Arrival Experience: Situated in the heart of uptown, the city’s financial hub and busiest core, the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte counts among the smallest in the R-C portfolio. It is owned by Bank of America, which has its corporate headquarters next door and is said to have requested builders to have a suite for each of its board of director members to use during regular board meetings. Fronting the hotel’s entrance is a community garden planted with herbs and fresh vegetables open to everyone. Another hallmark of the hotel is its farmer’s market offering with fresh fruit and vegetables from local purveyors free for the taking in the lobby area. Rooftop bees produce the hotel’s own honey, and a variety of herbs and vegetables are also grown there to use in the restaurant and bar. Tours of these eco-friendly areas are often open to guests. A billiard table in the lobby shows off the hotel’s playful side, and expect the warmest of greetings from the front desk staff that often produces a glass of bubbly for some folks checking in for the weekend.
Dining: BLT Steakhouse is the main dining room serving everything from a notably Southern breakfast to an elegant steak dinner. Famous among locals is the happy hour each evening with five-dollar drink and snack specials. The service is friendly and the atmosphere crisp and clean with views of the city streets. The see-and-be-seen atmosphere of the lobby lounge and bar features a crackling fireplace and a city-famous bartender that uses many of the hotel’s own herbs in his creative concoctions. Nabbing a spot for the Punch Room on one of the hotel’s top floors is tough, and guests often find themselves on a waiting list in the lobby as they sip champagne and hope for an opening. Modeled after the Punch Room at the London Edition, this popular bar spot offers panoramic city views and creative cocktails including its regular punch of the day.
Rooms: Accommodations here look fresh and modern with soft carpeting underfoot and thickly coated duvets and mattress toppers. Bose stereo systems in each room provide excellent music quality in addition to the perfect white noise backdrop for a downtown hotel. Flat-screen cable TVs sit atop armoires, and coffeemakers, minibars, and free bottled water come standard in all rooms. Large executive desks are expected at this business-oriented hotel, and they include all the necessary business supplies one might need. Power outlets are plentiful, and the wireless Internet signal (for a fee) is fast and strong. Marble bathrooms are the showpiece in all rooms with large vanities stacked high with towels and Asprey Purple Water products. Built into the mirrors are small cable TVs to allow guests to catch up on the latest news as they shave or brush their teeth. Strong water pressure in the glass shower stalls is a plus.
Amenities: Make a beeline for the panoramic swimming pool on one of the top floors where guests can swim indoors with views of the city’s skyline. Lounge chairs and a whirlpool are also on offer with a fridge stocked with bottled water always available. A separate health club facility features modern workout equipment plus a full-service spa that sees most of its pampering business from locals. Meeting space is ample and highly sought after by high-end groups. A fleet of bicycles is available for guests to borrow and explore town. Plans are in place for bike tours led by the hotel staff, and for those that need to get to the office, a hotel car is available within a set circumference of the hotel free of charge. Expensive valet parking is available at the hotel, and those with electric cars can power up while they rest. This is Charlotte’s top, in-town luxury hotel and shows off the Ritz-Carlton brand quite well in one of America’s top banking cities.