downtown Durham, built in 1968. It's about 30 minutes north of Raleigh and less than an hour east of Greensboro.
Its original purpose was as a bank, not a hotel. But the only independently owned hotel in downtown Durham has honored the era of its creation with mid-century modern decor.
The Durham Hotel stands out in a beautiful way, even amongst all the new skyscrapers in downtown Durham and buildings with a few years more in their history. It's truly one of a kind.
Durham Hotel Review of Our Suite, Room 401
We had one of the best rooms at the hotel of the 53 there! We were in a Superior King Suite on the fourth floor of the hotel.
It was great we brought our easy-to-tote-around CabinZero luggage because we decided to get some extra exercise and walk up the staircase to our room. (We admit the elevator is a little slow there. But it's only six floors tall so it's really easy to walk up the stairs no matter what level your room is on.)
We walked in to see a beautifully furnished, mid-century modern sitting room. It matched the decor of the hotel lobby, interior dining area, and the exterior of the building. But this space was all ours for the night!
We walked down the short hallway in the room from the sitting area, past a bathroom, and into the bedroom. The vibrant navy blue carpet kept our gaze until we saw the denim quilt on our king-size bed.
We loved everything about the room – from the grey paint that stopped three-quarters of the way up the wall to allow white paint to finish it, to its height. We adored the rectangular wooden hooks on the walls and Nelson bench at the foot of the bed. (Dan has a Nelson bench of his own, so we know the design well!)
The bathroom shower is stand-up only (no tub) with a small footstool if needed. The bath products were top-notch.
We rarely look up where we can get hotel bath products, but the Red Flower lotion was so wonderful that I looked up where to buy it before the weekend was through.
There were two televisions in our suite: one in the sitting room and another in our bedroom. (We choose not to have a TV in our bedroom at home, but I grew up with one in every room as a kid. So watching TV in bed at hotels is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.)
There was also a mini-refrigerator we were happy to fill with a six-pack of local Fullsteam beer, which we purchased around the corner at the “Bulldega” bodega grocery store.
The Durham Hotel Supports Local
It’s so heartwarming to see when a local hotel supports local businesses. And The Durham Hotel excels at it.
A Burt’s Bees chapstick was placed on a nightstand because they’re locally headquartered at American Tobacco Campus just a walk away (and where the Durham Bulls play!). There was Big Spoon Roasters peanut butter available at the in-room “mini-bar” area (it’s really more of a tray than a mini bar but serves its purpose nonetheless) and two local Durham publications for reading: Durham Magazine and a “Welcome to Bull City” book.
Lastly, they also had “Somebody in Durham Loves You” mugs for our morning Counter Culture Coffee, established in Durham in 1995. Even the art around the hotel and in the rooms is from contemporary North Carolina artists.
And, as if all that wasn't cool enough, the comforters on the beds at the hotel were designed by Raleigh Durham, located in downtown Raleigh! This is just some of the ways the hotel supports local businesses, artists, and designers.
DURHAM HOTEL Review of In-Room Coffee and Breakfast
We were looking forward to enjoying morning coffee in our room after we checked in the day prior and learned they fresh grind beans for guests upon request.
You simply fill out an in-room door tag near your coffee cups to indicate which of two bean options you want, if you want half and half or soy milk, and what time you want it delivered from 6:00am to 9:00am.
The hotel staff sets it outside your door in the morning, and you are free to brew your own fresh cups of coffee in the room! (There’s also coffee available at the front of the restaurant each morning for guests.)
Breakfast was one of our favorite things about the hotel.
We don’t like buffets for several reasons, and we appreciated that The Durham Hotel doesn't have one. Instead, they have a sit-down dining menu.
Generally, the menu is pay-for-what-you-get, but you can often get a package that includes breakfast with your stay for around $10 more than your room-only rate.
Dan opted for coffee, and I chose fresh squeezed orange juice. (You have to love a hotel that offers fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning! Reminds us of European breakfasts. We highly recommend trying their southern favorite, Shrimp ‘n Grits.
The Durham Hotel has a lunch menu Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.
Dinner is available nightly starting from 5:00 pm. Dinner reservations, which open three months prior to the date, are recommended and available on Resy.
The restaurant is lovely and the food is good; try it.
Durham Hotel: Additional Common Areas
You pull up to the hotel and immediately notice its mid-century modern letters set in squares, affixed to the building. It spells the hotel's name vertically up the side of the building instead of horizontally.
The letters were the same on the bank the building was originally built for in the 1960s! We loved that you could see the letters outside one of the windows in our hotel room's sitting area.
Photo-Worthy Entrance to The Durham Hotel
There’s a black and white tiled area with a prominently placed silver mirrored newsstand at the entryway to the hotel.
When the little stand is open at specific times during the day or season, you can buy assorted magazines, books, and local products there. It’s an Instagram-worthy spot where you’re more than likely to see someone snapping photos of a friend or some selfie action going on as you pass by to enter the hotel.
You might even see a couple there having their wedding photos taken. This is especially true if you're at the Durham Hotel on a weekend during wedding season.
Durham Hotel Check-In
The Durham Hotel check-in area is unassuming yet well done. A curved wooden desk is set for staff members to work from and welcome you to the hotel. (All the hotel staff wear a small enamel “D” pin.)
Check-in was very easy. While we were lucky to find street parking right in front of the hotel, they have optional valet parking for a fee. There is a parking garage practically across the street from the hotel, as well as a parking deck just a few streets away, closer to the Durham Bulls stadium.
Dining Area: Mid-Century Modern Themed Restaurant and Coffee Shop
The dining room area, restaurant, and coffee bar are dreamy. If you ever want to feel like you’re on the set of Mad Men, just visit The Durham Hotel.
Geometric lanterns that cast a warm glow hang from the approximately thirty-foot-tall ceilings. Tall, green tropical plants fill corners, and flowers brighten up a central shelving unit. Black and white patterned napkins add interest in front of each chair.
What's more? The menu has been carefully constructed by James Beard Award-winning chef, Andrea Reusing.
The Durham Hotel Review: Rooftop Bar
The Durham Hotel's rooftop bar draws a lot of attention, especially on the weekends.
This is partially because it’s the only true rooftop bar in the area open to the public. But it is also because they craft a damn good cocktail! The Durham Hotel's rooftop bar also has a food menu.
It includes items that are easy to love, like guacamole and tortilla chips, cheese and charcuterie board options, deviled eggs, or a southern biscuit with pimento cheese.
The Durham Hotel Does Not Have a Pool
The only thing we missed at The Durham Hotel was a pool, like nearby Unscripted has.
21c Museum Hotel is nearby as well, and they don’t have a pool either. We suppose it’s not a given at any hotel. Regardless, we want to mention it in case you're looking for a hotel with a pool.
Durham Hotel Packages
Speaking of The Durham Hotel being the complete package, we adore the packages they offer!
They run specials if you book in advance for the best possible rate, or for holidays and special occasions. Valet parking is additional.
Hotel rooms are usually around $280 to $380 per night, depending on the room type you book and the time of year. Packages include perks, like a food and beverage credit or a bottle of champagne, depending on your chosen package.
The Durham Hotel Review Conclusion
If you're looking for a beautiful hotel in a convenient location
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